CONTACT: Abbie Algar, AFI
[email protected], 301.495.6731

Opens With Alonso Ruizpalacios’ A COP MOVIE, Closes With Manny Pérez’s LA SOGA 2

Festival’s 32nd Edition Runs September 23–October 13 With 49 Films From 22 Countries, Including 7 U.S. Premieres

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Silver Spring, MD, September 2, 2021 — The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center announced today the full slate of films for the 2021 AFI Latin American Film Festival, which will take place September 23–October 13 at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD. Now in its 32nd year, the Festival, which took place online in 2020, is making a long-anticipated return to the big screen, cementing its reputation as one of the largest and long-running showcases of Latin American cinema in the United States, dedicated to presenting Latin America’s prolific and versatile talent during National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s wide-ranging selection of 49 films spans international festival favorites and award winners, local box-office hits and dynamic debuts from a new generation of Latin American filmmakers.

The Festival opens with Mexican director Alonso Ruizpalacios’ (GÜEROS, MUSEO) Berlin-debuted A COP MOVIE, an immersive, on-the-job and behind-the-scenes look at the life of two Mexico City cops, which confirms Ruizpalacios’ genius for creating unexpected, genre-bending cinema and won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution earlier this year. The Festival closes with action-packed crime thriller LA SOGA 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2009’s acclaimed LA SOGA and the directorial debut of Dominican-American writer and actor Manny Pérez (CROOKLYN, LA SOGA, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS), fresh from its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Other Festival highlights include the U.S. premieres of several highly anticipated new works from up-and-coming and established Latin American auteurs, including Oscar®-nominated Peruvian filmmaker Claudia Llosa’s (ALOFT, THE MILK OF SORROW) haunting eco-thriller FEVER DREAM, based on the novel by acclaimed Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin and co-produced by Chile’s Pablo Larraín (EMA, JACKIE, THE CLUB and upcoming Princess Diana biopic SPENCER); 7 PRISONERS, Brazilian director Alexandre Moratto’s (SÓCRATES) powerful sophomore feature, produced by Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD) and Ramin Bahrani (THE WHITE TIGER, MAN PUSH CART) and set in the murky underworld of human trafficking in São Paulo; Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s buzzy, Cannes-premiered feature debut CLARA SOLA, an unconventional meditation on female empowerment about a 40-year-old healer (Costa Rican dancer Wendy Chinchilla Araya, in her debut role) in rural Costa Rica breaking free of a controlling mother; whip-smart Spanish comedy THE PEOPLE UPSTAIRS from award-winning writer/director Cesc Gay (TRUMAN), starring Javier Cámara (NARCOS) and Ana Griselda Siciliani, soon to be seen in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s LIMBO; and THE WHISPER OF SILENCE, directed by multi-award-winning Salvadoran producer Alfonso Quijada (MALACRIANZA, PABLO’S WORD), a powerful drama set in the coffee fields of El Salvador.

The Festival also features several recent favorites from the international festival circuit, including Salvadoran-Mexican documentarian Tatiana Huezo’s (TEMPESTAD) Cannes Prize-winning narrative debut PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN, based on the bestselling novel by Jennifer Clement; THE OTHER TOM, the first U.S.-set feature by award-winning Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Plá (DESIERTO ADENTRO, A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS, THE ZONE), based on the novel by co-director/writer Laura Santullo; Swiss director Andreas Fontana’s gripping debut feature AZOR, set in the lofty world of high finance in Argentina during the 1970s; Belgian-Romanian documentarian Teodora Ana Mihai’s LA CIVIL, which won the Prize of Courage at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and stars Mexican actress Arcelia Ramírez (I CARRY YOU WITH ME); Argentine director Ana Katz’s (FLORIANÓPOLIS DREAM) charming sci-fi dramedy THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET; Brazilian filmmaker Iuli Gerbase’s eerily prescient Sundance-debuted sci-fi thriller THE PINK CLOUD; Leonardo Medel’s social media thriller LA VERÓNICA, starring Chilean actress Mariana Di Girólamo, breakout star of Pablo Larraín’s EMA; acclaimed Dominican filmmaker José María Cabral’s (WOODPECKERS, THE PROJECTIONIST) sharp period melodrama HOTEL COPPELIA; Guatemalan director Sergio Ramírez’s (DISTANCIA) ’90s-set coming-of-age tale 1991, produced and co-written by the Oscar®-shortlisted filmmaker Jayro Bustamante (LA LLORONA, IXCANUL); and Gijón-set dramedy EL PLANETA, a sharp satire about mother-daughter con artists, from multi-hyphenate Argentine writer, director and producer Amalia Ulman, who also stars in the lead role.

Documentary selections explore both the personal and the political, pushing the boundaries of the medium and confirming Latin America as a leader in the field. Besides Ruizpalacios’ genre-pushing A COP MOVIE, highlights include the U.S. premiere of NOTHING BUT THE SUN from Paraguayan documentarian Arami Ullón, whose 2014 film CLOUDY TIMES was Paraguay’s first-ever Oscar® submission; Mexican-American director Rodrigo Reyes’ (LUPE UNDER THE SUN, PURGATORIO) 499, a bold docu-hybrid exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico; the U.S. premiere of Portuguese director Susana Nobre’s (ORDINARY TIME) playful and evocative docu-fiction hybrid JACK’S RIDE; and a special presentation of English-born Mexican director Trisha Ziff’s OAXACALIFORNIA: THE RETURN about a Fresno-based Mexican-American family who were the subject of British documentarian Sylvia Stevens’ 1995 documentary OAXACALIFORNIA. The two films will screen together as a double feature, with both filmmakers expected to attend.

In line with AFI Silver’s newest health and safety guidelines, AFI Latin American Film Festival attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result from within the past 72 hours to enter the theatre and participate in Festival screenings. A complete list of AFI Silver’s current health and safety policies is available here.

Complete list of U.S. Premieres:

  • 7 PRISONERS [7 PRISONEIROS] (DIR Alexandre Moratto, Brazil)
  • CLARA SOLA (DIR Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, Costa Rica/Sweden/Belgium)
  • FEVER DREAM [DISTANCIA DE RESCATE] (DIR Claudia Llosa, Peru/U.S./Chile/Spain)
  • JACK’S RIDE [NO TÁXI DO JACK] (DIR Susana Nobre, Portugal)
  • NOTHING BUT THE SUN [APENAS EL SOL] (DIR Arami Ullón, Paraguay/Switzerland)
  • THE WHISPER OF SILENCE [EL SUSPIRO DEL SILENCIO] (DIR Alfonso Quijada, El Salvador/Colombia/Canada)

Complete list of Special Presentations:

  • 1991 (DIR Sergio Ramírez, Guatemala)
  • 7 PRISONERS [7 PRISONEIROS] (DIR Alexandre Moratto, Brazil)
  • AZOR (DIR Andreas Fontana, Argentina/Switzerland/France)
  • THE BEST FAMILIES [LAS MEJORES FAMILIAS] (DIR Javier Fuentes-León, Peru/Colombia)
  • CLARA SOLA (DIR Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, Costa Rica/Sweden/Belgium)
  • LA CIVIL (DIR Teodora Ana Mihai, Mexico/Romania/Belgium)
  • LA CONDESA (2020) (DIR Mario Ramos, S./Honduras)
  • A COP MOVIE [UNA PELÍCULA DE POLICÍAS] (DIR Alonso Ruizpalacios, Mexico) – Opening Selection
  • FEVER DREAM [DISTANCIA DE RESCATE] (DIR Claudia Llosa, Peru/U.S./Chile/Spain)
  • HOTEL COPPELIA (DIR José María Cabra, Dominican Republic)
  • Double Feature: OAXACALIFORNIA (1995) (DIR Sylvia Stevens, U.S./UK) and OAXACALIFORNIA: THE RETURN [OAXACALIFORNIA: EL REGRESO] (2021) (DIR Trisha Ziff, Mexico/U.S.)
  • PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN [NOCHE DE FUEGO] (DIR Tatiana Huezo, Mexico/Germany/Brazil/Qatar)
  • LA SOGA 2 (DIR Manny Pérez, U.S./Dominican Republic)
  • THE WHISPER OF SILENCE [EL SUSPIRO DEL SILENCIO] (DIR Alfonso Quijada, El Salvador/Colombia/Canada)

