AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP FOR AN ALL-VIRTUAL 2020 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL – American Film Institute

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AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES FULL LINEUP FOR AN ALL-VIRTUAL 2020 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

CONTACT: Abbie Algar, AAlgar@AFI.com

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES
FULL LINEUP FOR AN ALL-VIRTUAL 2020 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

Opens With Pablo Larraín’s EMA, Closes With U.S. Premiere Of Alfredo León León’s SUBMERSIBLE

Festival’s Virtual Edition Runs September 25–October 7 With 26 Films From 20 Countries, Including 7 U.S. Premieres

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Silver Spring, MD, September 2, 2020 — The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the full slate of films being presented online for the 2020 AFI Latin American Film Festival, which will take place September 25–October 7, 2020. Now in its 31st year, the Festival, which typically takes place at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD, is one of the largest and long-running showcases of Latin American cinema in the United States. While the AFI Silver Theatre remains temporarily closed, this year’s Festival will be re-imagined as a vibrant virtual showcase, presenting Latin America’s prolific and versatile talent online during National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s wide-ranging selection of 26 films spans international festival favorites and award winners, local box-office hits and dynamic debuts from a new generation of Latin American filmmakers. The majority of films in the festival will be available to view online from anywhere in the United States.

The festival will open with Pablo Larraín’s EMA, an electrifying reggaeton-infused story of self-discovery starring frequent Larraín collaborator Gael García Bernal (NERUDA, NO), alongside Chilean actress Mariana Di Girolamo (THE PACK, RÍO OSCURO) in a breakout performance. The Festival closes with the U.S. premiere of Ecuadorian filmmaker Alfredo León León’s (OPEN WOUND) provocative submarine-set thriller SUBMERSIBLE, starring Colombian actress Natalia Reyes (BIRDS OF PASSAGE, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE).

Other Festival highlights include Academy Award®-winning Argentine director Juan José Campanella’s (THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES) pitch-perfect black comedy THE WEASELS’ TALE, starring Graciela Borges (LA CIÉNAGA) and Oscar Martínez (WILD TALES); Mexican writer-director Fernanda Valadez’s lyrical thriller IDENTIFYING FEATURES, winner of the World Cinema Audience and Screenplay Awards at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’s (IXCANUL, TEMBLORES) chilling supernatural thriller LA LLORONA; THE MONEYCHANGER, Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Veiroj’s (THE APOSTATE, BELMONTE, A USEFUL LIFE) stylish and deadpan dark comedy about greed and corruption in 1970s Montevideo; and KOKOLOKO, the latest from Mexico’s Gerardo Naranjo (MISS BALA), a bold romantic thriller shot on Super 16mm, which earned actor Noé Hernández (SIN NOMBRE) the Best Actor prize in the International Narrative Competition at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The Festival also features several highly anticipated new works from established and emerging Latin American auteurs, including the U.S. premieres of Bolivian director Diego Mondaca’s powerful historical drama CHACO and Colombian director Nicolás Rincón Gille (NOCHE HERIDA, LOS ABRAZOS DEL RÍO) mystical odyssey VALLEY OF SOULS; THE FEVER, Brazilian director and visual artist Maya Da-Rin’s powerful drama about an indigenous Brazilian worker drawn mysteriously back into the rainforest; FAUNA, the ninth feature by prolific Mexican director Nicolás Pereda (SUMMER OF GOLIATH), a sly comedic critique of the proliferation of narcoculture in contemporary Mexico; and smart micro-budget horror MORGUE, a box office smash by Paraguayan writer-director Hugo Cardozo, with an English-language remake in works from screenwriter Eric Heisserer (ARRIVAL, BIRD BOX). The Festival will also host the U.S. premiere of Ariel Winograd’s (MY FIRST WEDDING, NO KIDS) THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY, a true-crime comedy based on one of the most famous bank heists in Argentina’s history, a crime which also inspired the recent Spanish Netflix series MONEY HEIST [LA CASA DE PAPEL].

Documentary selections explore both the personal and the political, and include the U.S. premiere of powerful HotDocs prizewinner UNFORGIVABLE, the latest from Salvadoran director Marlén Viñayo (LA CACHADA); STATELESS, Haitian-Panamanian filmmaker Michèle Stephenson’s (AMERICAN PROMISE) in-depth look at the citizenship battle facing Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, winner of a HotDocs Special Jury Prize; Puerto Rican filmmaker Cecilia Aldorando’s (MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART) LANDFALL, which chronicles the aftermath of Hurricane Maria through glimpses of everyday life across Puerto Rico; and Sundance-debuted critical darlings THE MOLE AGENT by Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi (LA ONCE, THE GROWN-UPS) and ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENEZUELA, the feature debut of Venezuelan director Anabel Rodríguez Ríos.

