Culture, Screen

Latin American Film Festival in London

For two weeks only the public will be treated to the biggest festival showcasing the best of Latin American cinematic work in London. Between the 18th and the 28th of November a rich variety of award winning cinema as well as up and coming work stretching across the continent from Mexico to Chile by way of Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina will be on show. Participating venues range from the Tate Modern to the Odeon Covent Garden.

Sofia Ahmad

In preparing to host their ninth successful Film Festival, Discovering Latin America has come a long way since it was founded in 2002 and there is no doubt that it must be proud of its achievements.

Back in 2002 and far away from home a Mexican man living in London was driven by passion for the continent of his homeland and a strong belief in development and social transformation. Mauricio Davila is this man. Thus Davila along with Claudo Ruiz from Colombia co-founded a charity focused on transforming Latin America. He particularly set out to address the high the levels of poverty, inequality and exclusion that he found at the time.

Thus the charity Discovering Latin America was born. In Davila’s own words he says that he “wanted to create a community of individuals (Latin American and non-Latin Americans) not only interested in Latin America culture, arts and creative talent; but also passionate about social transformation.”

Discovering Latin America is a charity hinged on a mutually beneficial relationship between itself and its supporters. For the last eight years it has been raising money by giving the public the opportunity to engage in, enjoy and learn more about the richness and diverse culture of Latin America.

Through its festivals exhibitions, meetings, conferences, events and other activities it has raised money for education, health, water, sanitisation, livelihood and rural development in Latin America.

This year is no exception and the upcoming film festival is showcasing a spectacle of diverse cinematic work for the public to enjoy, while also raising funds for its chosen charity SALCET (Salvadorian Children Earthquake Trust) a UK registered charity seeking the relief of poverty, sickness, distress and the preservation of good health of children who are suffering as a result of earthquakes and other natural disasters in El Salvador.

London audiences will be treated to a diverse array of choices including feature length films, documentaries spanning the entire political spectrum, master classes, discussions with film directors, short films and special cultural events.

The opening night on November the 18th will kick off with the UK premier of the Mexican film Tear This Heart Out/Arrancame la vida. Set in the city of Puebla, a former participant of the Mexican revolution meets the beautiful Catalina. Seduced by his charm and power and the desire to live a richer and more fulfilling life than that which her social background allows she agrees to marry him. However all is not as it seems and soon Catalina discovers that with wealth and money does not necessarily bring freedom and Andres is not the man she dreamt of.

Later in the week on Monday the 22nd of November pop along to the Tate Modern to witness the world—acclaimed Argentine director, Daniel Burman; upcoming Costa Rican Director Paz Fabrega and the Mexican director Patricia Riggen present the premier of the film ‘Revolution’.

Argentinian director Daniel Burman will be present for the duration of the festival and a retropective of three of his films will be screening: ‘Empty Nest’- El nido vacío (2008), ‘Waiting for the Messiah ‘- Esperando al Mesías (2000), and ‘Brothers & Sisters’- Dos hermanos (2010).

The latter is his most recent project. The film is a graceful portrait of two idiosyncratic siblings who, after their elderly mother’s death, find themselves forced to confront the fissures in their relationship, with amusing and touching results.

Documentaries to be shown that explore the social and personal effects of emigration are Aquí te espero, Por mis hijos or Made in L.A; those which narrate the process of artistic creation include Palavras Encantadas and Loki; others analyse the complex political situation in Latin America, and the relationship between past and present, El diario de Agustín, Cocalero, Children of the Amazon and American Sandinista.

For a full programme of all the events taking place visit http://www.discoveringlatinamerica.com/film-home.html.

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