THE 23rd LONDON LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
Unfortunately, a technical glitch meant that the short film EVA has been RESCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY 22nd; apologies again to the crew and those who came out specially to see it. This just means an extra treat for those coming on Friday to see LINEAR, THE BROKEN WOMAN & OSLO! Thank you to all our old and new friends who continue to support LLAFF! Mil Gracias!
From 15- 24 November 2013, The 23rd LLAFF is taking place at Bolivar Hall and University College London / Institute of the Americas bringing together the best and freshest of contemporary Latin American cinema with an exciting line up of films.
Here are some of this year’s highlights:
For a biting screwball comedy with a Sapphic twist, try A Map for Love: imagine you, your mother and your lesbian lover trapped on a yacht in the middle of a Pacific storm; well, you don’t have to imagine it, because Constanza Fernández has put it onto celluloid. The struggle for identity in the face of a broken world is the theme in Calloused Hands.
Amongst the outstanding selection of feature documentaries on offer, Mejunje by Juan Manuel Gamazo is a mesmerising vision of the creative spirit in the Cuban people, while Goppi the Cuban Indian offers a refreshing insight on the island’s kaleidoscopic cultural mix. Stone of Memory brings to the screen the astonishing riches of Afro-Brazilian culture. Anyone who might still need convincing about the human cost of the cocaine trade should take in We Women Warriors and Unseen Colombia.
You will also find, scattered like pearls through the programme, the best and most exquisite short dramas, arty animations and documentaries. The absolute highlight, I think, is Luis Ernesto Donas’ simple, excoriating Oslo, but there is much more in a lighter vein! Amir Admon’s multiple award- winning animation Linear is a visual delight and there are many short comedy dramas such as the quirky romp My Friend Nietzsche. Unique, one-offs abound: the enchanting Paal comes highly recommended, as do Market Symphony and the challenging, hard-nosed Shooting the Tribe.
If you catch all of these, you will but have scratched the surface of what is on offer. The strength, in depth, of the Festival this year is unsurpassed.
As ever, a fierce vortex of social and cultural activity surrounds the Festival, bringing creative fire to chilly November.
Mark these dates on your calendar and join La Fiesta!
A LATIN LOVE AFFAIR!
The London Latin American Film Festival has been a labour of love, over the past 21 years, for Festival Director Eva Tarr-Kirkhope. Her Cuban roots and love of Latin Culture are intrinsic to LLAFF: without her passion, dedication and vision many films and filmmakers would not have gained the recognition they enjoy today.
Eva completed her education amidst the energy and optimism of the still young Cuban Revolution. She developed a strong love for the arts and went on to train as a Graphic Designer, graduating in The History of Art at Havana University. Eva could see around her, the power education gave a previously disadvantaged underclass. She soon found herself exploring other areas of artistic expression, producing some controversial underground work, including films.
Cinema provided Eva with a medium that had mass appeal, and which could explore the world from a distincly Cuban perspective. Filmmakers such as Thomas Piard and Sara Gomez were creating new models of cinema. Eva’s artistic circle thrived on this atmosphere of change and Eva played a central role, writing, acting and modelling for a variety of daring projects.
Her journey to where she is today has not been an easy one. She found her Cuban education and cultural background undervalued, when she reached British shores, but this did little to dampen her enthusiasm for the arts. She worked for The Women’s Film and Television Video Network and was inspired to create a platform for Latin American culture and heritage.
She met Tony Kirkhope, whom she went on to marry. Together they set up and ran The Metro Cinema in the heart of the West End. Her drive to create a showcase for Latin American Filmmakers persisted and a chance conversation with Tony led to the birth of The London Latin American Film festival in 1990.
Success and critical acclaim came quickly and soon it had become an umissable fixture in London’s cultural calendar. After Tony’s untimely death in 1997, Eva struggled to conceive how she could continue the Festival without him: yet she found the strength to continue and those around her rallied to help out and support her.
Each year since, the Festival has grown in the scope of the cinema it presents and this is due to the unwavering vision of Eva and her relentless belief in championing new cinema from Latin America. The Festival is entirely not-for-profit and Eva has continued for the last 20 years, through 2 recessions and the loss of her beloved husband, to promote the Festival with the same vision and spirit she set out with in 1990.
In the last few years, the Festival had become more relevant than ever, providing the launch pad for many films and filmmakers who have gone on to enjoy great commercial success. Eva has always believed the Festival is not only a platform for the hugely diverse Latin American Diaspora, but should also act to expose the powerful cinematic experience of Latin Cinema to a wider audience.
Eva consistently seeks to challenge simplistic received perceptions of Latin America and this is the key to her success: she never underestimates her audience.
Over the years the festival has been a key element in securing commercial distribution in the UK for many Latin American filmmakers. To name just a few:
DREAMING NICARAGUA by Marcelo Bukin
VIVA MEXICO by Nicolas Defosse
MY KIDNAPPER by Mark Henderson & Kate Horne
KUKULI by Luis Figueroa
STRAWBERRY LIPS by Jorge Zima
LADY FROM THE SHANGHAI CINEMA by Guilherme de Almeida Prado
SECRET WEDDING by Alejandro Agresti
FELICITAS by Teresa Costantini
MAN FACING SOUTHEAST by Eliseo Subiela
LOLA by Maria Novaro
THE BELLE OF THE ALHAMBRA by Enrique Pineda Barnet
HOMEWORK by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo
AMOR EN TRANSITO by Lucas Blanco
GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD by Jack Zagha Kababie
THE VOYAGE by Fernando (Pino) Solanas
In 2002 the Festival introduced an exciting new competitive element: The London Latin American Film Festival Audience Award.
Eva’s intimate knowledge of Latin American Cinema, the strength of her heart and the purity of her soul have made The London Latin American Film Festival the vibrant and utterly unique cultural tour de force it is today: indeed, without her there would be no LLAFF.
In this, the 22nd year, Eva’s Latin Love Affair continues, more passionate and unquenchable than ever before!