A complete slate of all festival selections is below. For photos, contact Abbie Algar at [email protected]. For updated information, tickets and festival passes, visit

September 23–October 13


2020 Oscar® Selection, Argentina
Sebastián Borensztein’s (CHINESE TAKE-OUT, KÓBLIC) fun-filled adaptation of Eduardo Sacheri’s award-winning novel (itself based on real events) sees some of Argentina’s biggest stars — including father-son duo Ricardo and Chino Darín, in their first film together — team up for an underdog heist movie like no other. The year is 2001, and Argentina is hitting the lowest point in its great depression. Retired soccer star Fermín (Ricardo Darín) runs a service station in a small rural town, but wants more for his sleepy community. When he and his neighbors make plans to launch a cooperative to convert some abandoned grain silos into a storage facility and pull their town out of decline, the unsuspecting investors are swindled out of their savings by an unscrupulous lawyer and bank manager. Mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore, the motley crew joins forces to plan an elaborate Robin Hood-esque heist and take back what’s theirs. Timely, hilarious and suspenseful, HEROIC LOSERS is a spirited tale of working-class solidarity and collective revenge. The excellent supporting cast includes Luis Brandoni, Verónica Llinás, Daniel Aráoz, Carlos Belloso, Rita Cortese and Andrés Parra. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) Winner, Best Iberoamerican Film, 2020 Goya Awards. Official Selection, 2019 San Sebastián and Toronto film festivals, 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Sebastián Borensztein, from the novel “La noche de la Usina” by Eduardo Sacheri; PROD Hugo Sigman, Ricardo Darín, Matías Mosteirin, Chino Darín, Federico Posternak, Leticia Cristi, Fernando Bovaira, Simón de Santiago,Axel Kuschevatzky. Argentina/Spain, 2019, color, 117 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Swiss director Andreas Fontana crafts a gripping debut feature set in the privileged, lofty world of high finance in Argentina during the 1970s. Yvan De Wiel (Fabrizio Rongione, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT) is private banker with big ambitions and a stellar reputation. When a colleague mysteriously disappears while on assignment in Buenos Aires, De Wiel travels from Geneva to Argentina with his wife (Stéphanie Cléau, THE BLUE ROOM) to reassure his former colleague’s clients and disentangle any messes left behind. Once there, however, he finds himself unwillingly drawn into the mystery surrounding his predecessor’s disappearance, sinking ever deeper into a sinister inner circle that connects the country’s upper classes to the military junta’s ongoing “Dirty War.” A high-stakes thriller tracking the “Heart of Darkness”-esque journey of a morally compromised central protagonist, AZOR skillfully captures a highly specific milieu during a dark chapter of Argentina’s history. Official Selection, 2021 Berlin International Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. DIR/SCR Andreas Fontana; SCR Mariano Llinás; PROD Eugenia Mumenthaler, David Epiney. Argentina/Switzerland/France, 2021, color, 100 min. In English, Spanish and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED

In Argentine director Ana Katz’s (FLORIANÓPOLIS DREAM) charming mumblecore sci-fi dramedy, 30-something designer Sebastián (played by the director’s brother, Daniel Katz) navigates a series of temporary jobs, all while dealing with a dog who ceaselessly howls every time he goes to work, much to the dismay of his neighbors. In a series of vignettes, each representing a jump forward in time, Sebastián transforms through a succession of short encounters, just as the world flirts with a possible — and strangely familiar — apocalypse. Striking a fine balance between empathetic drama, deadpan comedy and the slightly absurd, Katz creates “a mini masterwork” (The Guardian) with an uncannily recognizable view of the near future which evokes the not-so-distant past — and our ongoing present. Winner, VPRO Big Screen Award, 2021 Rotterdam International Film Festival; Winner, Special Jury Prize, 2021 Seattle International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Sundance, Miami and Minneapolis St. Paul film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Ana Katz; SCR Gonzalo Delgado; PROD Laura Huberman, Pablo Ingercher, Ramiro Pavón. Argentina, 2021, color, 73 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf’s visionary fable about Fidel, a native llama herder struggling to protect his livestock from an unseen puma in the Argentine Andes, has drawn comparisons to the work of Carlos Reygadas and Terrence Malick. Documentary-like early scenes establish the rhythm of working life for the highland community, which then give way to more dreamlike fantasy sequences after Fidel takes part in a traditional ceremony intended to placate the mysterious puma. The gorgeous widescreen lensing by cinematographer Alberto Balazs and the immersive sound design by Leonardo Cauteruccio take full advantage of the cinematic form, and demand to be experienced on the big screen. Winner, Special Mention, 2020 Reykjavik International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2020 Rotterdam and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf; SCR Lucas Distéfano; PROD Alberto Balazs. Argentina/Mexico/Qatar/UK, 2020, color, 82 min. In Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles. NOT RATED

The latest in Argentine filmmaker Matías Piñeiro’s (HERMIA & HELENA, THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, VIOLA) series of films inspired by the women of Shakespeare’s comedies follows Mariel (María Villar, HERMIA & HELENA, LA FLOR, THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, VIOLA), a young actress who dreams of playing the role of Isabella in a local theater troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.” When dire financial straits prevent her from preparing for the audition, she approaches her brother’s girlfriend, Luciana (Agustina Muñoz, HERMIA & HELENA, THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, VIOLA) — also an actress — to enlist Luciana’s help in asking her brother for the money she needs to continue pursuing the role. Through their rich and layered performances, Muñoz and Villar demonstrate a profound intimacy formed over more than a decade of collaboration with Piñeiro. ISABELLA is a film about the ongoing battle between doubt and ambition that never discounts the possibility of a new beginning. (Note Adapted from Cinema Guild.) Winner, Encounters Award – Special Mention, 2020 Berlin International Film Festival; Winner, Best Actress (María Villar), 2020 Mar del Plata Film Festival. Official Selection, 2020 New York Film Festival. DIR/SCR Matías Piñeiro; PROD Melanie Schapiro. Argentina/France, 2020, color, 80 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


PSEUDO (2020)
From the creators of Bolivia’s 2019 Oscar® selection THE GOALKEEPER comes the story of Julian (Cristian Mercado, THE GOALKEEPER, THE LONGEST NIGHT), a taxi driver in La Paz desperately trying to raise money for his brother’s surgery. When he picks up a mysterious passenger who is on his way to start a new job, an attack by a gang of thieves leaves the man almost dead and Julian fired by his boss. Desperate for answers — and cash — Julian assumes the passenger’s identity, hoping to take on the new job to which the man had been traveling. As the mystery unfolds, Julian finds himself embroiled in a scheme to assassinate a colonel planning a coup against the country’s socialist government. Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño and Luis Reneo’s high-octane and timely political thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. Official Selection, 2021 San Francisco Latino and Chicago Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, Luis Reneo; PROD Claudia Gaensel, Germán Monje. Bolivia, 2020, color, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Picture a world in which everyone must stay inside for an indefinite period of time while a mysterious threat sweeps the globe. This is the world imagined by Brazilian filmmaker Iuli Gerbase in her feature debut THE PINK CLOUD, an eerily prescient sci-fi thriller, which was shot in 2019, an entire year before life started imitating art as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all indoors. When a mysterious and lethally toxic pink cloud appears over an unnamed Brazilian city, interrupting a one-night stand between Giovana (Renata de Lélis) and Yago (Eduardo Mendonça) and forcing the world to shelter in place, the impromptu couple is forced to quarantine together in Giovana’s high-rise apartment. As days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years, the two settle in for the long haul. But while Yago becomes acclimated to their sealed-off existence, Giovana grows addicted to virtual reality and is increasingly desperate for connection to the outside world. An intimate and all-too-familiar study of life in quarantine, THE PINK CLOUD thoroughly — yet inadvertently — captures the mood of 2020 with surprisingly thrilling and emotive results. Winner, Grand Prix, 2021 Sofia International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Sundance, Seattle and Miami film festivals. DIR/SCR Iuli Gerbase; PROD Patricia Barbieri. Brazil, 2021, color, 103 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
Produced by Fernando Meirelles (CITY OF GOD) and Ramin Bahrani (THE WHITE TIGER, MAN PUSH CART), Alexandre Moratto’s (SÓCRATES) powerful sophomore feature follows 18-year-old Mateus (Christian Malheiros, SÓCRATES), a young man who leaves his countryside home with big hopes to take a job in a São Paulo junkyard run by the hard-driving Luca (Brazilian superstar Rodrigo Santoro, CHE, LOST, WESTWORLD). When Mateus and his six fellow workers discover that they have inadvertently walked into a trap, forced to work for no pay in exchange for the safety of their families, Mateus strikes a Faustian bargain with Luca that will draw him deep into the dangerous underground world of human trafficking and force him to walk the fine line between oppressed and oppressor. Official Selection, 2021 Venice and Toronto film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Alexandre Moratto; SCR Thayná Mantesso; PROD Ramin Bahrani, Fernando Meirelles, Andrea Barata Ribeiro. Brazil, 2021, color, 93 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED

