The Cine Las Americas International Film Festival has continued annually in Austin and is one that, despite the challenges non-profits face, is always full of feature film premieres. One of the longest-running cultural events devoted to Latino and Indigenous films and filmmakers, Cine Las Americas achieves an important benchmark this year, presenting its 20th annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival from Wednesday, May 3 to Sunday, May 7.
The festival showcases contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films and videos made by or about Latinxs in the U.S. or the rest of the world, as well as films and videos by or about Indigenous groups of the Americas are also invited to participate. This year the festival will be kicked off with a presentation of “Me Estás Matando Susana” from Mexico, starring Gael García Bernal and directed by Roberto Sneider. This film will be presented at the Blanton Museum of Art, one of the partnership venues this year.
Additional partnership venues include The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and the Santa Cruz Center for Culture. The festival will once again offer narrative and documentary feature and short films, as well as music videos and experimental and animation selections, in competitive and non-competitive sections. A total of 11 award winners will be announced, including the Hecho en Tejas Awards and the Audience Award for Best “Emergencia” Youth Film. There is a list of films and the filmmakers available to browse and the full line up and schedule will be available here.
Film festival director Jean Anne Lauer leads the coordination of this year’s film presentations and special events.
“Each year, Cine Las Americas’ program reflects the complexity of contemporary life across the hemisphere and in diaspora, from diverse points of view and through innovative stylistic choices,” Lauer said. “We feature new trends and emerging talent in film and media arts, along with showcasing work by established masters. Our commitment to diversity and excellence in programming is supported by a number of partners, including Ambulante, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and the Austin-based organizations Latinitas and Austin Music Video Festival. New this year is a co-presentation with Experimental Response Cinema of contemporary Cuban videos. These partnerships enhance Cine Las Americas’ core mission of creating spaces for cross-cultural interaction and understanding.”
Today, CLA remains committed to what founders Lara Coger and Celeste Quesada (née Serna Williams) began, showcasing Latino independent films and filmmakers. It has grown to highlight films from all of the Americas, including from diverse Native American and LGBTQ+ communities.
In 2016, the festival screened 38 feature films, 61 short films, and 16 music videos representing over 24 countries. In its history, Cine Las Americas has presented more than 2,000 films in Austin and at various screenings across the state of Texas, becoming one of the most prestigious Latino film organizations in the country. For more information on attending the festival and for updates on screening schedules, visit www.cinelasamericas.org.