San Francisco Latino film festival broadens horizons

“Filly Brown,” a drama about a hip-hop artist with a mother in prison and a career ultimatum on the horizon — featuring Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos — kicks off the 2012 San Francisco Latino Film Festival.

“I’d never really seen a film about a young girl poet,” Olmos says. “It’s a crowd-pleaser. It went down really well at Sundance and I think it’s universal in scope.”

Opening today, the fourth annual event, which runs through Sept. 28, includes some 40 features, shorts and documentaries screening at various Bay Area locations.   

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

Olmos,  a co-founder of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, would like better exposure for Latino films.

“I would like it to become commonplace, like you would see African-American films and Caucasian films, to become part of the texture and fiber of the country,” Olmos says. “Most of the films that you see have very little to do with Latino culture.”

Film’s immersive qualities are also important to Olmos, who believes in the form’s potent, possessive qualities.

“I think film is the strongest art form humankind has ever created,” Olmos says. “A lot of people feel that they have experienced a total event when seeing a film, much more so than reading a book or seeing a painting or watching a play. Not that those art forms aren’t penetrating, they are, but film is all-encompassing. It goes straight to the subconscious mind.”

In addition to films from the U.S., the festival also includes offerings from Mexico, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Argentina, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

“Bertsolari,” a documentary about a traditional Basque performance art called bertso rooted in storytelling, poetry and music, depicts the celebrity of being a bertsolari.

“They’re rock stars,” festival director Lucho Ramirez says. “There was also a transformation during the Franco years because of cultural persecution. Bertso moved into social commentary, and bertsolaris would take a topic and run with it in the same way as rappers and spoken-word artists.”

“Not So Modern Times” is a comedy about an Argentine shepherd whose pastoral life changes dramatically when telephones and satellite TV are introduced into his previously primitive landscape.

Another South American film, “Dirty Hearts,” recently released in Brazil, is a historical drama based on post-World War II conflicts among Japanese people living in Brazil. Some accepted Japan’s defeat, others did not, and the aftermath caused a devastating, life-threatening chasm in the community.

In 1940s San Francisco, Stephen Breyer developed ‘a trust in, almost a love for, the possibilities of a democracy’

The man who became a Supreme Court Justice could not have imagined the trajectory of his career

Endorsement: San Francisco’s school board is a national laughingstock. Yes on the recall

Examiner urges ‘yes’ vote in SF school board recall election

We interviewed every candidate in S.F.’s assembly race. Here’s where they stand on key issues

Hopefuls air their positions on housing, homelessness, COVID, transportation, crime and climate change