These Latino Movies Scored Big at the 2024 SXSW Film Festival

Graphic design showing a still from "The In Between" one of the Latino films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

The 38th South by Southwest Film Festival, simply known as SXSW, left us with many Latino films to check out. This year, the lineup included many different movies from Latino directors or starring Latino talent that left quite an impression. Here are the top 10 Latino movies that made waves at the 38th SXSW Film Festival:


The In Between

A still from "The In Between" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

"The In Between," was directed by Robie Flores and it was included in the SXSW Documentary Feature Competition. The film offers a poetic perspective of the coming-of-age experience while living on the U.S.-Mexico border, with Flores revisiting her hometown Eagle Pass after her brother’s death. The film paints a very personal portrait of growing up on the border and the rediscovery of joy after grief.

Bionico’s Bachata

A promotional image from "Bionico\u2019s Bachata" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

“Bionico’s Bachata” is a Dominican movie by filmmaker Yoel Morales that explores themes like love, friendship, and addiction. Included in the SXSW Global category, this is an experimental comedy-drama that follows Bionico, a crack addict and hopeless romantic. Against the backdrop of a hostile Caribbean city, Bionico is struggling to stay clean while also trying to find a job and a house to start a new life when his fiancée, La Flaca, comes out of rehab.

Malta

A promotional image from "Malta" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

“Malta” was directed by Colombian Natalia Santa and it follows Mariana, a young woman who wants to get away from her everyday life as a working girl in Bogotá. She chooses Malta as her destination but before she gets there, she meets Gabriel, who wiggles his way into her life with tough questions and bad jokes, forcing Mariana to look within herself and determine what she’s really running from. Included in the SXSW Global category, this movie explores love and self-discovery.

Música

A promotional poster from "M\u00fasica" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

Included in the SXSW Narrative Feature category, “Música” is the directorial debut of musician and actor Randy Mancuso of Italian-American and Brazilian descent. The film tells his coming-of-age story and it explores both how he deals with synesthesia, a condition in which one sense is experienced in combination with another sense, and the Brazilian-American culture he grew up with.

Cheech and Chong’s Last Movie

A promotional image from "Cheech and Chong\u2019s Last Movie" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

"Cheech and Chong's Last Movie" is the first authorized documentary by the duo and it was directed by American David Bushell. Included in the SXSW Documentary Feature category, this project relives the glory days of Chicano comedian Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong through archival material. It provides laughter and many insights while exploring themes like fame and friendship.

Y2K

A promotional image from "Y2K" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

“Y2K” is a disaster comedy film directed by American comedian Kyle Mooney and included in the SXSW Narrative Feature category. The film stars Rachel Zegler of Colombian and Polish descent as the lead, sharing the spotlight with Jake Gyllenhaal, Sydney Sweeney, Ryan Gosling, Anne Hathaway, and Dev Patel. The movie is set in 1999 and it follows two high school juniors who crash a New Year’s Eve party that ends badly.

Sing Sing

A still image from "Sing Sing" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

Directed by American filmmaker Greg Kwedar and included in the SXSW Narrative Feature category, “Sing Sing” is a drama film starring Afro-Latino star Colman Domingo. The film is based on real events at the famous Sing Sing prison, which uses theater as a part of their rehabilitation program. The story follows Divine G., a man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, as he finds his purpose through participating in the prison’s theater group. It explores themes of humanity, resilience, and the power of art.

Toll

A promotional image from "Toll" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

“Toll” was directed by Carolina Markowicz, a Brazilian director and writer based in São-Paulo. The film follows a mother and toll booth attendant named Suellen as she gets involved with a gang of thieves to make extra money for her family. However, her main goal in raising money is to send her son to a gay conversion workshop.

Bob Trevino Likes It

A still from "Bob Trevino Likes It" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

Directed by American director and screenwriter Tracie Laymon, “Bob Trevino Likes It” is based on a true friendship that Laymon sparked with a stranger as she looked for her estranged father online. The film stars Barbie Ferreira of Brazilian descent and Colombian-American John Leguizamo and it explores friendship and familial connections.

Omni Loop

A still from "Omni Loop" one of the films in competition for 2024 SXSW Film Festival

“Omni Loop” was directed by Brazilian Bernardo Britto and it’s a comedy, drama, and sci-fi movie starring Mary Louise Parker and Ayo Edebiri. The story follows Zoya Lowe as she gets diagnosed with a black hole in her chest and is given a week to live. However, this is an experience she has had many times before. Until she meets Paula, a young woman who studies time, and together they set out to solve time travel so Zoya can go back in time and live the life she’s always wanted.

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Originally published in The Latino Newsletter–reprinted with permission.

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