A spiritual predecessor to this year’s wild Cannes Palme d’Or winner TITANE, drawing on everything from CHRISTINE to CRASH to MAD MAX and last year’s BACURAU, Brazilian director Renata Pinheiro’s (LOVE, PLASTIC AND NOISE) KING CAR combines steel, roaring engines, sex, desire and killer (literally) Retrofuturist design to comment on Brazil’s toxic political situation, class-based inequality and the global threat of climate change. Uno (Luciano Pedro Jr.) is the son of a taxi company owner with an extraordinary connection with cars: he was born in a car, can talk to them and even befriends one that saved him from a traffic accident as a child. When the local authorities use ecological concerns as a thinly-veiled, money-grabbing excuse to ban from the streets all vehicles older than 15 years, Uno hears no end of complaints from the broken-down, abandoned old cars he calls friends, all while poverty and unemployment skyrocket in his community. Together with his mechanical genius of an uncle, Uno hatches a plan to convert the abandoned vehicles into powerful futuristic machines that will help him get back at the powers that be. Visually and narratively unique, KING CAR is must-see for genre fans and world cinema fans alike. Official Selection, 2021 Rotterdam, Bucheon, Fantasia and Fantastic Fest film festivals. DIR/SCR Renata Pinheiro; SCR Leo Pyrata; SCR/PROD Sergio Oliveira. Brazil, 2021, color, 97 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Mariana Di Girólamo (breakout star of Pablo Larraín’s EMA) gives a tour de force performance as the eponymous Verónica in Chilean director Leonardo Medel’s (COACH) chilling social media thriller. A model married to an international football star, Verónica Lara is a burgeoning social media influencer with a growing following, a beautiful new baby and a seemingly perfect life. But just as Verónica is vying for a big job as the new face of a high-profile cosmetics line, she learns that she’s the prime suspect in an investigation into the murder of her first daughter, who died in mysterious circumstances a decade earlier. Amid the pressure of the inquiry, Verónica’s daily efforts to maintain the illusion of perfection for her followers start to flounder, her marriage verges on breakdown and she begins to feel pangs of jealously toward Amanda, her newborn daughter. Medel perfectly blends dark humor, satire and tragedy to craft a chilling examination of influencer culture that keeps viewers guessing right to the end. Winner, Rebel with a Cause Award, 2020 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Official Selection, 2020 San Sebastián, Toronto and Busan film festivals. DIR/SCR Leonardo Medel; PROD Alejandra Rosales. Chile, 2020, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

For fisherman’s son Nahuel, the ocean and its dark mysteries are the stuff of nightmares. Born aboard his father Antonio’s boat during a violent storm that took his mother’s life, Nahuel inherited an acute fear of anything to do with boats or the sea. Add that to dealing with local bullies and poor Nahuel just can’t seem to build up the courage to face his fears. But when he finds “El Levisterio,” a powerful book whose magic incantations can temporarily give him courage, Nahuel thinks his problems are solved. Little does he know that “El Levisterio” is also coveted by evil master sorcerer Kalku, who plans to use the book’s power to summon up a monstrous deep-sea terror that will destroy civilization. After his father is captured by Kalku, Nahuel must set off to rescue him alongside newfound companions Fresia, a Mapuche machi-in-training, and Ruende, a talking dog with a secret. In a land where dreams and reality are one and the same, where spells, magic and fantastic creatures lurk around every corner, Nahuel must summon every ounce of courage to battle with the forces of evil — and his own fears — in this beautifully animated feature debut from Chilean director and animator Germán Acuña. (Note adapted from Seattle International Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival; 2021 Seattle International Film Festival and New York International Children’s Film Festival. DIR/SCR Germán Acuña; SCR Juan Pablo Sepúlveda; PROD Sebastián Ruz, Livia Pagano. Chile/Brazil, 2020, color, 98 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED; recommended for ages 8+


In Colombian director Henry Rincón’s (PASOS DE HÉROE) impressive second feature, Tato (Bryan Cordoba) is a newly orphaned teen struggling to figure out how and where to live in Medellín following his mother’s death. An avid rapper and regular street jam battler, Tato is hoping not to be dragged into a life of crime in order to survive. When he falls behind on rent payments and a local gang comes for him, he has no choice but to run for the hills, fleeing the city to seek out his estranged grandfather Octavio (Óscar Atehortúa), a flower farmer living deep in the countryside. Soon immersed in an entirely different way of life, Tato finds himself embracing his roots, while continuing his fight to survive and find his own identity. Official Selection, 2021 Miami and Málaga film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Henry Rincón; PROD Ana María Mayo Rios. Colombia/Ecuador, 2021, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

It’s 2008 in Bogotá, and heavy-metal icons Iron Maiden are about to play their first-ever show in Colombia, much to the delight of teenaged metalheads and best friends Vargas (Daniel Esteban Reyes) and Chuki (Esteban Galindo), who have been eagerly anticipating the concert for three long years. When the pair are mugged on the way to the show and their tickets are stolen, Vargas and Chuki embark on a mission through the streets of Bogotá to get into the concert by any means necessary. Colombian filmmaker Mauricio Leiva Cock’s heartwarming debut is a fun-filled coming-of-age adventure about friendship, hope and never giving up — all set to a killer Iron Maiden soundtrack. Official Selection, 2020 Guanajuato and Guadalajara film festivals; 2021 Cleveland, Chicago Latino and TIFF Next Wave film festivals. DIR/SCR Mauricio Leiva Cock; SCR Benjamín Figueroa García; PROD David Figueroa García, Juan Diego Villegas. Colombia/Mexico, 2020, color, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
2021 Oscar® Selection, Colombia
With this intimate historical drama, Oscar®-winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba (BELLE EPOQUE, CHICO & RITA) adapts Héctor Abad Faciolince’s popular memoir about his father, Héctor Abad Gómez, a Colombian doctor, professor and human rights activist who rose to prominence in the polarized, violent climate of Medellín during the 1970s. Expertly played by Javier Cámara (TALK TO HER, THE YOUNG POPE), Gómez is family man loved by all, but deeply worried about his nation’s inadequate public health and welfare systems. When cancer claims the life of one of his beloved daughters, Gómez devotes himself completely to the social and political causes of the time, at great personal risk. Winner, Best Iberoamerican Film, 2021 Goya Awards. Official Selection, 2020 Cannes and San Sebastián film festivals, 2021 Miami Film Festival. DIR Fernando Trueba; SCR David Trueba, from the memoir by Héctor Abad Faciolince; PROD María Isabel Páramo. Colombia, 2020, color/b&w, 135 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Costa Rica

