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SDLFF Pushing The Envelope

 September 18, 2020 at 11:30 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:01 Scene the curtain opens, revealing a beautiful garden with a swimming pool in a wealthy neighborhood in Santa Cruz, gala Sierra Bolivia. The morning light enters through a large window. Man stands in front of the suitcase in a red backpack. He's elegantly dressed in a suit and tie Speaker 2: 00:20 Scene. March 12th, 2020. Curtain is set to open on the 27th annual San Diego Latino film festival, but COVID-19 has other plans for the festival, California places, a ban on public gatherings of more than 250. And the festival has to cancel on its opening day. Speaker 1: 00:39 Fade out. Speaker 2: 00:45 Welcome back to another episode of listener supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast. I'm Beth Erica Mondo seen fade in September 17th, 2020 San Diego Latino film festival relaunches with a Fertrell edition. Today. I speak with organizers from the San Diego Latino film festival about the challenges of moving a festival online and about programming films in this new virtual landscape. First up is the festivals, founder and executive director. Ethan [inaudible]. I've known him for almost three decades and there's no one who's been more passionate or dedicated to bringing a diversity of voices to San Diego through film than he is. I'll also speak with exhibitions manager [inaudible] whose programming choices always delight, surprise and amaze me. The festival runs through September 27th with more But first I have to take one quick break and then I'll be back with my interviews with Ethan Vonte lo and Moisis Esparza Speaker 1: 01:57 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 02:01 Ethan, back in March, I was interviewing you about the start of your festival. And on the day you were supposed to launch the San Diego Latino film festival, California gave out the orders that all public gatherings of that size had to see. So how has this journey been to restaging the festival Speaker 1: 02:24 And been incredible flexibility is definitely the key flexibility innovation. Honestly, when we spoke back in March, uh, you know, I thought, you know, by summer we would have a good, you know, in person events would have started by then a good rhythm would have happened. We would have been having our educational programs and we were even talking about having the in-person film festival, but, you know, with this band dynamic, as we're all living through it every day, it's, something's different, right? Every day, a new change, a new announcement. And so we decided, yeah, it's best to have a virtual edition of our 20, 20, 20 San Diego Latino film festival. So yeah, September 17th of 2017, there'll be a virtual Latino film festival. The first one of our kind that said it was, we'd been doing virtual screenings and film screening since March with our digital gym cinema. So we've gotten used to it. Uh, and you know, we've got used to screening movies online and then also got used to the idea of this, uh, post screening Q and A's getting filmmakers engaged and audience members, uh, via social media sites like YouTube or Facebook. And that's actually been one of the high points of these past few months is engaging people virtually Speaker 3: 03:34 And having to delay the festival. How has that impacted your programming in terms of the kinds of films Speaker 1: 03:39 And you can show? Yeah. Yeah. So we thought it was just going to be easy, right? Just, Oh, we'll replicate exactly what we did in person in March and September, but no, the reality is as soon as he starts screening things online, there's issues like geoblocking, you can only screen certain films in certain cities or States or countries. So we can't screen certain films. Also these films have distributors obviously, and those distributors needed to move forward. And so the films are now maybe on Netflix or other platforms. And so, yeah, we've lost a good 30, 40 films, uh, which is amazing, uh, mostly features of course. Um, that said the curatorial team, we say send one of them an amazing job and pivoting and screening what we can. Uh, and then most importantly, to celebrate those films that we are screening, because those are the films that need distributed distribution, right? Those are the items that we should as local San Diego be supporting, uh, and try to get these more Latino voices, uh, in front of screens and more directors behind the cameras. So it's important that we support these independent, uh, and maybe smaller films, um, that we're screening at this upcoming festival. Speaker 3: 04:50 And what is the online experience going to be for people in terms of do all the films become available at one time, and then you get to choose when you watch them or do they become available at specific times during the scheduled festival? Speaker 1: 05:03 Yeah, so we wanted to recreate the festival environment, uh, with the virtual version of the sending of Latino film festivals. So it's like anything else you, this show