Vancouver Latin American Film Festival 2016 stands with LGBT communities

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      The shockwaves from the Orlando nightclub massacre on June 12, in which the victims were of Latino descent, reverberated throughout various Vancouver communities and events, from Pride festivities to Muslim groups.

      This year, the 14th annual Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, which runs from August 25 to September 4, is standing strong with its LGBT communities as it bookends this year's festival with screenings of queer cinema.

      The festival opens on a raunchy note with the crime-thriller I Promise You Anarchy (Te prometo anarquía).

      Childhood-friends-turned-lovers Miguel and Johnny spend their days getting high, having sex, and skateboarding through Mexico City while hounding their friends for blood to sell on the black market. But the duo accept a cartel-related offer, they wind up biting off far more than they are mature capable of handling.

      Writer-director Julio Hernández Cordón will attend the opening night screening (August 25) as well as the repeat screening on August 27.

      I Promise You Anarchy

      Closing the festival is Don't Call Me Son (Mãe só há uma).

      In the drama feature, Pierre's recipe for life in a São Paulo suburb is sex, lipstick, and rock 'n' roll as he explores his gender identity. But that's all derailed when two police officers and his mother arrived with a deposition that declares Pierre may not be his mother's biological son.

      When the results of a DNA test throw the life as he knows it out the window, he's headed for class—and gender—conflict.

      This film is part of a six-film retrospective of celebrated Brazilian director Anna Muylaert that includes Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (É proibido fumar), about a guitar teacher who has an affair with a musician neighbour, and The Second Mother (Que horas ela volta?), about a nanny who is reunited with the daughter she had to leave to be raised by relatives while working.

      Queer cinema is peppered elsewhere throughout the lineup as well, with titles like Viva, about a young Cuban hairdresser whose burgeoning career as a drag queen is truncated by the arrival of his long-estranged, macho father, recently released from jail.

      There's also He Hated Pigeons, by Canadian filmmaker Ingrid Veninger (and accompanied by a live score by Morning Show), about a man who takes a road trip across Chile to mourn the death of his Canadian male partner.

      That's part of Canada Look South, which presents cinematic connections between Canada and Latin America. Of course, that includes Vancouver as well.

      In "The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park", filmmaker Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, who initially sought to make a documentary about Latino gangs, captures the lives of people living in and around this Downtown Eastside community space.

      "The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park"

      The short film "Acá Nada/Acá Elsewhere" is profile of the Latin American aka artist collective, founded by Vancouver-based Cuban artist Manuel Piña, that works with rotating billboards.

      Speaking of Canada, there's also a Canadian connection in Truman, in which Julián, in Madrid, receives a visit from his Tomás from Canada. While Julián faces terminal cancer, Tomás still seeks to find hope. Their emotional rollercoaster is observed by Julián's faithful pal, his dog Truman, who he needs to find a home for.


      There are plenty of other international box-office hits from countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and more.

      Meanwhile, the new series ¡Activismo! highlights films that address historical and contemporary issues and politics that range from the preservation of indigenous culture (Brazilian documentary The Hyperwomen) to the mystery of 43 students who went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico (One Day in Ayotzinapa 43).

      To check out the full lineup and for more information, visit the VLAFF website.