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Cine Gay showcase at San Diego Latino Film Festival

What started as a student exhibition- A Student Film Festival (Cine Estudiantil), has grown to become the internationally celebrated San Diego Latino Film Festival in its 15th anniversary edition, from March 6-16, 2008 at UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, presented this year by State Farm Insurance. Once again, the upcoming film festival will celebrate the diverse world of Latino Cinema and spotlight the best in Cine Gay. Media Arts Center San Diego’s 15th Anniversary San Diego Latino Film Festival, announces the following line-up of LGBT films at the March 6-16th edition.

Argentina is the festival’s focus country for this year’s film festival and we have an astonishing, critically acclaimed feature that explores the painful search for gender identity of a teenage who is born a hermaphrodite, and upon entering adolescence and is pressured by parents to “choose” an identity. Handled with great sensitivity, XXY by Lucia Puenzo, has won film accolades all over the world, including coveted awards at last year's Cannes Film Festival. The film was Argentina's Official Selection for 2008 Oscars. Stars acclaimed actor, Ricardo Darin.

"But I'm A Cheerleader" and "D.E.B.S." Director Jamie Babbit (US) returns with a romantic comedy with an edge; Itty Bitty Titty Committee, a lesbian rock and roll romp. Rising Latina star Melonie Diaz (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) stars as a young, shy all-American girl in search of herself as she pursues the woman of her dreams, a politically radical feminist. This non-profit female powered film was nominated for a Teddy Award in Berlinale, and grabbed the Jury Prize for Best Feature before tearing up countless gay and lesbian film festival audiences around the globe with its intelligent humor and punk rock sass. Also starring Guinevere Turner (Go Fish), Daniela Sea (The L Word), and Leslie Grossman (Running With Scissors). Melonie Diaz and Jamie Babbit are invited to attend the festival.

An audience favorite throughout Spain s film festival circuit and most recently Australia's Marti Gras, Spinnin’ (Spain). This art house film is a first from Spain as it positively explores a modern gay couple's thoughts on having a child together. The film's universal themes of family and love are humorously celebrated as the audience is treated to 101 kisses as this entirely independent film spins its unique inter-related stories. The collaborative creators of the film, The Human Bean Band, are scheduled to appear.

El Lugar Sin Límites/Hell Has No Limits is Arturo Ripstein's 1978 classic groundbreaking classic Mexican film based on the international best selling novel by Chilean José Donoso, is about an aging transvestite who lives in a brothel run by his daughter. The film's frank dealing with homosexuality was decades ahead of its time. A bittersweet dissection of machismo and homophobia in Latin America, Arturo Ripstein won the Golden Ariel Award from the Academy Awards of Mexico, with Roberto Cobo receiving the Silver Ariel for Best Actor for his portrayal of La Manuela. Arturo Ripstein will be in attendance at this year’s festival along with his most recent film El Carnaval de Sodoma.

Among the films in our Cine Gay short film program are two astonishing documentaries. Cowboys Forever (Brazil/France) from Director Jean-Baptiste Erreca takes us on a journey through the southern dense forests of Brazil with two real world young, handsome gauchos (cowboys) as they explore the meaning of friendship and tolerance.

The second one, Les travestis pleurent aussi/Transvestites Also Cry (Ecuador/ France) is a U.S. PREMIERE: The life of Ecuadorian and Latin transexual immigrants working as prostitutes in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris is explored in this honest, forthright documentary that captivated audiences at the 2007 Habana Film Festival. "One shouldn't use the word poignant too often, but sometimes it's inevitable." Francis Cornu, from LE MONDE.

Other films with LGBT content that may be of interest to members of the community, include O Pai, O, directed by Monique Gardenberg. The film follows the inhabitants in the tenement housing district of Pelourinho, in the heart of Salvador, on the last day of the Brazilian carnival. Between their lack of money and their desire for having more, they learn to survive by using creativity, irony, sensuality and music.

Starts in this film Lázaro Ramos, who besides having a huge fan base in his home country of Brazil, he is considered the best actor of his generation appearing on stage, television and film. International his probably most remembered for his 2003 performance in Madame Satã though he has over 12 Best Actor Awards under his belt for his performance in a mere 25 films. Last Fall, the San Diego Latino Film Festival brought to San Diego his film, Lower City.

Supernatural events frighten the residents of an all-girls’ psychiatric hospital in Hasta el Viento Tiene Miedo (Mexico), a modern re-imagination of a 1968 Mexican classic horror film starring Martha Higareda and Danny Perea (Duck Season). For fans of the original film, look for Alicia Bonet, the heroine of the original film, and now playing the role of the main character’s mother.

Onde Andara Dulce Veiga (Brazil) is a film based on the international bestselling mystery by Caio Fernando Abreu. A journalist is haunted by images of a beautiful singer/actress who mysteriously disappeared years ago and becomes obsessed with her daughter, a rising punk rock celebrity. It is a stunning “neon-realistic” film by the internationally awarded Director Guilherme de Almeida Prado. Expect odd appearances of glamorous movie stars, punk Lesbians, and an occasional man in a bad wig in this modern noir.

In an effort to restore fading classics from Mexican Cinema, two 1950’s cult Sci-Fi classics, La Nave de los Monstruos (Ship of Monsters) and El Planeta de las mujeres invasoras (Planet of the Women Invaders) have been restored to glorious black and white. Both films star Lorena Velazquez, who reigned as the quintessential vamp of B Movies for nearly three decades. Think Zsa Zsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space and you’ll quickly get the mood of these bathing-suit clad women-as-aliens films; complete with ridiculous looking monsters, singing cowboys, evil queens bent on taking over the Earth, and of course, a love story to set things right. Both films are great fun as late night gems or Saturday afternoon matinees.

Sponsors for San Diego Latino Film Festival ‘08 include Bank of America, State Farm Insurance, Southwest Airlines, City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, County of San Diego, Nickelodeon, Macy’s, CVS Pharmacy, Latino Public Broadcasting, California State University San Marcos, EXY Chic Greek Restaurant, Univision KBNT 17, Telemundo 33, Uniradio Group (Pulsar, La Invasora), Riviera Magazine, El Latino Newspaper, El Mexicano, El Sol de San Diego, San Diego Union-Tribune, Nostika Magazine, Enlace,, Magic 92.5, Radio Latina, Brazilian Pacific Times, NBC 7/39, Mi San Diego, Gente Bien Magazine, Azucar Entertainment, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sauza Tequila, and Azteca America San Diego.


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