Complete list of U.S. Premieres:

• CHACO (DIR Diego Mondaca, Bolivia)
• THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY [EL ROBO DEL SIGLO] (DIR Ariel Winograd, Argentina)
• MORGUE (DIR Hugo Cardozo, Paraguay)
• PANQUIACO (DIR Ana Elena Tejera, Panama)
• SUBMERSIBLE [SUMERGIBLE] (DIR Alfredo León León, Ecuador)
• UNFORGIVABLE [IMPERDONABLE] (DIR Marlén Viñayo, El Salvador)
• VALLEY OF SOULS [TANTAS ALMAS] (DIR Nicolás Rincón Gille, Colombia)

A complete slate of all festival screenings is below. For photos, contact Abbie Algar at AAlgar@AFI.com. For updated information, tickets and festival passes, visit AFI.com/Silver/LAFF/.

2020 AFI LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

September 25–October 7

 

Argentina

 

U.S. Premiere

THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY [EL ROBO DEL SIGLO]

This Argentinian box office hit is a true-crime comedy based on one of the most famous bank heists in the country’s history, a crime which also inspired the recent Spanish Netflix series MONEY HEIST [LA CASA DE PAPEL]. Friday, January 13, 2006: more than 300 police officers surround the Acassuso branch of the Río Bank, just outside Buenos Aires. Inside, martial arts instructor Fernando Araujo (Diego Peretti, NO KIDS, TEN DAYS WITHOUT MOM) and his hand-picked, four-member crew are hard at work emptying safety deposit boxes of cash, jewelry and gold bars. But by the time the police infiltrate the bank, all they find are toy weapons, frightened hostages and empty bank vaults. There’s no sign of the money, or of the thieves themselves. But how this all-star band of misfits pulled off the now-legendary heist is not as surprising as what happened afterward. Co-starring Guillermo Francella (THE CLAN, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES), this smart and twisty thriller is co-scripted by Araujo — the mastermind behind the heist itself — and promises a truly wild ride. Official Selection, 2020 Málaga Film Festival. DIR Ariel Winograd; SCR Fernando Araujo; SCR/PROD Alex Zito; PROD Fernando Carranza, Javier del Pino, Ricardo Freixa, Juan Pablo García, Axel Kuschevatzky, Marcelo Ortega, Fernando Szew, Pola Zito. Argentina, 2020, color, 114 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Special Presentation

THE WEASELS’ TALE [EL CUENTO DE LAS COMADREJAS]

The latest from Academy Award®-winning director Juan José Campanella (THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES) is a pitch-perfect black comedy with an all-star cast. Four veterans of Argentinian cinema — a beautiful star who has brains to match her beauty (Graciela Borges, LA CIÉNAGA), her actor husband who has taken to painting in the twilight of his life (Luis Brandoni, WAITING FOR THE HEARSE), a devious and witty screenwriter (Marcos Mundstock, 2004’s ROMA) and a cunning director (Oscar Martínez, WILD TALES) — are content living together in a mansion in the country, reminiscing about the past and reflecting on their golden years. That is, until the arrival of an unscrupulous young couple seeking to buy the property throws a wrench into their idyllic retirements. But the venerable quartet is a force to be reckoned with, prepared to employ every trick in the book to thwart the sale of their beloved estate. (Note adapted from Latido Films.) Official Selection, 2020 Miami Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Juan José Campanella; SCR Darren Kloomok; PROD Muriel Cabeza, Gerardo Herrero, Axel Kuschevatzky. Argentina/Spain, 2019, color, 129 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Bolivia

 

U.S. Premiere

CHACO (2020)

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, Bolivian director Diego Mondaca’s feature debut is feverish odyssey into the memory of a vicious — but often forgotten — war between Bolivia and Paraguay, which raged from 1932 to 1934 in the harsh terrain of the Chaco Boreal along the Bolivia-Paraguay border, an area that had been the subject of a dispute between the two nations since 1825. Set in 1934, CHACO follows a small Bolivian regiment, made up mostly of indigenous Aymara and Quechua soldiers, as they trek across the inhospitable Chaco plains and forests in constant search of food, water and the ever-elusive enemy. Under the command of an unforgiving German captain — a character based on Hans Kundt, a retired World War I colonel who led the Bolivian military campaign during the Chaco War — the regiment confronts dwindling rations, internal disputes and diminishing energy. But even as isolation, despair and hunger grow with every day, every hellish march and each hastily erected camp, the captain insists that they pursue their mission at all costs — and against all reason. A powerful evocation of the absurdity of war, with echoes of AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD and APOCALYPSE NOW, CHACO is a rare war movie that conveys the intense, visceral anguish of warfare without combat, gunshots or even an enemy soldier in sight. Official Selection, 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam. DIR/SCR Diego Mondaca; SCR Cesar Diaz, Pilar Palomero; PROD Álvaro Manzano, Camila Molina. Bolivia/Argentina, 2020, color, 77 min. In Aymara, Quechua and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Brazil

