NFMLA Celebrates Films by Latino and Hispanic Filmmakers

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NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences celebrated a slate of acclaimed shorts by Latino and Hispanic filmmakers, including stories of a former mechanic hiding his son’s pain, a structure of playground bringing generations together and an ill-conceived puppet embarking on a journey of self-discovery.

The September program kicked off with the award-winning documentary At the Calle, which tells the story of Venezuelans struggling to reclaim their democracy. The program continued with the short film program A Day at Work, featuring films that explore work in meaningful ways. Next, the Generational Echoes short film program, with stories about the relationships between generations. The event ended with In Search of Self and Place, a program of short films about the pursuit of personal strength.

NFMLA presents films from filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion and the region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA festivals, regardless of InFocus lineup.

Here’s some background on the filmmakers and their films, along with their video interviews with NFMLA Board Chairman Danny De Lillo (Twitter/Instagram: @dannydelillo).

“Viral”, directed by Laura A. Martínez Hinojosa

About Laura: Laura A. Martínez Hinojosa holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Anahuác University. Her student short ‘Matilde’ won an award at the Euro Film Festival, earning her a scholarship for a Masters in Filmmaking from the European Business School. She has worked for several television series as an assistant director and through her video company, Katana Colectivo. She aspires to become a great director.

About “Viral”: Kika is a senior teenager who seeks to explore her sexuality – until her nude photographs are shared on the internet without her consent.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Laura A. Martinez Hinojosa, “Viral”:

“Lily

About Jimena: Jimena Muhlia is a multidisciplinary artist from Mexico City who now lives and works in Los Angeles. She began her development as a filmmaker in 2013 at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica. His short film “Evaporado” has been presented in several international film festivals such as FICM XV (Morelia), ShortFest (Palm Springs), New York Latino Film Festival (New York), ZlinFF (Czech Republic) and FEMCine (Chile). His film “La Caja China” (GIFF 2018, CineAutopsia, MIFTVmx) received the bronze medal at the World Stage Design Taipei in 2017.

About “Lily Five-year-old Lily prepares a party for her father while in the care of her cousin Teo, with whom she discusses the lack of a father figure as well as her own sense of individuality.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Jimena Muhliadirector of “Lily

“Finally”, directed by Lorena Gordon

About Lorena: Lorena Gordon is an award-winning writer-director from Queens, New York. The stories she most passionately wants to tell are those about the human condition, and that give a platform to Latinx, queer and disabled communities. She has directed, written and produced short films including “Times Like These” and “At Last”, starring Zack Gottsagen and George Lopez.

About “Finally”: A shy high school girl reveals her truth on the most important night of the year.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Lorena Gordondirector of “Finally”:

“El Triste”, directed by Manuel Del Valle

About Manual: Manuel Del Valle is a Mexican director and producer based in Los Angeles. It focuses on narrative work, mostly independent films, but extends to commercials and music videos. His early studies include ArtCenter College of Design, California College of the Arts, New York Film Academy, and HBO’s sponsored workshop Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today. His latest short films have been selected for the New York Latino Film Festival and HBO’s Urbanworld Film Festival.

About “El Triste”:

“El Triste”, an old rag doll-like puppet, begins his journey of self-acceptance and discovery to prove to himself and his fellow puppets that he is precious and worthy of admiration.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Manuel Del Valle, director of “El Triste”:

“A Heart Dies Twice”, directed by Itziar Martinez

About Itziar: Itziar Martinez is an artist with multiple hyphens who found happiness in creative expression from an early age. Whether traveling the world as a dancer, singing and writing songs for successful projects, or working as a photographer, she has always found storytelling to be her main passion. In 2015, she opened her production company, WOL Entertainment, where she co-produced and co-wrote her first feature film, “Nereus”. She made her directorial debut with “A Heart Dies Twice”.

