Mar 2, 2015

Encrucijadas/Encruzilhadas 2015: Dialogues of Latin American Cinemas

This past Friday (February 27th) I attended Encrucijadas/Encruzilhadas conference. One of the highlights of the conference was its “Panel 2: Workshop with programmers”. The Panel included: Daniela Alatorre form the Morelia International Film Festival, Carlos Gutiérrez from Cinema Tropical, Matías Piñeiro, a filmmaker, and Diana Vargas from the New York Havana Film Festival.

The Morelia International Film Festival (in case you haven’t heard of it) is a Mexican film festival. “The Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) is a unique meeting point in Mexico for the cinematographic community, the people of Michoacán and international filmmakers. FICM’s mission is to promote new talents in Mexican cinema, to increase the offering of quality cinema and to contribute to the cultural and tourist activities in the state of Michoacán” (

Carlos Gutiérrez was one of the co-founders of Cinema Tropical, which is a New York-based organization that focuses on the distribution, programming, and promotion of Latin American cinema. I used to work with them in promotion for Latin American cinema by updating the TropicalFRONT Blog and the weekly newsletter. (

Matías Piñeiro is an Argentinian filmmaker. He studied at the Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina and now resides in New York on a NYU scholarship for creative writing. His films include VIOLA (2012), THE STOLEN MAN (2007), and THEY ALL LIE (2009).

Diana Vargas is an artistic director and programmer of the Havana Film Festival New York and has programmed multiple showcases of Latin American cinema such as Corto Circuito and Icaro Film Festival New York. She was a producer of the CUNY-TV series Nueva York. (

I find it interesting the amount of programming it took to organize this workshop about programming (kind of meta). Most of the organization was based on scheduling, but another major factor was the panelist’s experience and work with Latin American cinema. And for all extensive and coincidental purposes, all of them are from Latin American (Diana Vargas is from Colombia, Matías Piñeiro is from Argentina, Carlos Gutiérrez is from Mexico).
Workshop with programmers (left to right): Carlos Gutiérrez, Daniela Alatorre, Matías Piñeiro, Diana Vargas, and moderator Juana Suárez.

The entire conversation revolved around the possible options someone (filmmaker/student/producer/artist) has to exhibit their works. The main option was film festivals. However, there were some issues with having one’s film in the film festival circuit. (1) If you’re film doesn’t get picked up at a film festival, it pretty much dies, unfortunately, and (2) if you’re film is traveling in a film festival circuit, other possible outlets such as academic institutions, won’t be able to have access to the film until maybe one or two years later.

It may be because this conference was programmed by a group of film academics and the moderator was Juana Suárez (who has worked with films in festivals and the scholarly research of said films), but a major issue was that professors and students who want to research and write about these films in an academic platform are unable to because they cannot gain access to it. The programmers mentioned that thanks to technology (really, thanks to Facebook), someone can try to find the director, producers, and cast and ask them about the film.

But what about older films? Or what about films that didn't get picked up by a distribution or production company, but the filmmaker still wants some sort of release? If a professor wants it in his syllabus, and can't find the copyright holder or distribution company what should he do? Or how much should the professor and institution pay for its screening?

And the question that emerged was should film festivals have an academic line that parallels the network and agenda of industry and press lines? 

Encrucijadas/Encruziladas: Dialogues of Latin America Cinemas 

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