 

THE FEVER (2019) [A FEBRE]

Forty-five-year-old Justino is a Desana Tribe native working as a security guard in a freight yard on the harbor in the industrial city of Manaus, surrounded by the Amazon rainforest. He lives on the outskirts of town in a modest house with his youngest daughter, Vanessa, who works a nurse in a local clinic. When she is accepted into a program to study medicine in Brasília, Justino is suddenly overcome with a mysterious fever that won’t subside. It causes him to fall asleep on the job and gives him hallucinations of an unidentifiable creature following him in the night. Far from the native village that he left two decades ago and with a looming empty nest, Justino feels utterly out of place. This evocative and poetic feature debut from filmmaker and visual artist Maya Da-Rin is a charming father-daughter story with painterly imagery and naturalistic performances from the mostly non-professional cast. Regis Myrupu gives a standout performance as Justino, for which he was awarded the Best Actor prize at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival. Winner, Best Director, 2019 Chicago International Film Festival; Winner, Best Latin-American Film, 2019 Mar del Plata Film Festival; Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Best Actor (Regis Myrupu), 2019 Locarno International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Maya Da-Rin; SCR Pedro Cesarino, Miguel Seabra Lopes; PROD Juliette Lepoutre, Leonardo Mecchi. Brazil/France/Germany, 2019, color, 98 min. In Tukano and Portuguese with English subtitles. NOT RATE

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Chile

 

Opening Selection

EMA (2019)

Chilean master filmmaker Pablo Larraín (THE CLUB, JACKIE, NERUDA, NO) treats us to another psychologically acute and visually bold examination of Latin American life in the story of dancer Ema (Chilean TV star Mariana Di Girolamo, in a breakout performance) and choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal), a married couple living their dream as part of an experimental dance troupe in Valparaíso. Their idyllic lives are thrown into chaos when their adopted son Polo is involved in a shockingly violent incident, and they are forced to make an impossible choice. As Ema’s marriage to Gaston crumbles in the wake of their decision to give up the child, she embarks on an odyssey of liberation and self-discovery. Centering on the exhilarating art of reggaeton dance, EMA is an incendiary portrait of a lady on fire, the story of an artistic temperament forced to contend with societal pressure and the urge to conform. Di Girolamo is unforgettable as Ema, a wildly unconventional heroine who tears through the world, electrifying everyone and everything around her. Winner, UNIMED Award, 2019 Venice Film Festival; Winner, Best Score, 2020 Miami International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, 2020 Sundance Film Festival. DIR/SCR Pablo Larraín; SCR Guillermo Calderón, Alejandro Moreno; PROD Juan de Dios Larraín. Chile, 2019, color, 107 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. RATED R

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

BLANCO EN BLANCO

Shot in the depths of winter in Chile’s inhospitable Tierra del Fuego, Théo Court’s (OCASO) sophomore feature is a hypnotic, visually startling journey into the historic hell of imperialist expansionism. At the dawn of the 20th century, photographer Pedro (frequent Pablo Larraín collaborator Alfredo Castro, MUSEO, NERUDA, NO, ROJO) travels to the southernmost part of South America to photograph a wealthy landowner’s wedding. Mr. Porter, his absent client — a character based on real-life wealthy Romanian Julius Popper, a self-styled conquistador who enriched himself mining gold — specifically asks the photographer to capture the likeness of his shockingly young bride-to-be (Esther Vega). But while Pedro waits for the wedding, which keeps being postponed, he grows increasingly and unhealthily obsessed with the little girl. In the meantime, he is drawn into life on this makeshift society’s rugged periphery, where the men who work for Mr. Porter drink themselves stupid, kill all the game in the surrounding area and systematically murder the indigenous Selk’nam people around them. Charged with photographing these atrocities — of which Mr. Porter’s men are abhorrently proud — Pedro’s role slowly shifts from that of passive observer to complicit eyewitness and accessory as he documents the brutal abuses of power and genocide occurring. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Human Rights Film Network Award; Winner, Venice Horizons Award, Best Director, 2019 Venice Film Festival. DIR/SCR Théo Court; SCR Samuel M. Delgado; PROD Eva Chillón, Giancarlo Nasi. Chile/Spain/France/Germany, 2019, color, 100 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

THE MOLE AGENT

Sergio is a Chilean spy. Well, sort of. He has booked the role of one after a casting session organized by a private investigator who needs a credible mole to infiltrate a retirement home when the concerned daughter of a resident there suspects her mother is being abused. However, Sergio is 83, not 007, and not exactly an easy trainee when it comes to spying techniques and new technology. But he is a keen student, looking for ways to distract himself after recently losing his wife. What could be a better distraction than some undercover spy action? While gathering intelligence, Sergio grows close to several residents and realizes that the menacing truth beneath the surface is not what anyone had suspected. This stylish combination of observational documentary and spy movie, with sleek camerawork and wonderfully watchable characters, is a heartwarming and unique meditation on compassion and loneliness. (Not adapted from Sundance Film Festival.) Official Selection, 2020 Sundance, New Directors/New Films and Miami film festivals. DIR/SCR Maite Alberdi; PROD Marcela Santibañez. Chile, 2020, color, 84 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Colombia

