Winning Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, Netflix’s Roma made headlines for its emotional portrayal of a domestic worker's journey in Mexico City's Roma district in 1970. Roma’s buzz also followed its star, Yalitza Aparicio, the first indigenous woman nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. From speaking a combination of Spanish and the indigenous dialect Mixtec on screen to representing her Oaxacan community at the Oscar’s, Yalitza inspired many beyond the border and across the world. Here in Houston, where over 44% of the population is Hispanic, one festival is hoping to further a bit of this Latinx film magic in our own local community and beyond.
Now in its fourth year, the Houston Latino Film Festival highlights Latinx creators in media, both in front of the camera and behind it. Celebrating a culture so deeply woven into the fabric of Houston does not need to be Oscar-approved, either. While the final lineup has yet to be revealed, Latinx and Hispanic works from all over Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States will screen. Last year, Houston Latino Film Festival presented more than 40 independent films from 18 countries.
From March 28th-31st, films of all lengths and genres will screen at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) and Talento Bilingue de Houston, a bilingual English-Spanish theater in Houston’s East End with festival sponsors including Topo Chico, Houston Arts Alliance, and Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company. This festival isn’t all film screenings, either. Q&As with filmmakers, actors, writers, and creatives will be held throughout the three-day event, as well as intensive film workshops.
This year, Director Joel Novoa (CW’s Arrow and God’s Slave) will dive into the process of communicating one’s creative vision amongst collaborators in a four-hour intensive workshop at Vine Street Studios — an excellent opportunity for budding filmmakers to take their work to the next level by becoming a more effective content creator on set.
A crowd favorite, last year’s Master of Ceremonies, Antonio Arellano, will be returning to host. The official festival kick-off party is on Thursday, March 28th held at The Houston Event Venue on Harrisburg Blvd., with complimentary Don Julio Tequila. View some of the Latinx art on display while musical guest, Piñata Protest, provides a tasty blend of Tex-Mex and Punk Rock.