time is seven o'clock, for example, or a certain Showtime. You have to see it. Um, do you have access to it about an hour before, but then you also have 24 hours to see it. However, we really want you to start watching it within that seven o'clock period or like an hour after the Showtime. So you get that experience. And so yes, every day, different showtimes, different film screenings. So you watch the movie and then also, um, the team has put together a wonderful collection of post Q and A's. So we'll have live streams, uh, question and answer sessions with the filmmakers and actors on most of the films. So to check that out too, so watch the film at the Showtime and then participate in a Q and a afterwards, just like you would do it in, in person. Speaker 3: 05:54 And you mentioned that you've had some time kind of get into this whole virtual world because digital gym cinema has been moving online and doing screenings. So do you feel that that has given you a little bit of a leg up on this and, and able to kind of package this a little better? Speaker 1: 06:13 Yeah. I mean, I think the film festival is, you know, we, what we've learned these past months, uh, in many, many ways, it's not necessarily about the ticket sales, right. Uh, we've learned as whole virtual world is very different than our in person model. Our whole business model is, uh, you know, upside down to be honest with you during this pandemic. And so for us, it's not necessarily about every ticket being sold. It's more about that engagement with all the filmmakers that are participating. We have, again, over 140 movies, different filmmakers actors that have made these wonderful films, it's about engaging them with local audiences. And so I'm really most excited about that live Q and a and virtual Q and a experience. Cause to me, that's been the most exciting thing to learn about these past few months is get engaged in people online because people still need that connection. Yeah, we want it to be in person, but for now it could be virtual and it's still really powerful. And I think what we've found is that these virtual Q and A's are, can be wonderful opportunities for people to engage with filmmakers. And especially with filmmakers that otherwise would not be able to travel here to San Diego. So we're going to have people from Mexico city and different parts of the country participating, which is a wonderful experience for our local residents here in San Diego or Baja, California region. Speaker 3: 07:26 We brought up digital Jim, and there's something that we haven't yet had to talk about, which is the fact that your physical space on alcohol Boulevard was forced to close. And for full disclosure, I've been screening films at digital gym for the past six years as part of film geek San Diego. So I was very sad to see the space closed because it was a really lovely, cozy venue for bringing people together to watch. Speaker 1: 07:51 Yeah, we had a wonderful 10 years at the, uh, digital cinema cinema space and North park. I mean, converted an old dilapidated building into this thriving movie theater community technology center that was reaching over 15,000 people a year was incredibly, um, what we had done these past few years. So yeah, our 10 year lease was up, um, anyways. And so it was, it was time for change and we have a great opportunities, but unfortunately we can't announce yet, but we will be moving downtown San Diego and we have a wonderful partner that will be making the official announcement soon and where we're heading. So we're right into a state of the art facility where we'll have classrooms, we'll have a movie theater. Um, so yeah, sad to see the North park location leave, but again, the lease was up and it was about change is needed anyways. And then of course we're during this pandemic, we can't screen movies anyways, or we can't have in class programs anyway. So it kinda made sense, Oh, well, we'll just wait until the 2021 when the new space is open, uh, and, uh, you know, have a big celebration when it happens. Speaker 3: 08:53 And when we had spoken back in the festival, because it had to cancel on the day, it was supposed to start, you were facing some serious financial issues. Uh, w how has that been recovering from that? Yeah, Speaker 1: 09:07 So, um, you know, uh, the festival was a shock, right? So we had put all this money into putting this festival and then boom, it just ended. And, you know, most people don't understand the importance of ticket sales or earned income. And so, yeah, when you can't bring in your earned income with ticket sales, that's a huge shock, uh, for an organization such as ourselves. Uh, thankfully though we have some vendors that allowed us to give us credit so we can use that credit for future film festival. So there's some vendors that are very supportive, uh, and then also thankfully that there were some loan programs that PPP loan helped us out. Um, and then also a small grants, the commission for arts and culture at a small brand supporting arts organizations, um, the California humanities, um, Kevin, the Academy of