 

U.S. Premiere

VALLEY OF SOULS [TANTAS ALMAS]

Colombia, on the banks of Magdalena River, 2002. José (non-professional actor Arley De Jesús Carvallido Lobo, in his first role) returns to his home deep in the jungle after a long night of fishing to discover that soldiers of a right-wing paramilitary group have killed his two sons, Dionisio and Rafael, and thrown their bodies into the river. Knowing that local paramilitary leaders have forbidden the removal of bodies from the Magdalena, José begins a long, lonely and treacherous journey to retrieve and provide a proper burial for his boys, in order to save their souls from eternal limbo. Aboard his canoe, throughout his odyssey, José discovers the beauty and tragedy of a country torn to pieces by deep divisions and civil war. This powerful narrative debut from documentarian Nicolás Rincón Gille (NOCHE HERIDA, LOS ABRAZOS DEL RÍO) is a truly immersive elegy in which José’s Dante-like journey into a purgatory of human construction assumes mythic proportions. Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Marrakech International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Busan International Film Festival, 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam and San Francisco International Film Festival. DIR/SCR Nicolás Rincón Gille; PROD Hector Ulloque Franco, Manuel Ruiz Montealegre. Colombia/Brazil/Belgium/France, color, 137 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Costa Rica

 

LAND OF ASHES [CENIZA NEGRA]

The first feature by Costa Rican-Argentinian director Sofía Quirós Úbeda expands on her acclaimed 2016 short SELVA to create a magical, arresting coming-of-age fable set in a rainforest village on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. An orphan, 13-year-old Selva (Smashleen Gutiérrez, reprising the role she played in SELVA) lives with her tata, or grandfather (Humberto Samuels) and his wife and carer, the feisty Elena (Hortensia Smith), a woman with whom Selva has a loving, if prickly, relationship as the only real mother figure in her life. When Elena suddenly disappears, Selva is left alone to take care of her grandfather, as he slowly loses the will to live without his companion. But Selva is not alone. She often spends time with a mysterious woman in the woods — a woman only she is able to see — and she is aware of others in the jungle, too, liminal spirits from whom she learns ancient rituals. Exploring the boundaries between childhood and adolescence, life and death, the real and imagined and the magical and mundane, LAND OF ASHES is a powerful tale of one young woman’s passage from childhood into adulthood and a moving exploration of mourning from a child’s perspective. Winner, Best Film, 2019 Cairo International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, Munich, Mumbai, Mar Del Plata and Rio de Janeiro film festivals. DIR/SCR Sofia Quiros Úbeda; PROD Mariana Murillo. Costa Rica/Argentina/Chile/France, 2019, color, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Cuba

 

AUGUST (2019) [AGOSTO]

It’s August of 1994 in the small coastal town of Gibara, Cuba, and Carlos is trying to make the most of the last few weeks of summer vacation. At home with his parents and grandmother, the high schooler is not prepared for the end of the euphemistically named Período Especial (special period in time of peace) in which he is living. This decade-long economic depression will see a massive wave of migration from the island to the U.S., known as the balseros (rafters) crisis. Living through a few years of the depression has hit Carlos and his family hard, but he continues to enjoy his relatively carefree youth with friendships and summer romances until, one by one, those closest to him begin to disappear in the night in search of a better life. This naturalistic coming-of-age story borrows heavily from first-time director Armando Capó’s memories of his own youth in Cuba, and uses a mix of professional and non-professional actors to capture the tranquility during the turmoil that changed the lives of so many, including his. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, Mill Valley and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR Armando Capó; SCR Abel Arcos; PROD Marcela Esquivel Jiménez. Cuba/Costa Rica/France, 2019, color, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Dominican Republic

 

Special Presentation

STATELESS (2020) [APÁTRIDA]

Haitian-Panamanian filmmaker, artist and author Michèle Stephenson (AMERICAN PROMISE) explores the complex history and present-day manifestations of institutionalized racism in the Dominican Republic in this powerful and personal documentary. In 1937, under Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were executed by the Dominican army, fueled by anti-black hatred fomented by the government. In 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless, without nationality, identity or homeland. In this dangerous climate, a young attorney named Rosa Iris, herself a Dominican of Haitian descent, launches a grassroots campaign, taking on electoral corruption, advocating for social justice and reuniting families split apart by the abrupt and merciless ruling. Combining elements of magical realism and vivid cinematography with hidden-camera footage and the local legend of a young woman fleeing brutal violence, STATELESS documents the aftermath of a pivotal turning point in the history of two nations with a complex and tumultuous history, navigating through offices, living room meetings and street protests to reveal the depths of institutionalized oppression. As the reality of Rosa’s fight becomes clear, she must balance her congressional run with her dedication to her family and community. Winner, Special Jury Prize, Canadian Feature Documentary, 2020 Hot Docs Festival. Official Selection, 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Michèle Stephenson; PROD Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin. U.S./Canada/Dominican Republic/Haiti, 2020, color, 97 min. In Spanish and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Ecuador

