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The Latino Film Festival Wants to Help Build Bridges

An important showcase of Latino cinema returns to San Diego this week


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Chula Vista-native Joey Molina will present his film Ruta Madre at this year's SD Latino Film Festival.

24th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival

March 16–26
AMC Fashion Valley 18, 7037 Friars Rd., San Diego
General admission $11.50; special packets are also available

Latino films are cool. Not only can you have a lot of fun watching a good movie from Mexico, Argentina, or Spain, but you will also learn a thing or two about Latinos and Latino cultures.

The San Diego Latino Film Festival (running March 16–26 at AMC Fashion Valley 18) can be a great introduction to Latino cinema, and a valuable event for already hooked Latin film lovers.

"This is an amazing opportunity for San Diego audiences to experience Latin America, Mexico, and Spain, without having to get on a plane and travel to these parts of the world," says festival founder Ethan Van Thillo. "Through this year's movies, audiences can experience some of the best ceviche in Peru, family soccer fun in Brazil, learn danzón dance moves in Veracruz, listen to Flamenco music in Spain, and so much more."

Van Thillo says that this year’s tagline — Nuestro Cine, Nuestra Voz (Our Cinema, Our Voice) — reinforces the need for a cinema about the Latino experience, produced by Latinos. "Real and accurate voices and stories by the community are needed more than ever now,” he says. “It's important that Hollywood and mainstream news media doesn't tell the story, but the community itself has the tools and distribution outlets to promote the stories that are important to them."  

According to Chula Vista-native Joey Molina — who will present his film Ruta Madre — the film festival also serves as a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their films. "This film festival was very important to us, because the movie is a regional story (San Diego-Baja). This is as close to a homecoming as you can get for a film," Molina says.

With more than 160 Latino films and movie-related events, the San Diego Latino Film Festival has become one of the most important showcases of Latin cinema in the U.S.

"For 24 years, our goal has been to help build bridges and to encourage a better understanding amongst all of us," says Van Thillo. "No matter where we originally came from; all of us living in the U.S. have similar universal stories of love, family, hardships, spirituality, immigration, and more."


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