motion, picture arts and sciences had a, a surprise grant that helped us out or the past few months. So we've been able to get a kind of infusion of dollars to help us, uh, during this time, uh, you know, when we can't do in person events and we are, can sell tickets, which is such an important part of our business model for the past 27 years. Speaker 3: 10:16 And do you have any, uh, final words about the festival coming up? Speaker 1: 10:20 I just want to encourage everyone to come together during this, uh, 11 days, um, celebrate Latino culture, uh, celebrate Latino film, let's get together and talk about these movies. Talk about the issues in the movies, celebrate and support these filmmakers. Cause remember, uh, it's important to support independent artists and filmmakers during this time of crisis. Um, you know, they're the ones that we need to have, keep on creating movies. And so by buying a ticket, you're supporting distributors and supporting the artists themselves. And then maybe you just participate in, um, on the, um, the live Q and A's, you know, just encourages them to continue as artists during this difficult time. Speaker 3: 11:00 All right. Well, I want to thank you very much for talking about the San Diego Latino film festival, which is returning. Yay. Thank you very much. We'll see you at the festival that was Ethan Vonte lo founder and executive director of the San Diego Latino film festival. Now I speak with the festivals exhibitions manager. [inaudible] Moisis when I spoke to you back in March, the festival was about to kick off and you received notice that the last minute that because of COVID-19, the festival had to be canceled. So what has this process of postponing the festival and trying to remount it in a virtual world, been like for you? Speaker 1: 11:46 We felt like a bit of a scramble and a slog simultaneously. There's been a bit of a steep Speaker 4: 11:54 Learning curve. Um, but you know, we're excited that we are going to be able to screen, um, the films that we originally intended to screen in person, um, virtually, um, but the team is really motivated to put on an amazing, um, ad helm festival experience. Speaker 5: 12:14 And what have been some of the particular challenges of moving online in terms of getting the films you want and being, and being able to present them online and streaming? Speaker 4: 12:26 Yeah. So during in-person festivals, exclusivity is always an issue, um, premiere status. So I anticipated some of those roll over to this virtual experience. Um, and I was right on some of those, um, some studios and distributors do not want their films to be screened virtually they're waiting for an in person, um, theatrical release or festival, uh, presence, which I completely understand. Um, but you know, we did wait a couple months to decide whether or not we're going to go virtual or not. And in those couple of months, you know, a lot of things changed for, um, some of our films are changed for some of our films as released strategy. So we missed out on screening quite a few titles because they're already available on VOD or they're on a subscription based streaming platform. Um, so we lost, I would say about 30 features, um, since March, um, due to the changing landscape of distribution plants and also, um, preferences over in person versus streaming. Speaker 4: 13:37 Um, so that was definitely quite a bit of a challenge. Um, but you know, I'm excited that we were able to hold on to two thirds of our features programming and, uh, the news is even better for her short film, uh, sections, those remain largely unchanged except for a few titles that have gone on to, um, debut on HBO or other platforms. Um, so the features was where we took a larger hit. Um, but like I said, really thrilled that we have two thirds of her features to share with, uh, w w with, with everyone Speaker 5: 14:15 And does going online and having to kind of make these adjustments in some ways. Does it allow maybe smaller films and films that don't have distributors to maybe take the place of some of those bigger titles that you may have lost? Speaker 4: 14:30 Yeah, absolutely. I think losing some of these figure titles in you're, right in assuming that these were some of the bigger titles of her film festival, um, in the sense that they might've had, um, star presence or a famous director. Um, so I think the loss of those films has definitely given, um, some, our smaller films to kind of take the spotlight, which is, um, really exciting. And I think speaks really authentically to what a festival should be about highlighting, um, emergent filmmakers who may not have just dilution strategies in place or distribution for that matter. And they're really relying on festivals as sort of their, their lifeline, um, and in a way going virtual, it puts them almost on an even keel with the other films. Um, and one thing I love about the virtual experience is that it kind of does force audience members to go through the catalog on the website, very, very carefully to see what movies they're going to watch. Speaker 4: 15:37 So I do think