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
In a remote village in Costa Rica, 40-year-old Clara (Costa Rican dancer Wendy Chinchilla Araya, in her debut role) is believed to have a special connection to God. As a “healer” who has been visited by the Virgin Mary, she sustains a family and a village in need of hope, while she finds solace in her relationship with the natural world and her beloved horse, Yuca. But after years of being controlled by her mother without any agency of her own, Clara’s sexual desires are stirred by an unexpected attraction to her young niece’s (Ana Julia Porras Espinoza) kind-hearted new boyfriend (Daniel Castañeda Rincón). Clara begins to rebel — at first in subtle ways and then in ways that defy the expectations of her sleepy community and lead to explosive results. Costa Rican-Swedish director Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s feature debut is a powerful — at times uncomfortable — meditation on female empowerment and the fine line between the physical and the mystical. Official Selection, 2021 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR Nathalie Álvarez Mesén; SCR Maria Camila Arias; PROD Anne-Laure Guégan, Alan McConnell, Marcelo Quesada Mena, Géraldine Sprimont, Karina Avellán Troz, Nima Yousefi. Costa Rica/Sweden/Belgium, 2021, color, 106 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

AURORA (2021)
Costa Rican director Paz Fábrega (COLD WATER OF THE SEA) tells the story of an unwanted teen pregnancy from a unique perspective in this warm and honest drama. Forty-year-old Luisa (Rebeca Woodbridge) is a successful architect who spends her free time teaching art classes to children in the local school. After a chance encounter with 17-year-old student Yuliana (Raquel Villalobos), she learns that the teen is pregnant and unsure of where to turn. Luisa decides to help the young woman, giving Yuliana the safe space she needs to decide what to do — and ultimately helping her to conceal her condition from her unsuspecting parent. Initially filling the role of Good Samaritan, Luisa gradually finds herself slipping into a difficult and ambiguous position somewhere between friend, teacher and mother figure. Winner, Best Costa Rican Film, 2021 Costa Rica International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Rotterdam and Melbourne film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Paz Fábrega; PROD Patricia Velásquez, Marianella Illas, Iván Molina, Isabella Gálvez. Costa Rica/Mexico, 2021, color, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


In Canadian filmmaker Kaveh Nabatian’s Havana- and Montreal-set romance, written in collaboration with Cuban hip hop producer and academic Pablo Herrera, Leonardo (dancer Yonah Acosta), a classical ballerino, and Sara (Evelyn Castroda O’Farrill), an ambitious lawyer, are a young Afro-Cuban couple living in Havana and trying to make ends meet, all while pursuing their passions and aspiring to make it to the top of their respective professions. When Leonardo loses his position in a local ballet company and is forced to eke out a living teaching salsa to tourists, he and Sara concoct a plan to seduce one of the students – a young Canadian-Iranian divorcée named Nasim (Aki Yaghoubi) — and get Leonardo a ticket out of Cuba via a bogus marriage. As Leonardo makes it to snowy Montreal with his new flame — who has her own demons to battle — a truly international love triangle unfolds against a beautiful backdrop of Cuban music, dance and spiritual traditions. Winner, Best Narrative Feature Cinematography, 2021 Ashland Independent Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Miami International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Kaveh Nabatian; PROD Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette, Ménaïc Raoul. Cuba/Canada, 2020, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Building on their multi-award-winning 2016 documentary short of the same name, directors Ivaylo Getov and Jeremy Ungar follow the all-female Afro-Cuban a cappella quartet the Vocal Vidas — Koset Muñoa Columbié, Maryoris Mena Faez, Ana Josefina Hernández and Annia del Toro Leyva — after they are invited to perform in the United States for the first time, just as diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are beginning to waver during the early days of the Trump administration. What starts as musical journey to fulfill a dream of performing in front of 3000 people in Los Angeles slowly turns into something far more complex, as the group are forced to undergo an arduous and uncertain process to secure visas, making the road to the concert an odyssey that gains a wider resonance as the women are caught between various cultural and political crosscurrents. With soul-stirring music and the larger-than-life personalities of the Vocal Vidas as our guides, SOY CUBANA is both a celebration of the human connections that transcend borders and a pressing look at the virulent relationship between the U.S. and Cuba at a time of ongoing uncertainty. Winner, Audience Award, 24 Beats Per Second, 2021 SXSW Film Festival. DIR/SCR Jeremy Ungar; DIR Ivaylo Getov; SCR Agustín Rexach Martín; PROD Robin Miller Ungar. Cuba/U.S., 2021, color, 79 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Dominican Republic

Divided into seven sections, Dominican filmmaker Nino Martínez Sosa’s powerful feature debut vividly explores the legend of Olivorio “Papá Liborio” Mateo, a farmer who disappeared from his village in 1908, only to be resurrected as a figure of spiritual healing and political rebellion whose prophecies and reputed powers made him an almost messianic figure in the eyes of his ever-expanding group of dedicated followers. Ultimately focusing on Liborio’s role in the fight for independence from occupying U.S. forces in 1916, Sosa weaves a tapestry of multiple perspectives, unearthing an underexplored part of Dominican culture and identity from collective memory and shared myth. Official Selection, 2021 Rotterdam, Göteborg and New Directors/New Films film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Nino Martínez Sosa; SCR Pablo Arellano; PROD Fernando Santos Diaz, Maite Rivera Carbonell. Dominican Republic/Puerto Rico/Qatar, 2021, color, 99 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Acclaimed filmmaker José María Cabral (WOODPECKERS, THE PROJECTIONIST) sets his mordant melodrama against the backdrop of the 1965 civil war in the Dominican Republic, which included an invasion by U.S. troops. Madame Judith (Lumi Lizardo) runs her Santo Domingo seaside hotel/brothel with ruthless efficiency, even though business is down due to the political and social unrest outside her door. But soon the war comes to the Hotel Coppelia, too, with first the rebel forces quartering in her business, then later the Americans. Navigating the terrible dangers of this situation, sex workers Gloria, Beti and Marie must make increasingly difficult decisions that will put their already divided loyalties to the test, with their lives and the lives of others hanging in the balance. Official Selection, 2021 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR José María Cabral; PROD Rafael Elias Munoz. Dominican Republic, 2021, color, 113 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


2021 Oscar® Selection, Ecuador
Ecuadorian filmmaker Paúl Venegas’ gripping debut feature follows Chinese migrants Lei (Fu Jing) and Wong (Zhu Lidan) as they attempt to negotiate the uncertainties of life as undocumented immigrants in the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As the two form a bond around their shared experience navigating an unfamiliar, sometimes hostile culture, they reveal their hopes and dreams for the future — Lei is desperate to reach New York; Wong longs to bring his son over from China. Unfortunately, their futures lie in the hands of Chang (Meng Day Min), a ruthless local gangster who becomes obsessed with Lei and determines to use the pair as unwitting couriers of something unspecified, but certainly illegal. An immigration story embedded in a crime thriller, VACÍO explores an immigrant experience and community rarely seen on film. Winner, Best Film, 2020 Guayaquil International Film Festival; Winner, Best Film, 2021 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Official Selection, 2020 Busan International Film Festival, 2021 Chicago Latino Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Paúl Venegas; SCR Martín Salinas, Carlos Andres Terán Vargas. Ecuador/Uruguay, 2020, color, 93 min. In English, Mandarin and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

