Robin Glynn – General Assignment Reporter –
The third annual Latino Film Festival is more than just about the films to Dr. Carlos Torre and Anna River-Alfaro; it is about engaging students of all ages to new things.
The festival will be showcasing a collection of full length and short films by independent and international Latino filmmakers.
“It is a great opportunity for the students to be engaged in something different,” said Rivera-Alfaro, accounts payable coordinator.
“Film is something people get around,” said Torre, an education professor. “I can reach students with quotes.”
Torre said he has been a film maker since he was 16. Last year, Torre said he heard someone say that people are too close to their culture.
“That comment blew me away,” said Torre.
On Tuesday, 150 New Haven students and school principals were invited, as well as New Haven Superintendent Reginald Mayo and New Haven Mayor John Destefano.
Torre and Alfaro said inviting children to the Film Festival is giving them the opportunity of thinking about going to college.
“It is a way to access our culture and topics,” said Torre, who is president of the New Haven Board of Education Curriculum Committee. “It is a way to expose children to college.”
Torre said inviting New Haven children to the Film Festival is part of the New Haven Promise; which is a scholarship and support program created to promote college education as an aspiration for all New Haven Public School students, assist graduating students from NHPS to pursue education after high school and enhance the growth, stability, and economic development of the City of New Haven.
“The money is there,” said Torre, “But is it not in their environment.”
This year, Torre said two films being shown are from Cuba, one being about a lesbian wedding. The festival kicked off with MALAS INTENCIONES, a story about a Peruvian girl with a vivid imagination, who convinces herself that she will die the day her brother is born.
Other films being shown include UNDOCUMENTED, an Ecuadorian living in New Jersey. According to the synopsis, the documentary promotes human rights by showing the plight of immigrants who live and work in the U.S. It tells the story of an immigrant named Lucia, who was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. with her parents when she was very young.
According to the synopsis, Canela is the story of Tere, the owner of a famous restaurant in Mexico City, who loses her passion for cooking after a tragic death in the family. Beatrix, the restaurant’s ambitious manager, is forced to hire a Cordon Bleu Chef educated in France in order to salvage the business. Chef Rosi introduces new dishes to the menu, trying to make it a light trendy cuisine, but a battle ensues between what’s fashionable and what’s traditional. This film is about food, family, and friendship, and director Jordi Mariscal instills a sense of vitality and hope in the lives of characters on the verge of emotional collapse.
Also, making its New England premiere, Topo Gigio is Dead is about two Chileans who meet in Philadelphia. Daniela is the daughter of a former political prisoner and Tomás is the son of the physician that tortured Daniela’s father. Contemplating revenge, she opens Pandora’s Box and discloses all about Tomas’ father’s dark past.
Torre said last year, three of the films shown were nominated for an Academy Award.