that during the in person festival, people are looking for identifiers, as we all are. When we find movies, we recognize talent, we recognize directors, we recognize, you know, different things that appeal to us. Um, and we make really almost like snap judgment decisions on what to watch. Um, so there is something for everyone at our festival. It just takes a little bit of time to go through the catalog and identify those films, that appeal, um, uh, to specific individuals and in the process kind of reveal some of the gems that, you know, might've been obscured by, or, uh, eclipsed by other titles. Speaker 5: 16:16 And if anybody is familiar with attending the festival, you usually have programming broken down into sidebars. And is that kind of experience going to translate into the virtual world? Will there still be kind of these groupings of films that people can look to? Speaker 4: 16:34 Yes. So on our website, we separate or showcased by tags. So we divide our festival programming along different showcases, um, and within each showcases, there could be anywhere from three to 10 films. Um, and we do this for both our features and our short films. Um, so for example, if you're interested in from that other filmmakers, which is our local film sidebar, um, there's a tag option at the top of her film guide that lets you click on from that of filmmakers. And it filters out every other film except for different of films. Uh, so we've done that with all of our, uh, showcases. Um, so if you're into, um, horror films and Windex, Tonya would be a great filter for you to use if you're interested in LGBTQ plus films, um, the Somos sidebar would be a great filter option for you. Um, so I encourage people to pay attention to those tags because there's a kind of, those are kind of our way of, um, nudging people in the direction of interesting themes and topics that we think would appeal to them. Speaker 5: 17:48 And in programming films, sometimes as you're doing it each year, themes kind of arise overall for the festival. Did you notice anything this year in terms of trends or themes or anything that kind of had an overlay to the festival this year, Speaker 4: 18:06 You know, every year? Um, I do notice maybe themes or similar themes and disabilities among our movies this year. I think what was really captivated captivating were similar, um, visual motifs that I think indicate unrest and in a way revolution, let me see it in films like [inaudible] Emma, I'm from Chile where his protagonist centrally carries around a flame torture and lights thing, some fire in her city. Um, and it's meant to be not only destructive, but cathartic. Um, another fire motif is an identifying features or syncing a spectacle lattice, which is really beautiful film from Mexico about a woman who goes on on a search. Really it's really an Odyssey to find her son who has made the choice to cross over to the United States and in her journey, she has, um, this very existential experience with a fire being, and the film crosses over into the realm of maybe the fantastical for a bit. But I think in a way, or similar to melodramas where you have flourishes of, of, of color or music, um, to maybe act as, um, emotional catharsis of what's on screen, you definitely get that from the sequences where fire is, is, is utilized Speaker 5: 19:41 Well, not so much playing up on that visual motif, but on the sense of revolution, you actually have a documentary about Mexico in 1976. Speaker 4: 19:57 Yes. Um, [inaudible] is she, it's, it's a documentary that's so, so impressive and its scale and scope and composition, and it plays out like a thriller, you know, it's just so hard stopping every step of the way. And it's essentially about, um, a prison escape and what's perhaps considered, or I can create a close parallel to Mexico's own version of [inaudible] or Alcatraz prison in terms of disco where, and in Mexico that's a jail. And whether the Hata is the site where a lot of revolutionaries or, um, people who are advocating for change are imprisoned and they stage and escape. And, you know, it is such a stunning, real story. And the way the documentary is, you know, is, is put together is of the highest caliber. And it's essentially a fight for a fight for freedom and justice. Um, so it's a documentary that I really, really recommend. Speaker 5: 21:06 It really makes excellent use of archival materials because seeing some of these people today contrasted with what they were like as students was very striking and compelling, Speaker 4: 21:18 Absolutely. Whenever a documentary, um, has, has the resources to use the archival footage. It not only lends itself to authentic authenticating the story, but create really fascinating parallels between the past and present. Um, so you're right in saying that their archival footage is, you know, is really illuminating. And, you know, I think this documentary, I think, relies so heavily on it, uh, to tell its story and it does so incredibly successfully, um, instead of relying on a lot of talking heads, which, you know, doesn't make for the most visually