El Salvador

This potent and deeply felt feature debut from Swiss-Salvadoran documentarian Celina Escher follows the incredible journey of Teodora Vásquez. It was 2007 and the 34-year-old Salvadoran couldn’t have been happier or more prepared for the birth of her second child. But with only a few weeks to go, Vásquez was unexpectedly hit by the intense, crippling pain of a miscarriage, her desperate cries for help going unanswered before she lost consciousness. She awoke handcuffed to a hospital bed and charged with murdering her baby. Poor and unable to procure competent legal help, Vásquez was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide, another victim of a deeply patriarchal legal system. Leaving behind a preteen son and her impoverished yet determined parents, Vásquez quickly found her place among a group of 17 other women, all imprisoned on similar charges, all bringing global attention to an unjust, misogynistic culture in a unified voice. Together with a small army of advocates and attorneys, Vásquez won an early release in 2018, becoming a renowned international symbol of women’s rights — and a reminder of how easily the right to choose can be stripped away — all the while fighting for the release of “The Seventeen” left behind in prison. (Note adapted from Seattle International Film Festival.) Winner, Festival Award, Best Central American Film, 2021 Costa Rica International Film Festival; Winner, Ibero American Competition, 2021 Seattle International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Celina Escher; PROD Mónica Hernandez Rejón. El Salvador/Sweden, 2021, color, 88 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
Written and directed by multi-award-winning producer Alfonso Quijada (MALACRIANZA, PABLO’S WORD) WHISPER OF SILENCE is set in the coffee fields of El Salvador, where 18-year-old Josefina Moreno (Colombian actress Laura Osma) has worked since the age of 10. Over the years, Josefina has quietly developed a rare and refined sense of smell that allows her to evaluate and appreciate coffee beans with quasi-scientific precision. When her unique gift is revealed to the owners of the farm on which she works, Josefina embarks on a journey from the coffee fields to become a professional coffee taster and sought-after expert in the industry. But as Josefina navigates her newfound success, she must also deal with problems at home, including the plight of her rebellious younger brother, who finds himself caught up in a crime gone wrong, and the unwanted attentions of a local thug who threatens to upend Josefina’s life just as she is poised to take the coffee world by storm. Official Selection, 2020 Whistler Film Festival, 2021 Suchitoto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Alfonso Quijada; PROD Andy Hodgson. El Salvador/Colombia/Canada, 2020, color, 81 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
Guatemalan director Sergio Ramírez’s (DISTANCIA) sophomore feature, produced and co-written by produced by the Oscar®-shortlisted filmmaker Jayro Bustamante (LA LLORONA, IXCANUL), charts a dark chapter in recent Guatemalan history with an unexpected coming-of-age perspective on the country’s brutal civil war — and the mostly unreported and unpunished genocide that accompanied it — seen through the actions of a gang of upper-middle-class youths hellbent on hunting down and sometimes killing indigenous, working-class young men. It’s 1991 and Guatemala is in the midst of a bitter civil war, but for indigenous teens Daniel (Eduardo Cabrera) and Beto (Brandon Lopez), life is more about chasing girls, practicing their break-dancing moves and earning enough money cleaning the pools of the city’s elite to have fun on the weekends. That is, until the boys’ new classmate, Tony (Juan Jose Muralles) — a wealthy white bad boy expelled from his private school — becomes fast friends with Daniel when they bond over soccer. Quickly thrust into an alluring, privileged world of private clubs, money and girls, Daniel can’t believe his luck. But his new friendship has a dark side as he finds himself expected to tag along as Tony and his friends roam around the city with baseball bats, harassing and beating the indigenous kids of Daniel’s neighborhood for sport. Expected to deny his identity and betray his roots, Daniel finds the price of assimilation is much higher than he ever anticipated. Official Selection, 2021 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR Sergio Ramírez; SCR César Díaz; SCR/PROD Jayro Bustamante; PROD Joaquín Ruano. Guatemala, 2021, color, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
Brothers Felipe (Gonzalo Trigueros) and Eduardo (Sebastian Stimman) are all set to enjoy a relaxing weekend away with their girlfriends in their late grandmother’s secluded old home, La Condesa. But as they explore the creepy mansion, dark family secrets kept hidden for generations are revealed, gradually turning their idyllic getaway into a living nightmare. Forty years later, the brothers’ niece Sandra (Soraya Padrao) and her girlfriend Debora (Diana Pou) return to the house and find themselves drawn into the same mystery that Felipe and Eduardo faced a generation earlier. As they unravel the chilling secrets of the past, they find themselves trapped in a harrowing present reality. This haunting and suspenseful thriller was shot locally in Ellicott City, Maryland, by award-winning Honduran director Mario Ramos (BRIGADE) and Honduran producer Ana Martins Palacios (90 MINUTES) and features an excellent pan-Latin American cast. Official Selection, 2020 Festival de Cinema Latino Americano de São Paulo. DIR/PROD Mario Ramos; SCR Óscar Estrada; PROD Ana Martins Palacios. U.S./Honduras, 2020, color, 88 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Opening Selection
The latest from Alonso Ruizpalacios (GÜEROS, MUSEO) is a breathless, immersive, on-the-job and behind-the-scenes look at the life of Mexico City cops Teresa and Montoya, who are partners both in the squad car and at home in bed. But midway through the movie, what had seemed like a fly-on-the-wall documentary reveals itself to be a metafictional investigation of modern policing, with the actors portraying Teresa (Mónica Del Carmen) and Montoya (Raúl Briones) now speaking to the camera about their 101 days of preparation to portray these real-life characters, which included everything from police academy training to daily ride-alongs with working cops. Ruizpalacios confirms his genius for creating unexpected, genre-bending cinema. Winner, Silver Bear, Outstanding Artistic Contribution, 2021 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Alonso Ruizpalacios; SCR David Gaitán; PROD Daniela Alatorre, Elena Fortes. Mexico, 2021, color, 107 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Salvadoran-Mexican documentarian Tatiana Huezo (TEMPESTAD) makes her narrative debut with this powerful adaptation of Jennifer Clement’s bestselling 2014 novel, which explores the lives of three young girls impacted by Mexico’s ongoing cartel wars. In a rural mountain town besieged by violence, Ana and her two best friends are on the cusp of adolescence, having grown up together being taught by their mothers how best to flee and hide from being abducted or disappeared as pawns in local gang warfare. The trio create their own world, taking over abandoned houses, play-acting their impending adulthood and finding joy and magic amidst fear. But when one of the girls is kidnapped on the way to their hideout, the safe-guarded world the young women knew is plunged into uncertainty and anguish. Doubling as a condemnation of Mexico’s violent drug trade, this coming-of-age story manages to find moments of true beauty and resilience among the stark realism of its images. Winner, Special Mention – Un Certain Regard, 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Official Selection New York and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR Tatiana Huezo, from the novel by Jennifer Clement; PROD Nicolás Celis, Jim Stark. Mexico/Germany/Brazil/Qatar, 2021, color, 110 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

