"Shut Up and Do It" SELLS OUT in Cinemafest Puerto Rico

One of our NYILFF 07 Domestic premires, "Shut Up and Do It" from director Bruno Irizarry, sold out in Cinemafest Puerto Rico last week:

"After a "sold out" first screening in Puerto Rico's San Juan Cinemafest, tickets sale for the final screening on Wednesday of SHUT UP AND DO IT! began to immediately heat up. "This is a great homecoming," stated Bruno Irizzary, who left Puerto Rico to pursue a career in acting in New York. "Just like the character in the movie I too, decided to "just shut up and do my own movie," I was sick and tired of being put into stereo types, and here I am returning to Puerto Rico after 18 years with my first feature film." Bruno is also the lead in the film, wrote, produced, and co-directed the film as well. Accompanying Bruno at the screening were cast members, Monica Steur, Darlene Vazquetelles, co-director; Veronica Caicedo and International recording artist CHELO, who's songs are featured in the movie, were also present. "This is the first time my music has been in a movie. It was a great feeling, the audience really seemed to enjoy it. I am looking forward to being involved in other movies in the near future."

-courtesy of Latin Cinema Showcase

Congrats to Bruno Irizarry, Veronica Caicedo and their Cast & Crew!

NYILFF On Facebook!

Hey Everyone, the New York International Latino Film Festival has a presence of facebook.


Also, Cinedulce has also joined the facebook masses:

Find Us and Friend Us!


NYILFF Alumni on American Latino TV

Bruno Irizarry who was fed up with stereotypical Latino roles in film and TV and directed his own movie, "Shut up and Do it


New York - WWOR My9 Sundays @ 4:00 PM
Chicago*** - WPWR My 50 Sunday @ 2:30 PM
Los Angeles - KABC Saturday nights @ 1:00 AM / Sundays @ 4:00 PM (check listings)
San Francisco - KTVU FOX 2 Saturdays @ 2:30 PM/ KICU TV36 Sundays @ 12 PM
Houston - KTXH My20 Sundays @ 10:30 AM
Corpus Christi - KZTV CBS 33 Late Night Sundays @ 1 AM
Go to for a complete listing and more info.

New Latino Filmmakers to Watch

New York City is great in that being a melting pot of so many different immigrant and minority communities, the city often gives rise to new and exciting cultural movements that eventually have an impact upon America’s mainstream consciousness.

I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t even been aware of the existence of the NY International Latino Film Festival until late last year (the festival is now in its eighth year). Because smaller, regional, and often less prestigious film festivals often beget mixed results-- many of which are not always a pleasure to watch-- I wondered what caliber of work to expect from this particular venue. Moreover, despite the fact that I was a Spanish major in college, I unfortunately hadn’t been tapped into the Latino film scene for quite some time-- even less so that of the indie movement that has been burgeoning amongst the Latino film community in New York for the last few years. My only clue as to what the festival might hold was a little gem-- written, produced, and directed by my friend Tony Valles and his brother Jaime-- called, Casi Casi, which had had its New York premiere at the NYILFF back in the summer of 2006.

A light-hearted, teen-caper comedy, Casi Casi is neither representative of nor does it go against any of the current trends in Puerto Rican cinema, namely because up until this point, there really hadn’t been a significant body Puerto Rican cinema of which to speak. Until the Valles brothers’ project came along, the Puerto Rican film industry had been mostly limited to producing just a handful of politically-driven and moralistic films each year. Meanwhile, Tony and Jaime, both children of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, grew up watching such American teen cult classics as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club. Determined to make up for the glaring absence of the teen comedy genre in Puerto Rican cinema, Tony and Jaime set out in 2005 to make their own movie, which would speak to Puerto Rican youth. And indeed, this little indie hit about the misadventures of a group of middle-class, Puerto Rican teens trying to escape the wrath of their formidable principal has proven to appeal to audiences across all age groups. The film was an official selection of numerous Latino film festivals throughout the United States in 2006, including the San Diego Latino Film Festival, where Casi Casi won the Audience Award. In October of 2007, the movie aired on the HBO Latino channel and was subsequently kept on HBO’s regular roster of rotating On-Demand films for a number of weeks.