stimulating viewing, um, and the archival footage of this documentary employees, um, is really, is really, really impressive. Speaker 5: 22:13 Well, I think there was one point at which they're looking through a photo album and it collects pictures of the people at different points in their life, and you see like three or four photos of a person and kind of how they visually look different to you. Just like there's a whole narrative just in a series of still images there. That was very impressive. Speaker 4: 22:36 Yeah, absolutely. And I think I'm the director, as I said, recently, Nova has such a keen eye for time and space, but also for letting still images in a way speak for themselves incorporated into the moving images. Um, and you really lets the still images tell, tell their own story, um, which, you know, is kind of an exercise in patience and understanding. And I think many times were caught up, caught up with the pacing of a film or the editing of film that sometimes these, um, still images are really, really impactful. Speaker 5: 23:17 And in talking about this sense of catharsis, there is a, a sidebar your, um, own window Strano, which tends to focus on horror. And there's a film in that called feral, which was amazing. And that kind of goes to a religious and a kind of psychoanalysis sense of catharsis and, and explores it in that kind of a realm that is Speaker 4: 23:46 Well such, uh, an impressive, um, horror film, um, that I'm so glad we're including in our festival this year. [inaudible] when you're watching it. It feels like a documentary, which, you know, I think really lends this tale, um, or really gives this, this, this film, um, a really strong sense of gravitas and an in its exploration of how oppression through the church and in being indoctrinated in religion, what that does to an individual, um, in this case, um, and the film is essentially about, um, a man who lives kind of on the outskirts in the countryside, um, of near a rural village in Mexico. And, um, he finds two feral kids in the woods and he takes them in and these kids are, are wild, you know, and they've never, um, received an education. They've never been indoctrinated in religion. Um, so you see the process of him trying to impose these things on these children who just refuse to respond in the way that he wants him to respond. Speaker 4: 25:25 And as the doc, I call them is called a documentary as the film goes on, um, you see the onion peeling back and you get to learn a little bit more about his backstory and then the role that the town plays in this larger mystery. Um, and oftentimes, um, these kind of, um, it plays a little bit like a found footage film. Um, and those can be, I think, a little bit disoriented, disoriented, and structured. Um, but Fidel is really tightly and beautifully composed that even though, you know, it has the feeling of a found footage documentary. It is a really tight, tight story, both narratively, but also visually Speaker 5: 26:08 One of the things I always appreciate about the Latino film festival is that as programmers, you guys really do look to films that can push the envelope and kind of push people a little, a little out of their comfort zone. And [inaudible] was a perfect example of kind of some of that programming. Are there other films you'd like to highlight from that? Speaker 4: 26:29 Yeah, so we are definitely envelope pushers. Um, at least I try to be with some of my programming selections. Um, I hope to push individuals to explore new sensibilities to different modalities. It's kind of like brought on their spectrum of what they perceive to be a good or acceptable film. Um, so one of those films that I think is boundary pushing, um, is called divine love. It's a pristine film by Gabriel Mascaro, um, who is a really talented director, also known for, uh, neon bull, which we screened, um, at the digital gym cinema a few, a few years ago. Um, but divine love also deals with the topic of religion and it does so in the places, religion, in the context of the, not so far into the future Brazil and how, um, religious oversell a Z in a way has taken over society and controlled every aspect of, of, um, of the way of life. Speaker 4: 27:38 And you see how that affects, um, a woman who works in a very bureaucratic environment who wants to get pregnant, but finds that the system that she, that she's living in, you know, is really prohibitive to her, um, achieving her goals and all that may not sound that boundary pushing an experimental. But when you start watching the film, you know, from the first few frames that you're going to see something like you've never seen before. And so this film is divine love and I highly highly recommend it. Um, um, but you know, it's a really impressive film from Gabriela Moscato. Speaker 5: 28:21 Well, I thought it was interesting because it's a science fiction film with religious overtones and kind of blends those two worlds in ways that are not necessarily what you expected. Speaker 4: 28:33 Yeah. The science fiction, um, style sellings of the films are, you know, they're a bit