To reflect on the 500-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 2021, Mexican-American director Rodrigo Reyes (LUPE UNDER THE SUN, PURGATORIO) offers a bold, hybrid cinema experience exploring the brutal legacy of colonialism in contemporary Mexico. Through the eyes of a ghostly conquistador (Eduardo San Juan), the film recreates Hernán Cortez’s epic journey from the coasts of Veracruz to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the site of contemporary Mexico City. As the anachronistic fictional character interacts with real-life victims of Mexico’s failed drug wars and indigenous communities in resistance, the filmmaker portrays the country’s current humanitarian crisis as part of a vicious and unfinished colonial project, still in motion, nearly 500 years later. Provocative, unique and strikingly cinematic, 499 mixes non-fictional and performative elements with elements of the road movie to show how past traumas continue to affect contemporary reality. While linking these seemingly disparate histories of violence, the film confirms Reyes as one of the most potent voices in American independent cinema. (Note adapted from Cinema Guild.) Winner, Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film, 2020 Tribeca Film Festival; Winner, Special Jury Prize, International Documentary, 2020 Hot Docs; Winner, Golden Frog, 2020 Camerimage. DIR/SCR Rodrigo Reyes; SCR Lorena Padilla; PROD Inti Cordera, Andrew Houchens. Mexico/U.S., 2020, color, 88 min. In Nahuatl and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Mexican actress-turned-director Ángeles Cruz (I CARRY YOU WITH ME) crafts a powerful and poignant feature debut with this triptych of stories set in the Mixtec Oaxaca village of San Mateo during the annual celebration of the town’s patron saint, as three indigenous women navigate personal crises that put them at odds with customs and traditions which they both embrace and challenge. Maria (Sonia Couoh, POTOSÍ) is a young housekeeper who returns home to San Mateo after the death of her mother, rekindling a romance with single mother Piedad (Eileen Yañez, DAYS OF GRACE), while simultaneously suffering the wrath and rejection of her father. Chabela (Aida Lopez, FRIDA) is faced with the unexpected return of her long-AWOL husband Esteban (Noé Hernández, MISS BALA), who insists on a village tribunal after she refuses to take him back. And Toña (Myriam Bravo, THE GASOLINE THIEVES) is a clothing vendor who returns to the village to protect her young daughter from enduring the same abuse she once suffered at the hands of her deeply troubled uncle. Winner, Critics Jury Award, 2021 San Francisco International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Rotterdam, Seattle, Miami and Melbourne film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Ángeles Cruz; SCR Lucía Carreras, Lola Ovando. Mexico, 2021, color, 91 min. In Spanish and Mixteco with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Belgian-Romanian documentarian Teodora Ana Mihai turns the true story of Mexican mother Miriam Rodriguez into a powerful feature debut with LA CIVIL, a gripping tale of a mother in search of her daughter who has been abducted by a criminal cartel in northern Mexico. When Cielo’s (Arcelia Ramírez, I CARRY YOU WITH ME) teenage daughter Laura is kidnapped on her way to meet a friend, the panicked mother at first tries to meet the demands of the gang members sent to request the ransom. But it’s soon clear that she’s fighting a losing battle with men who have no intention of returning her daughter. After the authorities fail to offer support in the search, Cielo decides to take matters into her own hands, collaborating with Lamarque (Jorge A. Jimenez, HERMOSO SILENCIO, NARCOS) an army lieutenant who agrees to assist her — off the record — in exchange for information that will aid him in taking down a local cartel. As Cielo makes the transition from housewife into avenging informant, Mihai crafts a gripping thriller about a culture of mistrust in which everyone becomes complicit in a never-ending cycle of violence, intimidation and revenge. Winner, Prize of Courage – Un Certain Regard, 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Official Selection, 2021 Melbourne Film Festival. DIR/SCR Teodora Ana Mihai; SCR Habacuc Antonio De Rosario; PROD Hans Everaert. Mexico/Romania/Belgium, 2021, color, 135 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


In Panamanian director Mariel García Spooner’s delightful romantic comedy, Ana (Elizabeth Grimaldo) is a high-end wedding planner and event organizer who scores a gig working on the wedding of the season, with more than 600 guests invited to celebrate the nuptials of famed actress and influencer Lucía de la Fuente (Andrea Pérez Meana) and wealthy businessman Hector Herrero (Andres Lutrell) in Panama City’s lushly historic Casco Antiguo. At the same time, Ana is also busy planning her own, far less high-profile wedding to call center employee Marcos (Pablo Brunstein). When a strange turn of events sees Ana accidently steal Lucía’s luxurious $20,000 wedding dress, the young bride-to-be decides to run with it — literally — resolving to make the most of fate and get married in style before she’s caught by Lucía or the authorities. As Ana and her pursuers engage in a mad dash across Panama City, the would-be bride has a chance to reflect on the meaning of true love, rearrange her priorities and learn a little bit more about herself along the way. Official Selection, 2021 Los Angeles Latino and Cine Las Americas film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Mariel García Spooner; SCR Emmanuel Chávez, Ana Lucía Gurisatti; PROD María Isabel Burnes, Gabriel Pérez. Panama/Colombia, 2021, color, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


U.S. Premiere
In the 1960s, missionaries forcibly uprooted indigenous Ayoreo communities within Paraguay from their vast, richly forested ancestral homes to the arid and desolate Paraguayan Chaco region. Since the 1970s, Mateo Sobode Chiqueno, also Ayoreo, has been recording the stories, songs and experiences of the people within his community who experienced this brutal relocation. Through gentle conversations, Sobode Chiqueno records the memories and lived experiences of his community. As the population ages and people become more disassociated with their language and culture, Sobode Chiqueno’s work becomes ever more pressing as he attempts to preserve the fragments that are left, in hopes that from the memories, a resurgence will bloom. Paraguayan documentarian Arami Ullón — whose 2014 film CLOUDY TIMES was Paraguay’s first-ever Oscar® submission — crafts a powerful exploration of the meaning of identity, foregrounding the importance of recording the experiences, culture and memories of the Ayoreo people before it’s too late. (Note adapted from Hot Docs.) Official Selection, 2020 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, 2021 Hot Docs and Locarno film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Arami Ullón; PROD Pascal Trächslin. Paraguay/Switzerland, 2021, color, 74 min. In Ayoreo and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
Oscar®-nominated Peruvian filmmaker Claudia Llosa (ALOFT, THE MILK OF SORROW) adapts acclaimed Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin’s haunting eco-thriller with this beguiling semi-ghost story set in a remote community in rural Argentina, co-produced by Chile’s Pablo Larraín (EMA, JACKIE, THE CLUB and upcoming Princess Diana biopic SPENCER). Amanda (Spanish actress María Valverde, THE WEAKNESS OF THE BOLSHEVIK) is a young mother taken mysteriously ill while vacationing with her small daughter Nina (Guillermina Sorribes Liotta) in a sleepy Argentine farming town. As she battles her debilitating sickness, a child named David (Emilio Vodanovich) questions her about the events that led to her bewildering condition. As the story of Amanda, Nina, David and his mother Carola (Argentinian actress Dolores Fonzi, PAULINA, TRUMAN) unfurls, Llosa explores looming environmental and spiritual catastrophes, the enigma of motherhood and the ties that bind us all. Official Selection, 2021 San Sebastián Film Festival. DIR/SCR Claudia Llosa; SCR Samanta Schweblin, from her novel; PROD Mark Johnson, Tom Williams. Peru/U.S./Chile/Spain, 2021, color, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R

Special Presentation
Sisters Luzmila and Peta have inherited their mother’s job as the head housekeepers at two fine neighboring homes with a shared garden, working for well-to-do families whose properties and private lives are equally intertwined. When multiple generations from both families gather for a big birthday celebration, including the introduction of one son’s new fiancée, a series of long-hidden secrets are revealed, and long-simmering feuds boil over. This uproarious upstairs-downstairs comedy from Peru’s Javier Fuentes-León (CONTRACORRIENTE) mines telenovela tropes for farcical, campy fun while foregrounding a variety of strong female characters against a class-conscious societal critique. Official Selection, 2020 Busan and Rome film festivals; 2021 Miami, Málaga and Outfest film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Javier Fuentes-León; PROD Delia García, Michel Ruben. Peru/Colombia, 2020, color, 99 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Puerto Rico

Under the name of her alter ego Macha Colón, Afro-Puerto Rican singer, multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Gisela Rosario Ramos makes an assured and delightful feature debut with PERFUME DE GARDENIAS, a refreshingly humorous and candid exploration of grief and death through the story of one woman coming to terms with loss by embracing a new calling in life and finding joy in asserting the creativity and self-determination of a group of like-minded seniors. Isabel (Puerto Rican theater and TV star Luz María Rondón, in her first film role) is a newly widowed woman living in a middle-class neighborhood in Puerto Rico. After she crafts a beautiful custom-made funeral for her recently deceased spouse, her talents catch the eye of Toña (Sharon Riley), the self-appointed leader of a coterie of local women who pride themselves in organizing stellar community events, including local funerals. Toña soon enlists Isabel and her unusual talents to design extravagant, custom-designed funerals for their ailing neighbors, giving Isabel a new creative outlet and purposeful work, while at the same time offering her peers a chance to dictate how their lives should be honored. Along the way, however, Isabel is forced to question her own beliefs, as well as her relationship with both life and death. Official Selection, 2021 Tribeca Festival. DIR Macha Colón; SCR/PROD Gisela Rosario Ramos; PROD Arleen Cruz-Alicea, Consuelo Castillo, Adriana Ángel. Puerto Rico/Colombia, 2021, color, 97 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


