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Recap: San Diego Latino Film Festival

From Latin rhythms to a wine and food fest, here are some of the event highlights


Sabor Latino Beer & Wine Fest | Photos courtesy of the San Diego Latino Film Festival

The 23rd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival featured over 160 films and events over 11 days (March 10-20), mostly at the Fashion Valley mall, with some films showing at the Gym Cinema in North Park. Here are some of the highlights you may have missed.

The Festival kicked off the first day with 18 films, including Elvira, Te Daría Mi Vida Pero La Estoy Usando starring Cecilia Suarez, who was at the festival. In the film, Suarez’s character Elvira begins investigating her husband’s whereabouts after he goes out for cigarettes and never comes back. The amateur sleuth finds herself in the middle of a mystery with unpredictable twists, in her attempt to find the love of her life before suffering a breakdown.

Sabor Latino brought Latin cuisine paired with local beer and wine

Day one ended with an opening night party at the Music Box, which featured Grammy-nominated Los Amigos Invisibles. The Venezuelan one-of-a-kind band played a blend of rock, disco, acid jazz, and funk mixed with Latin rhythms to a packed house for over an hour. Indie pop band Clemente Castillo was the opening act.

Day five featured eight short films from the San Diego-Tijuana region that were released in the past year. These films told diverse and captivating stories of local people from two major metropolitan cities just minutes away from each other. The documentary The Kitchenistas of National City follows the struggles and transformations of families in National City as they conquer a health crisis by cooking traditional dishes a healthier way.

Day nine was all about the runway as the Film Festival’s fashion show was held at Fashion Valley mall. The show offered a glimpse of spring fashions with a celebrity-inspired twist. The evening brought everything from casual wear to red-carpet looks.

Day 10 provided a doubleheader with the Sabor Latino Beer & Wine Fest, and the closing night party.

Sabor Latino brought unique pairings of some of the best Latin cuisine in San Diego and Tijuana with beer and wine from the region, including Aztec Brewery, Border X Brewery, and Villa Montefiori/Paoloni Wines. The beer and wines were paired with cuisines from local chefs such as Miguel Angel Guerrero, Melisa Magallón, Giovanni Brasea, and Krista Velasco.

Sonido Latino offered live music at Fashion Valley Mall

The nightcap featured the closing party and salsa concert at the Music Box with “Se Baila con Polanco, a Tribute to Johnny Polanco,” with Artie Webb and his Hollywood Salsa All-Stars, featuring former members of Johnny Polanco’s Orquesta Amistad.

The last day of the Latino Film Festival featured Puerto Ricans in Paris, starring Luis Guzman, Rosie Perez, and Rosario Dawson. The comedy is about two very different New York counterfeit detectives investigating the stolen design for a highly sought after handbag. The mystery takes them to Paris, where the bickering duo hopes to crack the case and collect a huge reward in the process.

Throughout the Latino Film Festival, there were daily concerts at Fashion Valley mall, with over 40 musical acts on two stages. Sonido Latino 2016 acts included Jarabe Mexicano (Mexican folk), David de Alva (flamenco guitar), Gaby Aparicio y la Buena Onda (Latin soul), and Los Hijos del Santo (reggae cumbia ska).

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