I first viewed Casi Casi on DVD in the privacy of my own home. While the film isn’t necessarily the most complex stylistically or compositionally (its set-design and mis en scene are pretty bare bones) it nonetheless boasts a smartly-written script, fairly polished and fluid editing, and features a cast of winning, young, first-time actors whose exuberance emanates through every frame. The directors also cast an affectionate gaze upon the lovely city of San Juan, where both Tony and Jaime grew up. Impressive is the fact that Casi Casi was the directors’ first foray into filmmaking ever. (The Valles brothers come from a theatrical and operatic background.) In fact, neither Tony nor Jaime had ever even operated any of the equipment they used to film and edit their project until a scant few weeks before production began (talk about DIY!). Thus, their achievement has been all the more extraordinary given the film’s relatively widespread mainstream success-- a boon to all native Puerto Rican filmmakers for whom exposure is highly coveted yet has often been elusive.

This year, I was able to attend a few programs at the NYILFF and found myself continually surprised by the level of passion, originality of vision, and production values of so many of the films there. No small feat, considering that the majority of works I caught were shorts. Indeed, based solely upon the caliber of talent on display at this year's festival, there can be no mistake that Latino filmmakers working in the U.S. are currently on the rise. Even more compelling still is the overwhelming sense of community that seems to pervade the scene, an esprit de corps that explains why so many of the directors at every screening seemed to know one another. It soon became apparent that many in attendance at the festival had at one point or another worked on another director's crew, or at the very least had worked with several of the same actors. One very much got the feeling that the NY-based Latino film community is not only a network of business associates, but is in fact a space in which artists who share a common language and diaspora are able to share in a specific cultural dialogue that perpetuates artistic growth.

The first film I saw was second-time director Nestor Miranda’s feature comedy, The Startup. A bit of a mad-cap, screwball affair, The Startup is at its core a story about the coming of age-- via one of the worst thought-out sociological experiments ever. In an attempt to finally strike out on their own, three bumbling friends from Queens set up house in a ramshackle brownstone in Harlem, only to realize too late that their limited financial resources won’t be nearly enough to cover the bills. Ben (played by Rafael Sardina), the most responsible and only one of the trio who is actually employed, leaves on a business trip and returns a week later to find that things in the house have changed. A lot. In order to generate a source of income, Ben’s friends Will (Ramon Rodriguez) and Rick (Steven Leon) have turned their house into an international youth hostel-- for which they have no license, no staff, no experience, and no apparent sense of responsibility. Despite his initial misgivings, Ben quietly agrees to let his friends continue renting out beds when he sees how profitable the ill-conceived venture might be. But what neither he nor his friends are prepared for is just how involved running a legitimate business (even one without a license) can be. Things only become more complicated when a young boy named Reymond (played by the irrepressible Reymond Witmann) is abandoned at the hostel by his negligent mother.

The Startup doesn’t claim to be any more than what it intends to be-- that is, indulgently silly and playful entertainment. Considering how the recently christened “mumblecore” movement-- which is partially yet ostensibly characterized by its predominantly white, middle-class casts-- has so inundated the indie film scene with angst-ridden, overly-serious, sometimes overly pretentious films about twenty-somethings trying to “find their way,” it’s refreshing to see a film about the quarter-life experience told from a different perspective (one that is more spontaneously comical at that). The Startup has no aspirations of social weight other than by virtue of the fact that it is performed entirely by an all-minority cast and was made entirely outside of the Hollywood system. This is not to say that the film is without its flaws: with three main characters-- each with his own individual storyline to develop-- and all the zany antics of new characters who are constantly being introduced, Miranda at times lets the structure of the film slip, lapsing into moments that are neither crucial to the plot, nor are they always that funny. Nevertheless, the film’s immensely likable cast prove to be the film’s greatest assets, without whom our suspension of belief would be impossible. (The Startup’s real breakout stars are Rodriguez and Aro Sanchez, both of whom turn out energetic and endearing performances.)

