Boston Latino Film Festival (virtual) show will continue


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This year’s 20th Boston Latino International Film Festival is another artistic entry impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

“A film festival in person? There is nothing like it with so many shared experiences, ”admitted BLIFF director Sabrina Avilés.

“We had hoped for a big shebang! But we decided months ago that given how erratic COVID and the pandemic were, we weren’t sure – despite high vaccination rates in Massachusetts – if people would be comfortable returning. at the theatre. So we said, “Let’s go virtual.

“Then Arts Emerson, our only venue this year, said, ‘We won’t open until January’. So I was comfortable with my decision to go virtual.

There are also other changes.

“It’s a much more compressed edition,” she noted, “with only nine films instead of 30. Instead of the festival taking submissions, we decided to just run the festival to have a presence on the Boston scene.

“I have collaborated with other festivals throughout the year and it is a way of recognizing these filmmakers.

“A lot of the movies we were interested in were already streaming,” she added, noting the drastic change in the way movies are now streamed. “We present seven documentaries and two stories. “

Rita Moreno in a scene from the documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” by Mariem Perez Riera, screened at the Boston Latino Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of BLIFF)

BLIFF opens Friday with the acclaimed documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go”, which will be followed by a Q&A with producer-director Mariem Perez Riera.

Monica Cohen, local filmmaker from Bogota, presents her portrait of Diego Obregon, an unsung Colombian musician, in “Dreams of Chonta”.

“It’s the story of an artist, an undocumented immigrant who came to New York alone and gave his music and culture to the world.

“He was working in a cemetery by day and recorded his first album at age 40,” Cohen said. “It seemed like an ideal subject for my first documentary. “

Cohen traveled to meet his family.

“He stayed for 12 years. He had three children at home and his wife, an incredible and wonderful family.

“I learned that we go to America for our dreams and become what we can become, but we give so much. What Diego gave to his community in New York was so much – its culture, its sound, its music.

“Having no formal education, being from a poor region of Colombia, he didn’t know how to navigate the system. But he was relentless, so positive in his outlook on life. He would never say, “I can’t do this. He’ll say, ‘I’m going slow, things will happen eventually.’ “


A full schedule of BLIFF events, screenings and tickets is available at bliff.org.

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Darcy J. Skinner

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