What do Colombian drug king pin Pablo Escobar and a little Argentine girl with Down Syndrome have in common? Sure at first you might think “absolutely nothing”, but they both were this year’s audience choices for best films in the most respected Latino Film Festival.
The first, Pecados de Mi Padre, an autobiographical documentary made by Juan Pablo Escobar, chronicles what was like growing up in the shadows of his infamous father. And the second, a fiction film called Anita, tells the story of a girl with Down Syndrome whose life changes after the AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) bombing in 1994.
For the past two weeks, the windy city was witness to another very impressive rendition of the oldest Latino Film Festival in the U.S. Backed up by the International Latino Cultural Center, the Festival’s mission this year was to promote diversity in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. by screening over 120 Films from 20 different countries.
The festival focused on very important subjects in special segments, such as “Made in USA”, which showed films of Latinos made in the United States, and Latin Women in Film, a segment that showcased female filmmakers, directors and producers. The festival also took a firm stance against homophobia by screening several films portraying the lack of compassion towards the GLBT community.
The closing night film was Chicogrande, starring Mexican actor Damián Alcázar, who was awarded with the 2011 Gloria Career Achievement Award.
By Larry Yepez Jr.