MSP Film Festival to showcase Latino voices

The fourth annual Cine Latino film festival aims to provide a layered perspective on Latino-American issues.

Maddy Folstein

The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul is harnessing the power of cinema to share Ibero-American experiences through its Cine Latino film festival, which runs from Nov. 11 to 17.

Now in its fourth installment, the festival weaves together films from Spanish and Portuguesespeaking countries, with a focus on Colombian cinema. The Society itself, however, has roots at the University of Minnesota.

“Our organization started on the University campus,” said Jesse Bishop, senior programmer for the Film Society and University alum. “[Cine Latino] is our fourth addition through an ongoing effort … to reach out to our newer immigrant population here in Minnesota and showcase the great work that is coming out of the Latino-American filmmakers.”

The festival is committed to showcasing a wide range of talents.

“This year we’re showing 10 films directed by women out of [29] films. We’re presenting 17 first or second features, [so] a little bit over 50 percent of the films are by the new talent of the region,” said Hebe Tabachnik, the festival’s artistic director.

Young audiences will also receive special attention from the festival through a series of events at Twin Cities schools.

“The highlights have always been showing films to younger audiences,” Tabachnik said. “Their amazement — it’s priceless … If they don’t like something, they also show it very loudly. I like the fact that we can ignite their imagination. We can inspire their dreams.”

Young audiences who attend the festival’s screenings will also have the opportunity to interact with filmmakers.

“You can literally interact with someone who has created this major piece of art,” Bishop said. “That’s one of the most enriching parts — being able to engage with filmmakers afterwards.”

When presented together, the Cine Latino films will provide nuanced, layered perspectives on issues facing Colombia and other Spanish-speaking countries.

“[We’re] covering different areas geographically and culturally in Colombia,” Tabachnik said. “It’s so diverse … You have the Afro-Colombian side and the Pacific side. The same thing can apply to the big [question] — ‘What is Latino?’”

“I think of film as a universal language to open up understanding,” Bishop said. “To put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to travel the world … all those things happen when you watch international cinema.”

In a world fraught with polarization, Tabachnik strongly believes in the power of film.

“They’re stories, and we need them,” Tabachnik said. “If we see anything with one color, life becomes very neutral, very narrow. It starts losing its power.”

What: Cine Latino Film Festival

When: November 11-17

Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, Metropolitan State University and the Parkway Theater

Cost: individual ticket prices vary from $5 (student rate) to $35 (opening night, general admission).