 

Closing Selection

U.S. Premiere

SUBMERSIBLE [SUMERGIBLE]

Ecuadorian filmmaker Alfredo León León’s (OPEN WOUND) taut, expertly calibrated thriller takes place entirely aboard a cramped, makeshift submarine on a drug run from the coast of Ecuador toward North America. When mechanical issues leave the submarine on the verge of sinking and losing its precious cargo, the three crew members — Kleber (Carlos Valencia, RATAS, RATONES, RATEROS), Aquiles (José Restrepo, THE BALLAD OF HUGO SÁNCHEZ) and Félix (Leynar Gómez, THE AWAKENING OF THE ANTS, NARCOS) — are forced to open the sealed cargo cabin to redistribute the weight and save the vessel, an action they have been warned is forbidden at all costs. It is soon clear that drugs are not the only thing the crew have been paid to traffic. Hidden among the 10 tons of cocaine they are transporting, the men are shocked to discover a young woman (Colombian actress Natalia Reyes, BIRDS OF PASSAGE, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE), bound, gagged and barely conscious. Nicknaming her La Reina, the three men are unsure how to handle their newly discovered charge, and just as disagreements about what to do become increasingly heated, La Reina begins calculating plans for her escape. With tensions mounting and conditions deteriorating inside the tiny capsule, the goal of delivering the goods is gradually superseded by a more visceral and immediate need to survive. Official Selection, 2020 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. DIR/SCR Alfredo León León; SCR Daniela Granja Nuñez; PROD Sebastián Cordero, Juan Pablo Solano, Arturo Yepez. Ecuador/Colombia, 2020, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Cast: Natalia Reyes, José Restrepo, Leynar Gómez, Carlos Valencia

 

El Salvador

 

U.S. Premiere

UNFORGIVABLE (2020) [IMPERDONABLE]

The latest documentary from Salvadoran director Marlén Viñayo (CACHADA: THE OPPORTUNITY) profiles Geovanny, a ruthless hitman for the 18th Street gang, as he serves his sentence in an isolation cell in El Salvador. But in prison, Geovanny is guilty not only of his crimes but of an unforgivable sin under god and gang: being gay. A powerful follow-up to Viñayo’s award-winning 2019 feature CACHADA: THE OPPORTUNITY, this astonishing short film shows an aspect of gang life that is seldom seen. Winner, Best International Short Documentary Award, 2020 Hot Docs Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Marlén Viñayo; SCR/PROD Carlos Martínez. El Salvador, 2020, color, 35 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Honduras

 

90 MINUTES (2019) [90 MINUTOS]

The ambitious debut feature from 24-year-old Honduran director Aeden O’Connor Agurcia takes its name — and running time — from the duration of a soccer match to tell four interlinking stories about contemporary life in Honduras, all tied together by the nation’s passion for “the beautiful game.” In one story, a Honduran migrant crossing through Mexico gets into a fight over a match between the two national teams. Another segment focuses on a young soccer fan in Tegucigalpa forced to choose between his family and his sport. A third story follows a young reporter who goes from shooting footage of a soccer practice to risking his life filming a safe house guarded by drug dealers. And the fourth follows a former soccer player who was part of the first Honduran national team to play at the World Cup, as he struggles to rediscover purpose away from the pitch. Exploring issues as diverse as immigration, drug trafficking, hooliganism and domestic violence, O’Connor Agurcia creates a powerful snapshot of Honduran life through the lens of the world’s most beloved game. Winner, Audience Award, Best Feature Film, 2020 Miami International Film Festival. DIR Aeden O’Connor Agurcia; SCR Daniel Frañó Pereira; PROD Ana Isabel Martins Palacios. Honduras, 2019, color, 91 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia.