The second film worth mentioning is “Hero the Great,” a short that might be considered The Startup’s sister film if only because its writer/director, Juan Caceres, served on the producing team for the latter project. In “Hero,” our attention is focused solely upon the daily travails of a young boy living with his maternal grandmother in what looks to be the Lower East Side. The milieu and concept behind the film may be somewhat reminiscent of the 2002 feature flick, Raising Victor Vargas; but the tone, look, and sensibility of Caceres’ work are most assuredly and delightfully original. Whereas Raising Victor Vargas revolves around a teenager blossoming into adulthood, “Hero the Great” is very much about that stage in between adolescence and childhood, when children are only beginning to become aware of themselves as self-realized individuals, yet are still very much children in that they retain their sense of innocence and play. Furthermore, Caceres’ visual style is decidedly rich, drawing from such influences as disparate as Francois Truffaut, Michel Gondry, and Spike Lee. The director does an extraordinary job directing his actors: Dennis Torres, who is mature beyond his years in the title role, and once again Reymond Witmann, this time re-incarnated as Hero’s rather puckish, cheeky side-kick, Biscuit. Together, this modern-day Quijote and Panza run, skip, skate, and skulk through Caceres’ verité-styled digital lens and emerge onto the screen as beautifully idiosyncratic, entertaining, and poignantly drawn characters. The film is not so much plot-driven as it is a uniquely rendered portrait of an old soul filtered through the eyes of youth.

Finally, while the majority of other shorts at the festival were all competently made, only one other film truly captured my attention with its brutally visceral visual style and a message as thought-provoking as it is emotionally affecting. Shot on location in black and white 35mm and using non-professional actors, “Primera Comunión” ("First Communion") focuses upon the desperation of a young boy, Eleuterio, and his suffering as the result of society’s capacity for negligence, cruelty, and religious hypocrisy. At the film’s outset, we are immediately plunged into the final moments of Eleuterio’s young life, a frenetically cut montage of images showing the boy lying on the ground, struggling to breathe, interspersed with memories of his family members, both alive and dead. The rest of the film is one long, neo-realistically shot flashback sequence, detailing Eleuterio’s day to day efforts to steal and beg in order to survive. In a mere fifteen minutes, we are able to grasp the totality of Eleuterio’s simple life, comprised mostly of a series of encounters with fellow denizens in his rural Mexican village, as well as the tragic pointlessness of his imminent demise when the film posits the question: who is really to blame for the boy’s hapless fate? Those who would wield a knife against him in order to better their own situation? Or those bystanders (specifically members of the Catholic church) who would deign to lift a finger in order to save him? The director chooses to magnify the film’s dramatic impact by having his principal characters played by children, lending to the final scenes in which Eleuterio is both assaulted and ignored by his peers a categorically chilling effect. Written and directed by Daniel Eduvijes Carrera, a graduate of Columbia's filmmaking program, “Primera Comunión” is one of those rare cinematic debuts which heralds to the world the arrival of an exciting new talent.



The 2007 24fps Official Jury Awards Are Revealed

Twenty-two Official Selection short films were in competition during the fest, which presented work from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan and Spain.

The festival’s Horizon Award for most promising filmmaker was given to Brooklyn, New York filmmaker Yuri Alves, whose brutal “Chronicles of a Hitman,” was a jury and audience favorite. “Chronicles,” shot as a modern film noir, follows the collision between a professional hitman, a group of assassins trying to find him, and an innocent woman. Alves, a recent graduate of New Jersey City University, was given the award by the jury whose official citation read: “This young filmmaker has everything it takes to succeed in the film industry. His extraordinary visual sense and emotional maturity elevated his work above very strong competition.

