10 Most Popular Latin American Film Festivals in the United States
Latin American film festivals have become popular in the U.S. in recent years.
Many Latinx or Latin American film festivals coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month which is from September 15 to October 15, 2021.
Screening many films from the Americas, these festivals will take place online (and hopefully also in person) and provide an opportunity to catch up on recent films from different regions as well as classic films from years past.
This curated list features the best Latin film festivals around the U.S. based on authenticity. I wanted to choose festivals that stay true to the Latin American culture. They all support Latin American filmmakers from Latin America and Spain. Check them out!
Why Film Festivals?
Film festivals are events that are organized by colleges, universities, private organizations, local governments, art galleries, art communities, and film societies.
They provide an opportunity for new filmmakers to get their films in front of a live audience, as well as professional critics. If a movie is accepted into a festival, it gets valuable press attention and exposure to agents and managers looking to invest. Also, there’s a sizable cash reward if their film wins.
Some festivals welcome a wide range of topics and film lengths. And other festivals are more specialized: only comedies, only drama or only Latin American films. Latin American film festivals are the ones we’re discussing today.
Latin American Film Festivals
Latin American culture is full of color, flavor and wonder. The lifestyle tends to be all about a way of living that is slower and calmer than most Western countries. People in Latin America appreciate and celebrate their heritage. Film Festivals are famous for their delicious Latin food, fun music, celebration and mostly about giving a voice to Latin American filmmakers. By giving a voice to these artists, many people in the U.S get a real glimpse into the Latin American culture.
Now let’s get into the best Latin film festivals in the United States.
1. Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival
2021 is the 14th year of the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival. It showcases the best of Brazilian cinema. Brazil has wonderful movies to watch. This film festival allows many important filmmakers to see what is up and coming.
2. Portland Latin America Film Festival
The Portland Latin American Film Festival is presented by the Hollywood Theatre. This festival went virtual last year with films from Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, and Mexico.
The films celebrate the cultural diversity of Latin America. Diversity is an important topic to address since the point of many of these filmmakers is to be inclusive and help audiences see a broader perspective.
3. Mill Valley Film Festival
The Mill Valley Film Festival in the San Francisco Bay area showcases prize-winning Latin American films that seek to engage and please Spanish speaking audiences. The screenings create a community where culture, history, and values can be explored through the magic of films.
4. North Carolina Latin American Film Festival
This Latin American film festival is presented by the University of North Carolina and Duke University Consortium. The North Carolina Latin American Film Festival (NCLAFF) embraces and celebrates the power of Latin America’s films and their production.
The mission of this festival is to provide a space in North Carolina for the Latin American community. The 36th season of NCLAFF will be an homage to the best Latin American films.
5. Seattle Latino Film Festival
The Seattle Latino Film Festival presents 10 fiction films and 17 documentary films. The annual festival includes films from Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, El Salvador, and Cuba .
It’s celebrated in Seattle, which is home to a large Latin American population, making this festival a great one.
6. Cine Latino
The Cine Latino Latin American Film Festival takes place in October in Minneapolis St. Paul and features 19 fiction and non-fiction films. Rodrigo Reyes’ film 499 was quite popular in the 2020 film festival last year. Other highlights of this festival are Mexican and Venezuelan filmmakers who have showcased their work.
7. AFI Latin American Film Festival
The AFI Latin American Film Festival is one of the largest and long-running showcases of Latin American films in the United States.
They feature up to 26 films from about 20 countries, including seven premieres in the U.S. This festival will be held from September 25 to October 7, 2021.
8. Grand Rapids Latin America Film Festival
The GRLAFF celebrates its 11th anniversary this year. In 2020, the online version coincided with National Hispanic Heritage Month. Many audiences enjoy this Latin American Film Festival that features full-length films from Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico.
This festival is completely free, and in 2021, they will offer the online version once again. They also host a virtual panel discussion with the filmmakers.
9. Cine Mexico Now
Cine Mexico Now is presented by The Film Lab in collaboration with Cinema Lamont. They feature some of the best in contemporary Mexican cinema.
This year, the festival runs from September 15 to October 15. All Cine Mexico selections are available in Spanish with English subtitles.
10. Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival
The Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival features more than 100 Brazilian productions, filmed everywhere from Puerto Rico to Alaska. 2020 was the first year that audiences beyond Miami and New York had access to this large Latin American film festival. The program includes documentaries and fiction.
Which Latin Film Festival Will You Watch?
Film festivals are a wonderful way to support new filmmakers, learn about Latin American culture, and indulge in some glamor. Now that you’ve learned about the top 10 Latin American film festivals in the U.S, which ones interest you most? Leave a comment and let me know!
While watching films in Spanish is a great way to attune your ear to the language, nothing is as effective as taking a class. Sign up for a free class at Homeschool Spanish Academy to have a fun, productive conversation with a native Spanish speaker today!
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