 

Guatemala

 

Special Presentation

LA LLORONA (2019)

With his third feature, Guatemalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante (IXCANUL, TEMBLORES) reimagines the classic Latin American tale of La Llorona, or “the Weeping Woman,” a mother condemned to wander the earth after drowning her children, bringing misfortune to all who cross her path. Shifting the ancient tale to contemporary Guatemala, within the context of recent Guatemalan history and the trauma of its decades-long civil war, Bustamante tells the story of General Enrique Monteverde, a once-ruthless commanding officer who is finally being brought to trial for his role in the genocidal massacre of thousands of indigenous Mayans in the early 1980s. When he’s acquitted on a technicality, his wife and daughter — along with as their faithful housekeeper and a mysterious new maid — bring Monteverde back to their opulent home, where demonstrators gather daily to demand retribution. As the angry protesters threaten to invade, Monteverde, his haughty wife, conflicted daughter and young granddaughter begin to hear and see strange and threatening things transpiring within the house. Reflecting the ongoing struggle to find justice for the victims of Guatemala’s civil war, LA LLORONA demonstrates that true horror lurks not in the imagination, or the supernatural, but in real-life atrocities that have yet to be fully redressed. Winner, Best Film (Venice Days), 2019 Venice Film Festival; Winner, Knight Marimbas Award, 2020 Miami International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Venice, Toronto, San Sebastián, London and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Jayro Bustamante; SCR Lisandro Sánchez; PROD Gustavo Matheu. Guatemala/France, 2019, color, 97 min. In Spanish, Kaqchikel and Ixil with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

OUR MOTHERS [NUESTRAS MADRES]

Winner of the Caméra d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Guatemalan filmmaker César Díaz’s startling feature debut weaves a tale that takes us from Guatemala’s traumatic past to a contemporary personal search for truth and justice. In 2018, just as the country is gripped by the trial of military officers accused of committing war crimes during the country’s 36-year civil war, we meet Ernesto (Armando Espitia, HELI, I CARRY YOU WITH ME), a young forensic anthropologist tasked with identifying missing victims of the war, which saw the genocide of more than 200,000 indigenous people. As the trials continue, the testimonies of those who survived pour into Ernesto’s organization. While documenting the account of a Mayan woman searching for the remains of her husband, Ernesto believes he might have found a lead that will guide him to his own father, a guerrillero who went missing during the war. As his work becomes increasingly personal, Ernesto flings himself, body and soul, into the case. Winner, Caméra d’Or and SACD Award, 2019 Cannes Film Festival; Winner, Silver Hugo, New Directors Competition, 2019 Chicago Film Festival; Winner, Best First Feature, 2020 Magritte Awards. Official Selection, 2019 Cannes, San Sebastián, Busan, Glasgow, Miami and Chicago film festivals. DIR/SCR César Díaz; PROD Delphine Schmit, Géraldine Sprimont. Belgium/Guatemala/France, 2019, color, 78 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Mexico

 

Special Presentation

IDENTIFYING FEATURES [SIN SEÑAS PARTICULARES]

It has been months since Magdalena has heard from her son after he left Guanajuato to go find work in the United States. Local authorities are pushing her to sign a death certificate, but she is not ready to give up hope. With the deck stacked against her, Magdalena journeys on her own across a beautiful and often dangerous Mexico. After some close calls, she runs into the recently deported Miguel, about the same age as her son and on a solo journey of his own. The two join forces to help each other find their missing loved ones and hopefully get closure once and for all. In her feature debut, writer-director Fernanda Valadez tackles the topic of the migrant crisis with this stunningly assured, lyrical thriller that expertly builds tension through the emotional journey of a mother who will stop at nothing to find her son. Winner, World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award and Best Screenplay, 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Official Selection, 2020 New Directors/New Films and Karlovy Vary film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Fernanda Valadez; SCR/PROD Astrid Rondero; PROD Jack Zagha Kababie, Yossy Zagha. Mexico/Spain, 2020, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Special Presentation

KOKOLOKO

In a small coastal Oaxacan town, Marisol is caught between two men: Mauro, her domineering cousin who has claimed her as his property, and the older would-be guerrilla Mundo, who works for Mauro in his body shop. Though Mundo and Marisol are in love, they always sneak around in secret, afraid word will get back to her possessive cousin. When Mundo is forced to flee to the United States, Mauro kidnaps his young cousin as she tries to covertly maintain a long-distance relationship over text and video chat. Full of menace and the looming threat of violence, the tragic love triangle gets truly Shakespearean when Mundo returns to save his young lover from her savage captor. The latest from director Gerardo Naranjo (MISS BALA) was shot on grainy 16mm Kodak film stock and in Academy ratio with bright colors that evoke his earlier experimental work (like the quirky I’M GONNA EXPLODE) and features powerful performances from the three leads, including an award-winning turn from Noé Hernández (SIN NOMBRE) as Mundo. Winner, Best Actor (Noé Hernández), International Narrative Competition, 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Gerardo Naranjo; PROD Gabriel Garcia Nava. Mexico, 2020, color, 105 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