subdued. And I think the, the fact that the film is a base, um, in the near future Brazil kind of let's, let's the film, um, use perhaps some technology technological advancements that, you know, we foresee being a reality, um, in the future. And I think the film offers a pretty, um, bitey critique of what some of these advancements may do to us as a society. And ultimately, maybe the filmmakers trying to say that technological advancements and religious sellsy, perhaps are two things that are going to be in constant battle with one another. Speaker 5: 29:23 And just so people know that there are also films that are escapist fare kind of, and also just entertaining. There was one that I really enjoyed a picado original, which is it's like a romantic comedy, but with a little smarter edge to it than can sometimes get and, and, uh, a real sense, a savvy sense of, of humor and satire to it as well. Speaker 4: 29:49 Yeah. I got to tell you, I really love, uh, pick out what a Hino or original sin. Um, it strikes me almost as a comedy of manners, um, that, you know, just aren't maybe made that frequently anymore. Um, it has a slight screwball edge, which I definitely appreciate, and you're right in that it's accessible in its perhaps premise, but when you're watching it, it really does maybe push the boundaries of what a romantic comedy is and the modern era and the setup is, is in a way very simple. A, um, I would say a repressed woman hires, uh, an artist to paint a painting. And what she receives is not what is intended, but it is, it creates a bit of a awakening within her when she sees his painting and she, you know, becomes instantly attracted to the artist which leads to complications between her and her husband. And, um, throughout the film, you see what society is doing to protagonists in terms of setting up these patriarchal expectations of how a wife should behave. Um, and you see her in a way pushed back on all those expectations throughout the film. Um, so the gallery is just, you know, it's a lot of fun, but I think it's also very, very substantial and it's clever, um, and comical and, you know, very, very intellectual. Speaker 5: 31:26 Yeah, I agree. And you bring up the role of an artist here as kind of a, in this case, a bit unintentionally provoking a response, but you have a number of films in which art does help people either through catharsis or just, uh, as a means of expression in a number of the films that you've got this year. Speaker 4: 31:49 You know, I always hope that the films that we screened do inspire some sort of catharsis or awakening within our viewers. Um, the ones that we, that we've discussed definitely, um, have aspects of, uh, of this cathartic cathartic nature. And you see that throughout the documentaries and features, um, that we're screening and even short films. Um, another film called Seneca is about, uh, it's about an artist, an actor who's kind of in stasis or who's in pause. You know, he doesn't feel like his career is, is going anywhere. The film is [inaudible] based in New York. Um, uh, it tells him a very specific Puerto Rican experience that I think will really connect with the reviewers. And it's about an artist who may have lost their place in life and their career. Isn't where they hope it would be in our family life. Isn't where they would, they hoped it would be. Speaker 4: 32:54 Um, but through series of encounters, this artist pinchers the state of catharsis and the new stage of his life. Um, so in a way I think the cathartic nature of her films speak to what we're going or what we're going through as a society during these, uh, times of the pandemic, um, we're all at home, um, hopefully sheltering in place and staying healthy, but I think we're all seeking a cathartic catharsis. We're seeking, um, a reawakening or to be reborn back into society. And I think our films provide a perfect outlet for, for these times because you get to not only lose yourself in these narratives, but also maybe display some of your emotions or pent up emotions onto these characters and go on the journey with them. And hopefully that provides alleviation help that provides escapism and a reminder that, you know, there's, there's life beyond what we're experiencing right now, despite how restrictive it may be. Um, and you know, we're, as a festival, we're trying to stick with the times we're trying to stay with what's what's happening in society. Um, this at home experience we think will be the most safe for everyone. Um, and I hope that you invite us in to your homes and allow yourself to be entertained, to be moved and to be taking taken on these cathartic journeys. Speaker 5: 34:39 And one of the films that kind of addresses that a bit more overtly is, uh, I'm not sure I can pronounce the Spanish name, but I miss you in which a playwright is really examining the process of writing a play. And this one is cathartic in the sense of dealing with grief and loss. Speaker 4: 34:57 Art is the only light that tells the truth on that now. Yeah, that two way monks is one of the most complex and just impressive films