You Nearly Missed: Vancouver Latin American Film Festival turns 21

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      It’s been more than two decades since the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival got its start, and it’s celebrating its 21st year with a fiesta. 

      Running from September 7 to 17, VLAFF is screening dozens of films over the space of 10 days, primarily at the Cinematheque and Cineworks. 

      A bevy of shorts and feature-length films from eight Latin countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru—are set to be shown, alongside works from Latin-Canadian creators and Indigenous filmmakers from across the so-called Americas. 

      The festivities kick off tonight with Mexican comedy Amor y Matemáticas (Love and Mathematics), showing at SFU Woodward’s Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema. The rom-com follows a former boy-band star struggling to adapt to his suburban life, and won praise when it premiered at Toronto International Film Festival last year. Follow it up with a jaunt to the Fox for a VLAFF opening night party, with live music from the Sara Magal trio and Waskaka All-Stars band. 

      There’s a focus on Cuban cinema this year, including a retrospective on Cuban director and screenwriter Pavel Giroud. As part of VLAFF’s commitment to retrospectives, Giroud will be in town to present three of his works: music documentary Playing Lecuona, historical true story The Padilla Affair, and unlikely friendship drama The Companion

      “It is an honour to welcome Pavel Giroud to present three of his most significant works,” say the organizers in a statement. “It is a way to get to know the work—and the country—of one of the most active Cuban auteurs today.”

      Other special guests at the festival include Chilean actress Aline Küppenheim, who’ll be celebrating her 2004 film Machuca (showing September 15) and last year’s Chile ’76 (September 17); and Peruvian-Canadian filmmaker Carlos Ferrand, who’ll have screenings of three of his works plus a “very special secret screening.”

      Elsewhere, six Latin American films will compete for the Best New Director, and a curated selection of shorts from Turtle Island and beyond examine Indigenous storytelling from filmmakers. 

      Check out the full official selections here and the VLAFF calendar here.


      Vancouver Latin American Film Festival 

      When: September 7 to 17

      Where: Primarily The Cinematheque and Cineworks, both at 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver 

      Admission: From $13, sliding scale; tickets available here