The 2023 InFocus: Latin & Hispanic Cinema Film Festival is kicking off with conversations “Spy Kids” director Robert Rodriguez, as well as insights from Sundance Film Festival curators Ana Souza and Diana Sánchez Maciel. Additionally, attendees can look forward to a diverse selection of 24 short films.
Scheduled for Sept. 22-23 at Hollywood’s Academy Linwood Dunn Theater, the 2023 installment of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles’ annual festival will highlight four distinct short film programs. Attendees can engage in audience Q&A sessions and participate in four live panel discussions. The festival will also include a diverse showcase of 24 short films spanning various genres, including narrative live action, documentaries, and animated films.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in 2023 with filmmakers representing 12 countries at the Festival,” NFMLA programming director Bojana Sandic and executive director and co-founder Larry Laboe said in a joint statement to TheWrap. “It really is a testament to the talent that exists on a global scale and reflects our essential goal of creating a truly inclusive program. When everyone is represented, our industry can thrive.”
Kendra Carter, Academy SVP, Impact and Global Talent Development, added: “The Academy is dedicated to encouraging and elevating emerging filmmakers from diverse communities around the world. We’re thrilled to support NewFilmmakers LA, which has been instrumental in providing a start to so many careers in the industry.”
One of the notable panel discussions this year is “Latinos as Heroes: A Conversation with Robert Rodriguez.” In this session, the renowned Latino filmmaker will delve into the significance of portraying the Latin community as heroes, drawing from his “Spy Kids” franchise. He will also provide an in-depth exploration of storytelling approaches capable of inspiring the next generation of young heroes.
Additional panels will include engaging discussions on craft and industry topics with prominent figures in the field. These panels will feature Sundance Film Festival curators Ana Souza and Diana Sánchez Maciel, documentary filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes, known for his work on “Sansón and Me,” and a panel of three accomplished Brazilian filmmakers. The latter will offer insights into the journey of bringing a debut film from its inception through to distribution in a session titled “Creating a Feature Film with The Brazilian Filmmakers Collective.”
The 24 short films slated for this year’s festival hail from a diverse array of countries, including São Paulo, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, and the United States. This lineup features five world premieres from emerging artists in São Paulo, the U.S. premiere of “Piedra Dura” by Emmy and Student Academy Award-winning filmmaker Rommel Villa, who is also an NFMLA alum, and “Big Bang” by writer-director Carlos Segundo, which originally premiered at Locarno.
Miguel Angel Caballero’s “The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” and Gabriela Ortega’s “Beautiful, FL” are both included in the 2023 lineup. Notably, both filmmakers were part of the inaugural Academy Film Accelerator program and were previous nominees for the Best of NFMLA Award.
The festival’s daytime schedule commences with “InFocus: São Paulo,” a curated selection of films presented in collaboration with SPCINE. This is followed by “InFocus: Latin & Hispanic Cinema Shorts I – Interdependence,” a complex collection of stories about the ways in which we have to rely on each other in beautiful and sometimes perilous ways.
The festival’s third segment of programming is “InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Shorts II – The Unexplainable,” featuring narratives that leave characters searching for answers. The concluding block of programming is “InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Shorts III – Through the Eyes of Youth,” showcasing stories told from the perspective of children and adolescents as they navigate the journey of coming of age.
Additional Festival information is available at www.NFMLA.org/Events.
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