AFI Fest 2020 Pays Tribute to Rita Moreno and Global Latinx Films

AFI Fest BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of fest.afi.com

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced festivals to adapt to a virtual model of broadcasting, this year’s AFI FEST (October 15 -22) is the perfect opportunity to watch the industry’s best movies featuring Latinx and Latin American talent from the comfort of your home. 

Traditionally held in Hollywood, the American Film Institute Festival is now an eight-day-online event, but structured the same as their in-person festivals, with new films and events scheduled each day. This year this prestigious festival of new voices and master filmmakers worldwide will also be paying tribute to none other than the legendary Rita Moreno.

“Latinx filmmakers have always been influential artists in cinema. Being in Los Angeles, AFI FEST’s audience is composed of different international audiences, and we are committed to keeping a high standard of programming. That standard would not be met without showcasing the rich films made by the Latinx community,” Sarah Harris, AFI Festival’s Director of Programming, told BELatina.

AFI FEST is committed to supporting diverse perspectives and new voices in cinema and its lineup which features 124 titles, 53% of which were directed by women, 39% of which were directed by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and 17% directed by LBGTQ people, is a pleasant divergence from the disappointment at this year’s Oscars and Golden Globes for their lack of diversity. 

“I’m so proud to recommend AFI FEST’s stellar Latino film lineup this year, which includes the powerful and urgent Mexican socio-political thriller New Order (Nuevo Orden), Tragic Jungle (Selva Trágica) an intriguing Mexican-Colombian co-production about the tentacles of colonialism set in the Mayan jungle, the deliciously clever Argentine horror hybrid The Intruder (El Prófugo) as well as a haunting spiritual journey starring many indigenous actors in Piedra Sola, also from Argentina, and the beautifully passionate love story and resonant immigration saga from Mexico, I Carry You With Me (Te Llevo Conmigo),” said AFI FEST Senior Programmer Claudia Puig. 

Whether behind or in front of the camera, the festival will also showcase several short films from Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, providing a rich and varied sampling of Latinx talent.  You can vote on the movie you love, watch Q&As with the directors and actors, and you will have 48 hours to begin watching the film of your choice and then 48 hours to conclude viewing. 

Just be sure to pre-order because a limited number of passes and tickets (around $8) are available for purchase.  Below you can find viewing information from the festival organizers about each film. 

NEW ORDER (NUEVO ORDEN)

Available beginning October 16, 12:00 p.m. PDT for 48 hours to view upon unlock.

This unflinching, provocative, and riveting socio-political thriller depicts society at a terrifying breaking point. Class warfare has erupted into widespread chaotic violence in this essential story of an attempted overthrow of the privileged ruling class in contemporary Mexico City. 

The repercussions of colonialism, a vast imbalance of power, and massive income inequality have sparked the uprising, symbolized here by the clash of wealthy white wedding guests with the brown-skinned staff that serves them. This is an urgent, timely, and believably dystopian depiction of a coup d’état that is unsparing and unsettling. 

Mexican writer-director Michel Franco brilliantly sets up the wealthy and privileged insufferably casual ease and then shatters it powerfully. Women and children of all classes seem to suffer the most collateral damage in this nuanced, harrowing, and thoroughly relevant film. 

Director: Michel Franco

Script: Michel Franco

Cast: Naian González Norvind, Diego Boneta, Mónica del Carmen, Fernando Cuautle, Darío Yazbek, Eligio Meléndez.

Country: México. 

THE INTRUDER

Available beginning October 16, 12:00 p.m. PDT for 48 hours to view upon unlock.

A would-be relaxing holiday for overworked voice actor Inés is cut short by an unexpected horror. As she attempts to readjust to her former routine, her sense of reality becomes increasingly precarious. Unceasing nightmares are impossible to shake, bleeding into the daylight. At work, her recording sessions are invaded by strange sounds, unlocatable and possibly emanating from deep within her body, as if a manifestation of her inner demons. Anchored by an unforgettable central performance from Érica Rivas (The Sleepwalkers, Wild Tales) who, with Inés, has created yet another complex and layered character amid unearthly chaos, this impressive sophomore feature from Argentinian director Natalia Meta is an excitingly original entry into the psychosexual thriller canon. 

Director: Natalia Meta.

Script: Natalia Meta.

Cast: Érica Rivas, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Cecilia Roth, Daniel Hendler.

Country: Argentina, Mexico.

TRAGIC JUNGLE (SELVA TRÁGICA)

Available beginning October 17, 12:00 p.m. PDT for 48 hours to view upon unlock.

A Belizean woman desperately trying to get away from a white British landowner heads deep into the Mayan rainforest, but will her presence awaken a mythical spirit, Xtabay, who seeks revenge on those who have harmed the land? 

Director: Yulene Olaizola.

Script: Rubén Imaz, Yulene Olaizola.

Cast: Indira Andrewin, Gilberto Barraza, Mariano Tun Xool, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Eligio Meléndez.

Country: Mexico, France, Colombia

A TRIBUTE TO RITA MORENO

Live on October 20, 5:00 p.m. PDT with recording available to view until October 22, 11:59 p.m. PDT

Rita Moreno’s career began with a Broadway debut at 13 years old. Since then, she has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy  as well as a Peabody Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. 

Moreno has also been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. Moreno received an Honorary Degree from the AFI Conservatory in 2016. 

Her latest work includes co-starring and serving as Executive Producer in the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, scheduled for release summer of 2021, and starring in the popular Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day At A Time, free for those that register for a ticket at Rita Moreno Tribute.

PIEDRA SOLA

Available beginning October 20, 12:00 p.m. PDT for 48 hours to view upon unlock.

In the remote Argentinian mountainside, a llama herder whose stock is being annihilated by an unseen puma must embark upon a spiritual journey to present the puma with an offering. 

Director: Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf.

Script: Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf, Lucas Distefano.

Cast: Ricardo Tolaba, Lucia Bautista, Mayco Tolaba, Gregorio Ramos.

Country: Argentina.

I CARRY YOU WITH ME

Available beginning October 20, 12:00 p.m. PDT for 48 hours to view upon unlock.

Director Heidi Ewing cleverly blends fictional characters with their real-life counterparts in this artful love story that spans decades, crosses borders, and artfully weaves in a poignant commentary on immigration, injustice, and homophobia. 

Director: Heidi Ewing.

Script: Heidi Ewing, Alan Page Arriaga.

Cast: Armando Espitia, Christian Vázquez, Michelle Rodríguez, Ángeles Cruz, Raúl Briones, Arcelia Ramírez.

Country: Mexico, USA.