Two first feature films take top honors at the Chicago Latino Film Festival | Chicago Reel

The 38th Chicago Latin Film Festival today announced the winners and finalists of its People’s Choice Award.

The list of 50 feature films and 36 short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States included an array of premieres, stories from underrepresented communities and an increase in LGBTQIA+ films. Even though the festival is a non-competitive festival, since 1993 the public has had the opportunity to vote for their favorite film in several categories for the People’s Choice Award.


The Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature Film went to Mighty VictoriaMexican cinematographer Raul RomanThe director’s first feature film about a small town in the middle of nowhere that defies the odds and builds its own steam train.


The Audience Award for Best Documentary went to Civil war, Eva Longoria Bastonit is feature debut on the epic rivalry between legendary boxers Julio César Chávez and Oscar de la Hoya.

Judith Corro won the Audience Award for Best Short Film for birthday boyabout an 18-year-old who stays true to his identity as a trans man as he prepares to celebrate his birthday.

Presented by Corona Extra and produced by the International Latino Cultural Center in Chicago, the Chicago Latino Film Festival, which ran from April 21 to May 1, adopted a hybrid model of Drive-In screenings at Chi-Town Movies, 2342 S. Throop, in-person screenings at Landmark Century Center, 2828 N. Clark St., and online screenings to residents of Illinois and, with some exceptions, the Midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa , Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana via Eventive’s virtual platform.

The list of 50 feature films and 36 short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States included two world premieres, five North American premieres, ten American premieres and ten Midwestern premieres. Although the CLFF is a non-competitive festival, since 1993 the public has had the opportunity to vote for their favorite film in several categories for the People’s Choice Award.

“It gave us so much joy to see so many familiar and new faces in the theatre, to hear their laughter, their applause and to listen to their questions in the post-screening Q&A with our guest filmmakers or their conversations outside The Chicago Latino Film Festival has been key in bringing the new voices of Ibero-American cinema to Chicago moviegoers and seeing audiences embrace and support these artists validates our role as a festival,” said pepe vargasexecutive director of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago and founder of the Chicago Latino Film Festival.


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PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

The winners and runners-up of the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival Audience Choice Awards are:

  • Feature/Winner: Mighty Victoria / Poderoso Victoria (Mexico; director: Raúl Ramón): With an all-star cast that includes Damián Alcázar, Joaquín Cosío, Adal Ramones, Luis Felipe Tovar and Édgar Vivar (El Chavo del Ocho), Raúl Ramón’s ambitious feature debut centers on the small town of La Esperanza in the 1930s, which faces financial ruin after news of the closure of the local mine. To add insult to injury, residents were also told that they would also lose the train stop that connected them to the city. But master mechanic and train engineer Don Federico (Alcázar) won’t sit idly by and, with a little help, will start building a steam train.
  • Second place: goodbye chicago (USA; directors: Roma Díaz and Enrique Gaona, Jr.): Chicago-based Mexican playwright and director Roma Díaz (founder of the Tecolote Theater Company) makes his fictional feature debut alongside Enrique Gaona, Jr. with this compassionate and deeply moving tale of the friendship between an aging and dying Mexican immigrant and a young Colombian college student. Miguel left Mexico at a young age, abandoning his passion for music and singing. Now he is alone, without family, friends or money. Dalia, the schoolgirl and neighbor, lends more than a benevolent ear to her anecdotes and reflections; she encourages him to reconnect with his friends and family as he faces death.
  • Third place: My girlfriend is the revolution / Mi novia es la revolución (Mexico; director: Marcelino Islas Hernández): Mexico 1994: Presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio is assassinated at a political rally in Tijuana and a separatist group calling itself The Zapatistas led by a charismatic masked man and pipe smoker emerges from Chiapas. It’s also the year Sofía turns fifteen and she hates the idea of ​​having a quinceañera. She has moved to a new neighborhood and is bored until she meets the rebellious Eva. Marcelino Islas Hernández’s exuberant and charming coming-of-age story of the search for love, enduring heartache and mischief is both a love letter and a superb acting showcase. for his daughter Sofía Islas.
  • Documentary/Winner: Civil war (USA/UK; Director: Eva Longoria Bastón): The epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s speaks to the cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans in the United States. Civil war chronicles how their lives paralleled each other, the financial hardships their respective families faced, and the violence that surrounded them as they grew up through their most important matches leading up to their eventual showdown in 1996. Using never-before-seen archival material, as well as in-depth and intimate interviews, actress Eva Longoria Bastón recounts, in her feature debut, a battle that became much more than just a boxing match.
  • Second place: Songs that flood the river / Canciones que inundan el río (Colombia; Director: Germán Arango Rengón): Oneida was still a child when she learned the Afro-Colombian tradition of singing “alabados” to accompany the dead on their journey to purgatory. His town became the site of the so-called Bojayá massacre which took place in 2002 after a cylindrical bomb launched by the guerrilla group FARC against paramilitaries landed on a church full of civilians. Director Germán Arango Rengón paints an inspiring and deeply spiritual portrait of a woman who heals the deep wounds of a region scarred by violence through her song.
  • Third place: 130 children / 130 men (Costa Rica/Chile; director: Ainara Aparici): During their long marriage, Melba and Víctor adopted over 130 orphaned or abandoned children, caring for them as if they were their own. This documentary follows them and the more than 30 children they currently care for through their daily lives, from sunrise as they wake up and get ready for school until sunset. Their lives are one of organized chaos, where the oldest children serve as big brothers to the teary-eyed newcomers as they prepare to face a new life as young adults outside of this home.
  • Shorts/Winner: Birthday boy / Vuelta al sol (Panama; director: Judith Corro): It’s Caesar’s birthday and his parents want him to wear clothes that make him uncomfortable. He is faced with a decision: continue to conform to his family’s expectations or live true to his identity as a trans man.

Birthday boy / Vuelta al sol

  • Second place: Prairie flowers / Flores de llanura (Mexico; director: Mariana Rivera): After Silvia’s femicide, her cousin Yecenia, one of the Ñomndaa weavers in the Meadow of Flowers, creates a poetic mourning ritual alongside other female weavers. Through this ritual, threads, dreams and their craft are collectively woven together as an act of healing and resilience.
  • Third place: Lessons from Yagán / Twakana Yagán (Argentina; director: Rodrigo Tenuta): In Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego resides the Yagán Paiakoala community, descendants of the first inhabitants who inhabited the southernmost islands of South America. Two brothers speak, teach, and remember the Yagán language and their grandfather’s songs as they ride their horses through the harsh landscape on a journey of ancestral reflection.

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