FAUNA

Luisa (Luisa Pardo Úrias) is excited to introduce her family to her new boyfriend, Paco (Francisco Barreiro), an actor just like she is. Upon arriving at her parents’ house, they meet up with Luisa’s estranged brother, Gabino (Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez). From the get-go, Paco can’t catch a break, particularly from the male members of Luisa’s family. After a suitably awkward family dinner, the men retire to a local dive bar, where, at the insistence of Luisa’s father, Paco acts out an improvised scene as his character from the television show NARCOS: MEXICO — the very role that actor Francisco Barreiro plays in real life. This meta moment sets the tone for the narrative shift yet to come. After the drunken night out, Gabino and Luisa are catching up when Luisa asks about the book he is reading. As he describes the plot about a mysterious man who gets tangled up with a local drug kingpin, we see the scenes begin to play out on screen, with the core cast all taking on new roles in this story-within-the-story. Working with his usual crew of actors, Mexican-Canadian director Nicolás Pereda (SUMMER OF GOLIATH) crafts a sly comedic critique of the proliferation of narcoculture in contemporary Mexico and the violence that has come along with it. Official Selection, 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Nicolás Pereda. Mexico/Canada, 2020, color, 70 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Panama

 

U.S. Premiere

PANQUIACO

Cebaldo, an indigenous Dule man from Panama, works at a fishing port in northern Portugal, where he escapes his daily routine by retreating into his memories at night. Overcome by loneliness, he decides to make the trip back across the ocean to his village in Guna Yala, where a botanical doctor confronts him with the impossibility of returning to the past that he seeks. We see footage of traditional ceremonies and political uprisings, along with stories of various creation myths and the often-ignored history of the indigenous man Panquiaco, who showed 16th-century Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa the path from the Caribbean to the South Sea — now called the Pacific Ocean. While Balboa is credited with this “discovery” in Panamanian culture, Panquiaco remains largely unknown. This docu-narrative hybrid of the personal journey of a man seeking a spiritual, ancestral awakening reinvigorates this lost history through a melancholic metaphor. Director Ana Elena Tejera wonderfully captures the spirit of a people with this brightly colored, atmospheric debut feature. Official Selection, 2020 Rotterdam and Panama film festivals. DIR/SCR Ana Elena Tejera; PROD María Isabel Burnes. Panama/Portugal, 2020, color, 84 min. In Dulegaya, Portuguese and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Paraguay

 

U.S. Premiere

MORGUE (2019)

This smart and sassy micro-budget horror breakout from Paraguayan writer-director Hugo Cardozo was a massive box office hit in Paraguay, beating out both IT CHAPTER TWO and ANNABELLE COMES HOME to become the highest-grossing horror film of 2019. En route to his first shift as a security guard at the local hospital, Diego is involved in a hit-and-run, fleeing the scene for fear of being late to his new job. When Diego arrives at the hospital, the daytime security officer shows him the ropes before ending his shift, giving him a tour of the building that ends at the hospital morgue, where a newly-delivered corpse lies — one that Diego’s fellow guard says was killed in a car accident that very evening. Left alone for the night, Diego gets to work, trying to dismiss the thought that this corpse could be the pedestrian he left for dead. But as he walks the empty hallways, strange noises begin to unsettle Diego, and as the night progresses, he is increasingly tormented by his guilt…or something far more sinister. With an English-language remake already in works from screenwriter Eric Heisserer (ARRIVAL, BIRD BOX), MORGUE is a must-see for horror fans everywhere. DIR/SCR/PROD Hugo Cardozo. Paraguay, 2019, color, 81 min. In Spanish and Guarani with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Peru

 

LINA FROM LIMA [LINA DE LIMA]

Chilean documentarian María Paz González (HIJA, PROPAGANDA) skillfully moves into the fiction realm with this delightful musical comedy, which tackles serious issues with tongue-in-cheek humor and sparkling style. Lina (Magaly Solier, MAGALLANES, RETABLO) is a Peruvian migrant worker who left her home country 10 years ago to work as a housekeeper for a wealthy family in Chile. Living frugally, Lina has been able to earn enough to provide for her son Junior as he remained in Peru, growing into an adolescent in her absence. With the holiday season just around the corner (yes, this is kind of a Christmas movie!), Lina is preparing to return to Lima for a long-overdue visit. Just a few things stand in her way: Junior is insistent that she bring him an overpriced soccer jersey; her wealthy employer is just as insistent that she remain in Chile and oversee renovations while he enjoys the holidays; and the newly-installed pool is unexpectedly damaged under her watch, an expense she must incur without draining her bank account. Tired of being bound by everyone’s needs but her own, Lina copes in resourceful and inventive ways, navigating pitfalls and disappointments, but increasingly looking to reclaim her identity — a journey beautifully represented by the film’s rich musical daydreams, which fuse Peruvian folk traditions with a music-video aesthetic. This endearing comedy is both an unexpected spin on the musical and a timely examination of the realities of migrant labor and class inequity. Winner, New Direction Competition, 2020 Cleveland International Film Festival. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival. DIR/SCR María Paz González; PROD Maite Alberdi, Giancarlo Nasi,. Peru/Chile/Argentina, 2019, color, 83 min. In Spanish, Quechua and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Puerto Rico

