Categorized | Arts, Community

OLA Festival: Three Days of Latino Films (and a night of live music)

Posted on 10 September 2013

A still from the documentary "Inocente" (photo by Sean Fine)

A still from the documentary “Inocente” (photo by Sean Fine)

By Tessa Raebeck

From a rebellious teenager battling her father to a beloved leader deposed by a coup d’état, the 10th Annual OLA Latino Film Festival will focus on the continual transformation of moods, control and weather at the three-day event this weekend.

A decade ago, the festival premiered to less than satisfying results. “We had around five to 10 people in the audience,” said Isabel Sepulveda, co-founder of the festival and president of Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island (OLA).

Having grown to an audience of over 200 in 2012, Sepulveda and OLA expect a much larger crowd at this year’s 10th annual festival, being held this weekend at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.

The festival includes three acclaimed and award-winning Latino films and an evening of live music from the Latin band Mambo Loco. The curated film selections are “Inocente,” “Tanta Agua” and “Salvador Allende. All non-English films have subtitles.

“This festival is to outreach to the whole community,” explained Sepulveda. “This is a once a year opportunity to see such a great variety of films.”

“It is a day where both communities can be part of a cultural event — like this festival — together,” she added, referring to the East End’s Latino and non-Spanish speaking communities.

Winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Short Documentary, “Inocente” is “the intensely personal coming-of-age story of a young woman’s drive to overcome the severity of her surroundings,” according to a press release from the Parrish. Directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, the film centers on Inocente, a 15-year-old homeless undocumented immigrant pursuing an art career. It will screen Friday at 5 p.m. in the Dorothy Lichtenstein Theatre.

Following “Inocente,” Mambo Loco will perform on the museum’s outdoor terrace from 6 to 8 p.m.  Reflective of their Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican roots, the Long Island natives deliver fiery Latin Jazz with strong drumming and vocals. Berklee College of Music alumni Bill Smith (piano, melodica, vocals) and Wayne Burgess (bass and vocals) are joined by lead vocalist, drummer and conguero Larry Belford and Alfredo Gonzalez (trombone, violin, percussion and vocals).

On Saturday at 3 p.m. the critically acclaimed “Tanta Agua” will screen. Written and directed by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, “Tanta Agua” centers on the family dynamics of divorce and the inevitable conflict between the adolescent quest for independence and the parental drive for family time. The first feature film by the Uruguayan duo, it explores the responses of Lucia, her little brother and her father when a massive thunderstorm forces them to stay indoors together on their family vacation. Filmed in Uruguay, Mexico, Holland and Germany, the film is a cross-cultural exploration of relationships.

Sunday at 3 p.m., the festival will end with “Salvador Allende,” a documentary about the deposed president of Chile by the acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán.

“We will be observing the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup d’état,” said Sepulveda.

Having first premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, “Salvador Allende” is “a special film based on the life of the Chilean President Salvador Allende, the first socialist president in Chile, who was overthrown by a coup d’état, supported by money from the USA with involvement of the CIA,” according to Sepulveda.

A celebrated documentarian and film professor, Guzmán says in the film, “Salvador Allende marked my life. I will never forget.”

The 10th Annual OLA Latino Film Festival will be held Friday September 13 through Sunday September 15 at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. “Inocente” will screen Friday at 5 p.m., followed by a performance by Mambo Loco from 6 to 8 p.m. “Tanta Agua” will screen Saturday at 3 p.m. “Salvador Allende” will screen Sunday at 3 p.m. The festival is free with museum admission. For more information, visit parrishart.org.

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