Festival showcases Spanish and Portuguese films

Poster for LIFFY featuring an open padlock labeled "Yale"
The annual Latino and Iberian Film Festival at Yale takes place Nov. 15-19 at the Whitney Humanities Center. All screenings are free, open to the public, and subtitled in English.

Prominent and emerging filmmakers from Latin America will gather on campus Nov. 15-19 to discuss their latest work during the annual Latino and Iberian Film Festival at Yale (LIFFY).  

Produced by the Council for Latin American and Iberian Studies at the MacMillan Center at Yale, the festival features dozens of short and feature-length films from more than a dozen countries where Spanish and Portuguese are the primary languages.

The festival, which originated as a local film series in the late 1990s and was formally established at Yale in 2015, promotes cultural understanding through film.

We’re proud to boast a slate of excellent films that entertain, celebrate diversity, and highlight our common humanity,” said Margherita Tortora, the festival’s director and senior lector II in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. “In the current political climate, taking time to contemplate and appreciate the cultural characteristics that both make us unique and unite us is very important.”

All the movies are free, open to the public, and subtitled in English.

Several LGBTQ-themed films are featured this year, including the opening night film, “Tamara,” which tells the true-life story of Tamara Adrian, the first transgender person to serve in Venezuela’s National Assembly. Elia Schneider, the film’s director, and Jose Novoa, one of its producers, will participate in a Q&A session after the screening, which is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. (All screenings will be held at the Whitney Humanities Center unless otherwise noted.)

Thursday’s schedule features the world premiere of “25 horas (25 Hours),” a short film that follows Hilda, an emigrant, as she cares for her sick father in the Havana neighborhood of El Vedado. The story unfolds on Dec. 17, 2014 — the day when the United States and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations. The film’s director and screenwriter, Carlos Barba Salva, will participate in a post-screening discussion.

Ya no es antes (Not Like Before),” a Cuban film about former lovers reunited after 40 years apart, also will be screened Thursday. The film’s leading man, Luis Alberto Garcia, among Cuba’s most renowned actors, will participate in a post-screening discussion.

A children’s film from the Dominican Republic, “Los Fabulosos Ma’ Mejores,” about a kids' baseball team and its nutty coach, will be screened Thursday morning at the Whitney Humanities Center for students of the New Haven public schools. The film will be screened again for the general public on Saturday morning in Henry R. Luce Hall auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Ave.

On Friday, renowned Colombian filmmaker Victor Gaviria will present his latest film, “La mujer del Animal (The Wife of The Animal),” which garnered director, feature, and screenplay awards at the Lleida Catalonia Latin America Festival. Gaviria will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Friday’s schedule also includes the screening of “Si Dios quiere, Yuli (God Willing, Yuli),” a documentary that shares the story of Yuli, a Haitian woman who has lived in the Dominican Republic for more than 35 years. Two short documentaries, “Our Land” and “Girls of Uchituu,” depict the lives of indigenous people in Colombia.

Saturday’s schedule features a screening of “Sin muertos no hay carnival (Such is Life in the Tropics),” a political thriller out of Ecuador. Victor Arauz, who stars in the film, will participate in a post-screening discussion.

The festival will close Sunday with a screening of “Nadie nos mira (Nobody is Watching),” directed by Argentine filmmaker Julia Solomonoff. The film, nominated for a jury award for “best international narrative feature” at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows the travails of a gay Argentine actor who ventures to New York City for a promised role. When the project stalls, he performs menial labor to make a living and has experiences similar to other undocumented immigrants, despite his being white and privileged. The film’s star, Guillermo Pfening, won the jury award for best actor in an international narrative feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Solomonoff, who teaches film directing at Columbia University, will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

The complete schedule is available on the the festival’s website: http://liffy.yale.edu/liffy-2017-program

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