Returning this year with a retooled title, the Spanish/Latin American Cinema sidebar nevertheless promises to garner as much acclaim and attention—among communities here and beyond—as it has in past S.B. Film Festivals. Compiled by SBIFF Program Director Candace Schermerhorn, these nine films and two shorts from Mexico, Spain, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, and Colombia run the genre gamut. There’s something inspiring for families to enjoy, while crime thrillers and political dramas will please the adults.

Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime, directed by Jesús del Cerro, traces an orphan’s dream of becoming a professional soccer player and will be shown through the festival’s kids-oriented Apple Box program. It’s a U.S. premiere.

Carlos Carrera directed the popular Mexican thriller Backyard, which stars Jimmy Smits and Ana de la Reguera. It’s based on the true story of the more than 400 unsolved murders in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, and takes the violent world of drug cartels and illegal immigration as its backdrop.

Chile’s official Academy Award entry, Dawson Isla 10, also mines history for its story and milieu. Directed by Miguel Littin, the film portrays the 1973 military coup of Chile by General Augusto Pinochet. The film is based on a memoir by the current Chilean Minister of Public Works, Sergio Bitar. Like many other government officials in 1973, Bitar was taken prisoner by Pinochet when the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende was overthrown.

2501 Migrantes is a short and sweet documentary by fledgling Mexican filmmaker Yolanda Cruz that gives an intimate look at the decade-long project of artist Alejandro Santiago, who toils to create 2,501 life-sized clay sculptures. The pieces are meant represent the migrant workers who moved out of the artist’s mountainous village of Teococuilco, leaving it nearly abandoned. These migrantes inspired the artist to explore the culture of a generation of Mexicans whose sole purpose is to earn a living in America.


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