 

MIGUELITO [MIGUELITO – CANTO A BORINQUEN]

In 1973, salsa tracks like “Payaso” and “Canto a Borínquen” could be heard on every radio station across Latin America. They were sung by an 11-year-old Puerto Rican salsero called Miguelito, who had been discovered by New York producer Harvey Averner at the San Juan airport and swiftly rose to fame — and just as quickly faded from view. Part mystery and part road movie, MIGUELITO journeys from Colombia to New York to Puerto Rico to find out what became of the young star, unearthing memories from the musicians he worked with, those who treasured his sole album for years and, ultimately, those closest to him. Featuring performances from Papo Lucca’s La Sonora Poncena, Nelson Feliciano, Maximo Torres, Malo Malo and many others, Sam Zubrycki’s joyful, thought-provoking film celebrates the musical depth of Puerto Rico, while revealing the forgotten story of one its brightest young talents. Official Selection, 2019 Cartagena and New York Latino film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Sam Zubrycki. Puerto Rico/Australia/Colombia, 2019, color, 94 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Special Presentation

LANDFALL (2020)

Executive-produced by Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR), this powerful documentary from Cecilia Aldorando (MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART) chronicles the aftermath of Hurricane Maria through glimpses of everyday life across Puerto Rico in the time since the hurricane abated and the gaze of the media turned elsewhere. Delving into both the history of the fraught relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and its current-day manifestations, Aldorando traverses the island to document the resilience of a community banding together to rebuild, taking things into their own hands after expectations of help from the contiguous United States faded away. At the same time, locals are understandably skeptical when real estate agents and American cryptocurrency entrepreneurs flock to the devastated island in search of a tax haven, passing off their interest in Puerto Rico as humanitarian and ecologically driven. A portrait of an island unfairly pummeled by increasingly dangerous climate conditions and corrupt bureaucracy, LANDFALL is also a love letter to the strength and adaptability of a people, as timely as it is inspiring. Official Selection, 2020 Tribeca, Hot Docs and Florida film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Cecilia Aldarondo; PROD Ines Hofmann Kanna. U.S., 2020, color, 91 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

 

Uruguay

 

Special Presentation

THE MONEYCHANGER [ASÍ HABLÓ EL CAMBISTA]

Uruguay in the 1970s had all the ingredients for shady dealings and get-rich-quick schemes: bankrupted institutions, a military government putting subversives behind bars and the rapidly devaluing currencies of neighboring countries Brazil and Argentina. This is where small-time money launderer Humberto Brause shines, sponsored by his father-in-law, a veteran in the business of capital flight. But as the deals keep getting bigger, Humberto finds himself in over his head, and the biggest job he has had so far could cost him his life. This offbeat comedic thriller from leading Uruguayan director Federico Veiroj (THE APOSTATE, BELMONTE) is a character study of a man you love to hate, played brilliantly by Daniel Hendler. Official Selection, 2019 Toronto, San Sebastián, New York, Chicago and Tallinn Black Nights film festivals; 2020 Rotterdam and Göteborg film festivals. DIR/SCR Federico Veiroj; SCR Arauco Hernández Holz, Martín Mauregui, from the novel by Juan Enrique Gruber; PROD Diego Robino, Santiago López Rodríguez. Uruguay/Argentina/Germany, 2019, color, 97 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

Venezuela

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENEZUELA

When filmmaker Anabel Rodríguez Ríos visits a remote floating village in Venezuela to see its mysterious lightning storms, she discovers another ongoing and alarming situation taking place. Congo Mirador was once a magical, thriving fishing community, built on stilts near Latin America’s biggest oil field, but as Venezuela has been spiraling into chaos and violence, the village itself is literally sinking from pollution and neglect — a prophetic reflection of the country itself. At the center of the village’s existential fight stand two female leaders: Mrs. Tamara, a Chavez-worshipping coordinator not above bribery and intimidation, and Natalie, a schoolteacher who is Mrs. Tamara’s most vocal critic. As confidence erodes under President Maduro and Venezuela is poised to become the site of 2020’s worst refugee crisis, outpacing the displacement in Syria, will the village find a way to stay afloat or will it become a political and ecological sacrifice? Shot over seven years, ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENEZUELA bears witness to the corrosive consequences of corruption and government neglect that reach the farthest corners, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a struggle for survival. Official Selection, 2020 Sundance, Miami, CPH:DOX and Hot Docs film festivals. DIR/SCR Anabel Rodríguez Ríos; PROD Sepp R. Brudermann. Venezuela/UK/Brazil/Austria, 2020, color, 99 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Please note: This title is available to viewers located anywhere in the United States and U.S. Territories.

 

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.

 

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, youtube.com/AFI, twitter.com/American Film and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

 

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