Best Action Film
Director: Reynier Molenaar

Best Sound Editing/Foley
Editor: Reynier Molenaar

Latinos in Cinema

Check out the latest films in theatres with Latino actors:

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.

STARRING: Javier Bardem

In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East in the midst of the Vietnam War.

FEATURING: John Ortiz ("El Cantante", "Carlito's Way")

Florentino (Bardem), rejected by the beautiful Fermina (Mezzogiorno) at a young age, devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart.

STARRING: Javier Bardem, John Leguizamo, and Benjamin Bratt

A New York nightclub manager tries to save his brother and father from Russian mafia hit men.

STARRING: Eva Mendes

An international soccer star is on his way to sign a multi-million dollar contract when something happens that brings his career to an abrupt end.

STARRING: Eduardo Verástegui, Ramon Rodriguez, and Manny Perez

Calle 13 to appear in film

Rene Perez, also known as "Residente" from the reggaeton duo, Calle 13, is going to be partcipating the upcoming film "Old Dogs" along side John Travolta and Robin Williams. Shooting has already started and is planned to be released summer 2008.

-courtesy of

Bond Lands A Latina

We've known for awhile that the producers of Bond 22 have been on the lookout for a smokin' hot Latina actress to join the production. And so we now have....Ms. Mayrin Villanueva.

The news that Mayrin Villanueva comes from MI6 who in turn got it from a Mexican television news show. Yes, yes, a bunch of he said, she said, but I don't care much after looking at Mayrin. I think she burned my retinas, I can't see the computer that...well....

Courtsey of

Latin American film fans ask, Where are our movies?

Latin American cinema may be enjoying a Golden Age, but the movies must sometimes travel the world before they can get a showing on their home turf.

The governments of Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil and others are handing out money to encourage local productions, and the results are gaining wide acclaim, but they are struggling in a continent saturated with Hollywood blockbusters.

Films must first reach international festivals like Cannes or Venice to have a chance of getting a distributor and running around the world, before maybe coming home to Latin America.

"Even being so close, it is very difficult to watch Latin American movies in Latin American cinemas," said Daniel Andrade, who was in Sao Paulo for a film festival October 19 to November 8, where he was showing his new movie "Esas no Son Penas" (Anytime Soon).

He said "Cidade de Deus" (City of God) and "Central do Brasil" (Central Station) both Oscar-nominated Brazilian movies of recent years, got to his native Ecuador only through their North American distributors. "Carandiru," a top Brazilian movie of 2003, was never shown in Ecuadorean theaters.

Adhemar Oliveira, an independent distributor who runs theaters in Sao Paulo, said he must go to Europe to get Latin American movies to show in Brazil, such as the acclaimed Chilean movie "Machuca."

"It's the same price to bring a movie from Asia, Europe, USA or Latin America," Oliveira said.

Brazil is now making so many movies -- 70 per year, up from 30 in the 1990s -- that its 2,000 movie theaters hardly have room for all of them, let alone movies from the rest of Latin America. A deal with Cuba to exchange a few movies was put aside. "How do you find space in a market inundated by American blockbusters for all the Brazilian productions plus five Cuban titles?" said cinema researcher Maria do Rosario Caetano.


Piracy has provided a solution, at least in some countries, said Bolivian filmmaker Marcos Loayza.

"People who like movies in Bolivia have two options. Going abroad or buying pirate DVDs," said Loayza, who was showing his documentary "El Estado de las Cosas" (The State of Things) at the Sao Paulo festival.

"You can find everything in DVD copies -- Latin American movies, Greek movies, Iranian movies," he said. Bolivia has only 50 movie theaters, showing mostly Hollywood movies dubbed into Spanish.

Piracy was the route to box office success for "Tropa de Elite" (Elite Squad), a controversial story about police killings in the shanty towns of Rio de Janeiro and the most successful Brazilian movie this year.

After viral success as a pirate DVD, it was released in Brazil by Paramount, and has sold 2.1 million tickets compared with 6.1 million for "Spider Man 3."