U.S. Premiere
In Portuguese director Susana Nobre’s (ORDINARY TIME) playful and evocative docu-fiction hybrid, former New York taxi driver Joaquim Calçada is pushing 65 and ready to retire. In order to do this, however, he must first endure a brief period of unemployment, thanklessly submitting token job applications to prove to authorities that he has tried to find employment, all while having no real intention of returning to working life again. As he travels from company to company, across industrial areas in the Portuguese countryside where factories stand idle, Calçada shares stories of his working life to date, from his experiences as an undocumented immigrant in New York as a cab driver and chauffeur to the likes of Muhammad Ali and Jackie Kennedy, to his most recent work a laborer in the aeronautics industry, with glimpses into his world as a husband, father and friend along the way. Channeling filmmakers such as Ken Loach, Aki Kaurismäki and Miguel Gomes, Nobre crafts an inventive portrait of a character who is both highly unique and a relatable everyman, all while exploring and commenting on Portugal’s current socio-economic situation with Joaquim as an unconventional guide. Official Selection, 2021 Berlin International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Susana Nobre; PROD João Matos. Portugal, 2021, color, 70 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Special Presentation
U.S. Premiere
Una comedia orgásmica. Against the wishes of her tired and grumpy husband Julio (Javier Cámara, NARCOS), Ana (Griselda Siciliani, soon to be seen in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s LIMBO) has invited the couple who live in the apartment upstairs down for a Friday night dinner party. A minor argument between Julio and Ana about household expenses lends an undercurrent of tension to their haphazard efforts to play host to Salvo (Alberto San Juan, A GUN IN EACH HAND) and Laura (Belén Cuesta, THE ENDLESS TRENCH). When Julio unleashes what’s intended to be a withering comment about the upstairs couple’s loud lovemaking, Salvo and Laura’s unflappable response, including sharing details about their open relationship and frequent threesomes, escalates the already tense get-together into cringe comedy delirium. The latest clever comedy from Cesc Gay features outstanding ensemble work from the talented quartet of actors. Official Selection, 2020 San Sebastián International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Cesc Gay, from his play “Els Veïns de Dalt”; PROD Marta Esteban. Spain, 2020, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

When Leonor is forced to come home from London after the sudden death of her father, she arrives in Gijón, Spain, to find her mother on the verge of eviction from their small apartment. The two use their wiles to scheme their way into maintaining a lifestyle they think they deserve with promises of paying for dresses the following month and buying then returning cute shoes as they hop from shop to shop in their best furs. Soon, they find their grifts drying up and people starting to catch onto their cons, which tests their growing but complicated filial bond. The debut feature from Argentine writer, director and producer Amalia Ulman (who also stars in the lead role) is a dry, dark comedy that tackles poverty in contemporary Spain while examining the delicate balance of the mother-daughter relationship. Filmed on location in Gijón, it borrows heavily from Ulman’s own personal life as someone who grew up in the small coastal town, living in poverty off and on with her own mother, who plays her on-screen mom here, in her film debut. Winner, Best Director, 2021 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Official Selection, 2021 Sundance and New Directors New Films film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Amalia Ulman; PROD Kathleen Heffernan, Kweku Mandela. Spain/U.S., 2021, b&w, 79 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Filmmaker Pablo Banchero’s joyful celebration of Uruguayan cuisine follows celebrated chef, author and restaurateur Hugo Soca on a mouth-watering trip through his motherland’s rich and varied culinary traditions. Interweaving Soca’s own memories of growing up on a farm in southern Uruguay with a lively array of interview subjects — from cheese artisans to winemakers, sommeliers, fishermen, farmers and home cooks — the documentary explores Uruguayan cuisine’s complex roots in Swiss, German and indigenous traditions, looking at specialties such as Tannat wines, Queso Colonia (a regional variety of Emmental cheese), fish stew and grilled meats from an asado (communal barbecue). A treat for food and film lovers alike, CRIOLLO is a delightful and sumptuous look at the connection between cuisine and culture. Official Selection, 2021 Seattle International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Pablo Banchero; SCR Nicolás Kronfeld; PROD Karen Jawetz, Hugo Soca. Uruguay, 2020, color, 79 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Slasher fans rejoice — Uruguayan filmmaker Maximiliano Contenti (MUÑECO VIVIENTE V) is here to bring you the giallo-inspired, Dario Argento-tinged, 1970s-stained, grindhouse-splattered Uruguayan horror film you didn’t know you needed! It’s a dark, rainy day in ’90s Montevideo, the perfect time to catch a late-night screening at the Cine Opera movie palace  — or so a small group of disparate movie-goers thinks. Projectionist Ana (Luciana Grasso) is covering her father’s usual shift, while studying for her upcoming engineering exams, expecting a quiet night with few disturbances. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, as the film rolls, a maniac with a knife and a very peculiar appetite for pickled eyeballs is on the loose inside the theater, undetected — until he starts picking off patrons, one by one. With a hilariously twisted performance from Uruguayan horror pioneer Ricardo Islas (whose 2011 movie FRANKENSTEIN: DAY OF THE BEAST plays on screen as the film-within-the-film), THE LAST MATINEE will gross you out, make you laugh and make you think twice about your next midnight movie outing. Official Selection, 2020 Mar del Plata and Sitges film festivals, 2021 Cine Las Americas and Cleveland film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Maximiliano Contenti; SCR Manuel Facal; PROD Alina Kaplan, Lucía Gaviglio Salkind. Uruguay/Argentina, 2020, color, 88 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

U.S. and the World

New 2K DCP
National Silent Movie Day: THE LOVES OF CARMEN (1927)
Wed, Sept. 29, 7:00 p.m.
Live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson
After the Mexican actress Dolores del Río shot to stardom in Raoul Walsh’s 1926 runaway hit WHAT PRICE GLORY, Fox Film quickly cast her as Prosper Mérimée’s fiery Spanish gypsy, again under Walsh’s direction, in what became Fox’s highest-grossing film of 1927. For Walsh and del Río, Carmen is no longer a smoldering femme fatale, but rather a bouncing embodiment of life force and libido, who finds her male counterpart in the bullfighter Escamillo (Victor McLaglen) and her nemesis in the dark romanticism of cavalry officer Don José (Don Alvarado). Despite the film’s success, no prints of the domestic version are known to exist. This MoMA restoration was painstakingly reconstructed from an export version preserved by the National Film Archive of the Czech Republic. (Note courtesy of MoMA.) DIR Raoul Walsh; SCR Gertrude Orr, from the novella “Carmen” by Prosper Mérimée; PROD William Fox. U.S., 1927, b&w, 90 min. Silent with English intertitles. NOT RATED

Restored by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation and the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA); the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW).

About National Silent Movie Day
National Silent Movie Day is an annual celebration of silent movies, a vastly misunderstood and neglected cinematic art form. This year’s inaugural event was founded in the belief that silent motion pictures are a vital, beautiful and often powerful part of film history, with the goal to advocate for their presentation and preservation. For more information, please visit

Special Presentation
Double Feature:
Sylvia Stevens’ 1995 documentary introduced viewers to the Mejía family of Fresno, California, whose parents emigrated from Mexico’s beautiful but impoverished southern province of Oaxaca to make a living in the U.S. Despite the family’s thriving landscaping business and thoroughly assimilated children, the ties to the family’s ancestral home are strong, maintained each year with a family trip back for their home village of Jaltepec’s fiesta in honor of Saint Mary Magdalene. DIR Sylvia Stevens; SCR/PROD Trisha Ziff. U.S/UK, 1995, color, 108 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