that I seen at the festival in all my years of programming. Um, it is so unexpectedly moving. Um, I mean, not to overshare, but it moved me to tears. This movie is so connected to the experience of, of the characters, um, who one them is also, you know, the set up is in response to an oppressive environment. I think it's definitely a film that you should enter knowing very little about because the journey that you get taken on is, you know, unlike anything, you know, I think that we screened as a festival and there is a catharsis at the end, but then there, the rug gets pulled out from under you in the last few frames of the film. And you're kind of in a new disorienting place, which I think was perhaps the intention of, of the film, um, that things changed very quickly alive. And we have to learn to adapt to, to our new circumstances. Um, and that films to, uh, to my moms is so, so beautifully done. Um, and you know, I'm so excited that our audience is going to be able to see that movie Speaker 5: 36:33 And we haven't addressed documentaries, but you are showcasing some documentaries as well, including one on one of my favorite actors of the late Raul Julia. Speaker 4: 36:42 Yes. So we're screening, um, a documentary called RO Trulia, um, lives a stage, which is directed by then the, his SUSE. And he, well, he did such an MP created such an impressive portrait of, um, role Julio, um, an actor of Puerto Rican origin, who from New York city was a trailblazer in the theater scene and then on film, um, and whose acting skills were, are really, really unparalleled. And the feature, the feature documentary offers so much personal insight into Roe Julia. And, you know, I have to say that I came away very, very enlightening, and I thought, I knew a lot about relo Julia, but his documentary reveals an entire new or entire new layers of his persona and the impact that he had on not only Puerto Rican actors, but Latino and Latino actors of this generation and beyond. Um, so this portrait of Rhode Julia is truly, truly unmissable. Speaker 5: 37:57 Well, I want to thank you for sharing some of the films that are going to be at the festival. I am. So looking forward to seeing some of these and more, uh, let people know where they can find information about that. Speaker 4: 38:08 Yes, everyone can find information about our film festival, including the schedule and tickets. If they go to S D Latino, or you can find her information on our social media pages, where Latino film on Facebook and SD Latino film festival on Instagram. Speaker 5: 38:27 All right. Well, thank you very much and best of luck. Speaker 4: 38:30 Thank you. [inaudible] Speaker 2: 38:44 It was more or less as far as that exhibitions manager for the San Diego Latino film festival. The festival runs through September 27th online. Thanks for listening to another episode of listener supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast. Halloween is fast approaching and I'll have a special horror treat for you in October till our next film fix on backpack. Amando your residence. Speaker 6: 39:56 [inaudible].

The 27th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival streams its first virtual edition now through Sept. 27 and the film choices push the envelope in terms of diversity and cinematic styles. I speak with festival founder/executive director Ethan Van Thillo about the challenges of moving the event online and with exhibitions manager Moises Esparza about showcasing emerging filmmakers drawn to themes of unrest and revolution.

It's easy to program crowd pleasing films but the San Diego Latino Film Festival dares to ask audiences to step out of their comfort zone.

Anyone can program mainstream studio films or warm and fuzzy movies that assure viewers that everything is OK. But SDLFF exhibitions manager Moises Esparza seeks out films that challenge viewers, bend genres and ask difficult questions.

That's a tradition set by the festival's founder and executive director Ethan Van Thillo. During the festival's 27 years, Van Thillo has consistently highlighted the work of filmmakers like Arturo Ripstein (his latest film "El diablo entre las piernas" screens at this year's virtual SDLFF) who has frequently found his films banned or censored in Mexico. Van Thillo has also showcased cult oddities such as "Ship of Monsters" (1961) for small but adoring crowds.

This year the festival's Un Mundo Extraño sidebar, curated by Horrible Imaginings Film Festival's Miguel Rodriguez, will feature such crazy cult classics as "Santo contra Hombres Infernales" (1961) and "El fantasma del convento" (1934).

For this podcast I sit down with Van Thillo and Esparza to talk about the challenges of moving a festival online during COVID and the joys of programming the best of Latino cinema from around the globe.

Chile's "Ema" is one of the films that displays a visual motif or unrest and revolution at this year's San Diego Latino Film Festival.
Music Box Films
Chile's "Ema" is one of the films that displays a visual motif or unrest and revolution at this year's San Diego Latino Film Festival.