In Venezuela, production has jumped from a half dozen movies per year to an expected 20 in 2008 thanks to help from President Hugo Chavez, said Mariana Rondon, who was presenting her second feature, "Postales de Leningrado" (Postcards from Leningrad).

Her first movie was not even shown in her country because no distributor was interested. "Postcards" has been in Venezuelan theaters only because of a new rule that gives local movies a mandatory showing, she said.

In Ecuador, the government is helping three or four movies to be released next year, almost doubling production. In Mexico, a new law will let companies invest tax money in the cinema.

"There is a small cinema revolution happening right now in Mexico, with a lot of people and companies with money to invest," said filmmaker Sergio Umansky, who spent seven months looking for a distributor for his movie "Mejor es que Gabriela no se muera" (It's Better If Gabriela Doesn't Die).

"But I hope the movies will start to be known and seen, not just the ones made by big studios."

Courtsey of Fernanda Ezabella from Reuters

Javier Bardem: Transformation on Film

Check out this event:

Javier Bardem: Transformation on Film

Come hear Javier Bardem, the first Spanish actor to have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, discuss his work and his current film, "No Country for Old Men," based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy and directed by the Coen Brothers. The award-winning actor ("Before Night Falls," "The Sea Inside," "Collateral," "The Dancer Upstairs") is one of the special honorees of the IFP's Gotham Awards this year. Moderated by Lynn Hirschberg, New York Times Magazine editor at large.

It will take place on Wednesday, November 28, 2007
from 8:00 PM - 9:15 PM at:
The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York City

Cristina Kotz Cornejo's "3 Americas" premiered at Woodstock Film Festival

Wild Wimmin Films is pleased to announce that 3 Américas
the feature film debut of Cristina Kotz Cornejo had its World Premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival on October 11-14.

3 Américas was developed in the NALIP 2004 Latino Writers Lab with mentor Alfredo DeVilla and participated in the NALIP 2005 Sundance Development Program.

Here is what one reviewer said about the film (excerpt from a longer review at

An Upstate State of Mind
Day One at the Woodstock Film Festival, by Sarah Coleman
"The film is beautifully shot, and the screenplay is a marvel of minimalism in which every word matters. As América, newcomer Kristen Gonzalez gives an utterly compelling performance, her smoldering temper perfectly offset by the bone-weariness portrayed by veteran Argentinian actress Ana Maria Colombo. If the story has a somewhat predictable arc – two prickly, difficult women gradually come to care for each other – it's handled gracefully and with infinite subtlety. Kotz Cornejo based some of the narrative on her own experiences as a teen, and in the post-screening Q&A she described how she had to resist a producer who "wanted me to change the script to include tango, because I didn't want to be that clichéd." Luckily, she succeeded: the film is a cliché-free zone, and a richly nuanced character study."

For more information on the film visit
For press info contact Neyda Martinez at

Great News for "BELLA"

“BELLA had another amazing performance at the box office this weekend, giving us the momentum we need for a large expansion,” said executive producer Sean Wolfington. “Thanks to strong word-of-mouth support, BELLA will expand to nearly 50 new cities in the coming weeks. We couldn’t be happier or more thankful for the tremendous support audiences have shown BELLA thus far.”

* BELLA grossed over $1 million this weekend, maintaining its spot as the only film on less than 300 screens to rank in the top 20.

* BELLA’s per screen average of $5,381 “continued to surprise” according to, finishing third behind new releases “American Gangster” and “Bee Movie”, both with estimated budgets in excess of $100 million.

* BELLA continued to show resilience on Sunday, indicating abnormally strong word-of-mouth momentum from the previous two days. While every other film’s ticket sales declined by a minimum of 30% from Saturday to Sunday, BELLA dipped a mere 1.8%.

As a result of BELLA’s performance this weekend, Roadside Attractions will expand BELLA’s release to nearly 50 additional cities in the next two weeks. Specific theaters in each city can be found online at