This follow-up to OAXACALIFORNIA (1995) revisits the Mejía family 25 years later, this time exploring identity and shifting intergenerational mindsets in 21st-century America. Now spanning three generations, the family’s immigrant grandparents and their U.S. grandchildren naturally have different experiences and nuanced understandings about their ancestry and where they feel a sense of belonging. Where the older generation may have felt stuck between two worlds, ni de aquí ni de allá (neither here nor there), the grandchildren are comfortable identifying as having dual ancestry, de aquí y de allá (from here and there). Official Selection, 2021 Cine Las Americas. DIR/SCR/PROD Trisha Ziff; SCR/PROD Jorge Márquez; PROD Andrew Houchens, Isabel del Río. Mexico/U.S., 2021, color, 84 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Based on the novel by award-winning Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg, Swiss director Marc Wilkins’ feature debut follows a trio of Peruvian immigrants in New York — Raffaella (Peruvian actress Magaly Solier, LINA FROM LIMA, THE MILK OF SORROW) and her two teenage sons, Tito and Paul (real-life brothers Adriano and Marcelo Durand) — as they navigate undocumented life in the big city. Things are looking hopeful for Raffaella after she meets a Swiss pulp fiction author (Simon Käser) who convinces her to start her own burrito business. But when her twin sons fall for a mysterious Croatian girl named Kristin (Tara Thaller) in their English class, and unwittingly become involved in some shady dealings — and eventually a murder — she must piece together their secret romantic life to find out what happened as deportation looms. A coming-of-age drama wrapped in a thriller, THE SAINT OF THE IMPOSSIBLE is a powerful and refreshingly honest deconstruction of the American Dream, which despite its heavy subject matter refuses to devolve into miserabilism or pity. Official Selection, 2020 São Paulo International Film Festival, 2021 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR Marc Wilkins; SCR Lani-Rain Feltham; PROD Joël Louis Jent. Switzerland, 2020, color, 90 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

This explosive blend of history, art and crime literature explores how a new generation of Latin American novelists found in noir fiction a unique way to confront their countries’ troubled pasts and presents. Greek documentarian and author Andreas Apostolidis travels to five Latin American cities to meet with famous crime novelists Leonardo Padura (Havana), Luis Sepulveda (Santiago), Paco Ignacio Taibo II (Mexico City), Santiago Roncagliolo (Lima) and Claudia Pineiro (Buenos Aires). Through their stories, a unique genre of flourishing literature is revealed, strikingly different from its North American or Nordic counterparts: it’s political, dark — and the crimes are often committed by the state itself. (Note adapted from Anemon Productions.) Official Selection, 2021 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR Andreas Apostolidis; PROD Rea Apostolidis, Yuri Averof, Estelle Robin You, Sergio Muñoz. Greece/France/Mexico, 2021, color, 55 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Closing Selection
Q&A with filmmaker Manny Pérez on Oct 9
Dominican-American writer and actor Manny Pérez (CROOKLYN, LA SOGA, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS) makes his directorial debut with this highly-anticipated sequel to 2009’s acclaimed LA SOGA, a gritty crime thriller about a butcher’s son, Luisito (Pérez), who rises to become one of the Dominican secret police’s most feared enforcers — aka “La Soga.” Cut to 10 years following the action-packed events of LA SOGA and Luisito (Pérez, reprising the role) is a decade wiser, living in the U.S. and trying to start afresh in Providence, Rhode Island, with his new girlfriend Lia (Sarah Jorge León). That is until a mysterious American gangster (Chris McGarry, BARRY, THE FOSTERS, LUCKY 7) asks him to do one last job — or risk losing everything he’s worked so hard to protect from his violent past. Faced with an impossible choice, Luisito is forced to fight for the love of his life while confronting his inner demons and the shadows of his past. Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Manny Pérez. U.S./Dominican Republic, 2021, color, 92 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation
Q&A with filmmaker Ellie Walton, producer Quique Avilés and poet Sami Miranda on Oct. 10
On May 5, 1991, people took to the streets of Washington, DC’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood to protest the police shooting of Daniel Gomez, a young man from El Salvador. Through testimony, song, poetry and street theatre, LA MANPLESA weaves together the collective memory of one of DC’s first barrios and dives into the roots of the 1991 rebellion. As people across the world take to the streets to demand an end to police brutality, the film honors the largely untold stories that have come before us and explores how artists prompt us to remember what we still must fight for. (Note courtesy of Ellie Walton.) DIR Ellie Walton; PROD Quique Avilés, Cindy Centeno, Max Aviles, Sonya Robbins Hoffman, Sabiyha Prince. U.S., 2021, color, 52 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

The latest feature by award-winning Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Plá (DESIERTO ADENTRO, A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS, THE ZONE) is based on a novel by co-director/writer Laura Santullo and follows the journey of a single mother, blue-collar worker Elena (Julia Chávez), and her nine-year-old son Tom (Israel Rodríguez Bertorelli). Living by themselves in the U.S., they rely on a thin public safety net to make ends meet and their tight but fraught bond is pushed to the limit when Tom is hastily diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed psychiatric medication. When a near-fatal accident alerts Elena to the drug’s potential side-effects, she determines to stop giving her son the meds. But as Tom’s erratic behavior escalates, they’re faced with the painful possibility of him having to go into foster care. Elena’s difficulty in dealing with figures of authority — or recognizing the scarce signs of empathy they find along the way — compound Tom’s challenging attitude. But in the face of very few options, their trust in each other helps them find a way to reconnect and take on the uncertain road ahead. Within an atmosphere of subdued realism, the story portrays the dangers of unchecked medical diagnosis and pill pushing and presents a poignant take on the ways basic governmental systems fail the people who most depend on them. (Note adapted from Toronto International Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2021 Venice and Toronto film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Rodrigo Plá, Laura Santullo, from the novel by Santullo; PROD Gabriela Maldonado, Alejandro de Icaza. U.S./Mexico, 2021, color, 111 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Cast out from his middle-class family in Caracas, the aging ne’er-do-well Roque (Jorge Roque Thielen) — alcoholic and dissolute, but still possessed by a daemon of energy — retreats to the Amazon jungle where he begins work on restoring an old tourist lodge. But an old acquaintance, Yoni (Yoni Naranjo) turns up, offering Roque work in his illegal gold mine run by Colombian guerillas. Roque abandons the lodge for the mine, putting himself and his dream of salvation in mortal danger. In a metafictional twist, the character of Roque and his personal struggles were based on filmmaker Jorge Thielen Armand’s own father, who Armand then cast to play the role. “A feverish voyage of discovery through the hinterland between madness and salvation.” –Wendy Ide, Screen International. Official Selection, 2020 Rotterdam and Busan film festivals, 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Jorge Thielen Armand; SCR/PROD Rodrigo Michelangeli; PROD Manon Ardisson, Rodolfo Cova, Kim Jackson, Zach LeBeau. Venezuela/Colombia/France/Netherlands, 2020, color, 108 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

About the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
The AFI Silver and Cultural Center is one of the nation’s premier film theatres, building an appreciation of the art and artists through exploring and celebrating new and classic films and filmmakers from around the globe. AFI Silver offers a year-round program of the best in American and international cinema, featuring a dynamic mix of retrospectives, special events, tributes, on-stage guest appearances, specialty first-run movies, festivals, premieres and education and community-based programs in a theatrical setting of the highest standards. Anchored by the stunningly restored 1938 Silver Theatre, the three-screen AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a state-of-the-art film and digital media exhibition venue that serves as a national model for preserving and honoring our shared film and film-going heritage. Read about all of these programs and more at, and follow us on social media at,, and

About the American Film Institute (AFI)
The American Film Institute (AFI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to champion the moving image as an art form. Established in 1967, AFI launched the first comprehensive history of American film and sparked the movement for film preservation in the United States. In 1969, AFI opened the doors of the AFI Conservatory, a graduate-level program to train narrative filmmakers. AFI’s enduring traditions include the AFI Life Achievement Award, which honors the masters for work that has stood the test of time; AFI AWARDS, which celebrates the creative ensembles of the most outstanding screen stories of the year; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive that preserve film history for future generations. AFI exhibition programs include AFI FESTAFI DOCS and year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Maryland. Other pioneering programs include workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community, including the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and the AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women. AFI’s newest program is AFI Movie Club, a daily global engagement for those who love the movies. Read about all of these programs and more at and follow us on social media at,, and


For general AFI press inquiries