About “A Heart Dies Twice”: On the run from a successful bank robbery, two amorous robbers hide in a motel room and celebrate their heist – until the truth comes out.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Itziar Martinezdirector of “A Heart Dies Twice”:

“Superstar”, directed by Daniel Larios

About Daniel: Daniel is a creative director, writer and producer based in Los Angeles. His second short film, “Memorama”, participated in festivals, including Oaxaca International, Paraguay International and ICARO International, where it received 2nd place for best short fiction film. His feature film script The Ambassador was a semi-finalist in the Scriptapalooza and Shore Scripts screenplay competitions. Daniel has also directed several plays and fashion shows.

About “Superstar”: Two Salvadoran women, one first-generation indie-pop singer and the other an immigrant in a Los Angeles nightclub bathroom, bond over their different issues and mutual love of music.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Daniel Lariosdirector of “Superstar”:

Back Then”, directed by Hernán Velit

About Hernan: Hernan Velit is a director born in Lima, Peru. “Posthumous”, his opera prima, won the Best Short Film award at the ProFiRe Short Film Festival in 2013 and was part of the official selection of several festivals. His second short film, “La huida silenciosa”, premiered at the 37th Havana International Latin American Film Festival in 2015 and won the Concurso Nacional de Cortometrajes del Ministerio Peruano de Cultura in 2016. His third short film , “El monopolio de la estupidez”, premiered at Kannibal Fest and won several festivals. His latest short film, “Back Then”, has been touring festivals since 2020.

About “Back Then”: Lucia and Jorge, both in their 40s, divorced and with one child each, had their first sex five months ago. One afternoon, in bed, they have their first conversation about who they are and where they come from.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Hernan Velitdirector of “Back Then”:

“Split Ends”, directed by María Alvarez

About Mary: María Alvarez is an internationally renowned Cuban-Dutch filmmaker. She graduated from USC with a BFA in Film and Television Production in May 2019. Her films have screened at dozens of festivals, such as the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival, won awards from institutions like Google and have been screened in museums like MoMA. His latest short film, “Split Ends”, a finalist for the Horizon 2021 award, premiered at the NALIP Latino Media Fest and the 2021 Cannes Film Festival at Court Métrage.

About “split ends”: A Cuban-American girl uses a school assignment to quiz her dad about his upbringing.

Watch the NFMLA interview with María Alvarez, director of “Split Ends”:

“Manos De Oro”, directed by Merced Elizondo

About Merced: Merced Elizondo is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Dallas. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016, Merced launched his career as a filmmaker working on several productions throughout Texas and served as a producer at AMS Pictures and DHD Films. Since then, he has devoted himself to independent cinema and is currently developing projects for short and feature films to be made. A writer at heart, Merced has a creative sensibility that leans toward dramatic storytelling. Merced is committed to character-driven stories that are cinematic, personal, and above all, original.

About “Manos De Oro”: After months of battling crippling arthritis, a former mechanic attempts to reclaim his identity as a worker with purpose.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Thank you Elizondo, director of “Manos De Oro”:

“The Ugliest”, directed by Victor Ridaura

About Victor: Victor Ridaura is a Slamdance Award-winning writer, a Ryan Murphy Television Directing Fellow, and a business executive with an MFA from the Peter Stark Production Program. His short narrative work has been screened at numerous festivals around the world. It received third place in the Slamdance Short Script Contest in 2019 and was a semi-finalist in the Screencraft Short Script Contest in 2018.

About “Ugliest”: A heartbreak story based on the songwriter’s first romance as an openly gay man.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Victor Ridaura, director of “The most ugly”:

“Rocket”, directed by Pedro Henrique Chaves

About Pedro: Pedro Henrique Chaves is a Brazilian actor and filmmaker who has written and directed five short films, which have screened around the world. His first short film, “Look Around”, won honorable mention for “First Time as Director” at the LA Film Awards. His most recent work, “Rocket,” which he wrote and directed when he was 17, premiered at the New York Latino Film Festival. “Rocket” also won him the prize for best student director at the Prague International Independent Film Festival.

About “Rocket”: In the heart of the city, a beloved play structure attracts thousands of people and brings together different generations. The challenge and courage of getting on and off the Rocket enchants a father and son, who have each played in the same place.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Pedro Henrique Chavesdirector of “Rocket”:

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