The Complete List Of Must-Watch Latino Films from the 37th SXSW Film Festival

From left to right: movie stills from the films Problemista, If You Were the Last, Upon Entry and I Am A Noise.
Source: IMDB

After a 10-day run from March 10-19 in Austin, Texas, the 37th SXSW Film Festival has come to a close.

The festival showcased an impressive selection of U.S. Latine and Latin American films, featuring works from countries like Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Colombia, and Panama. The festival included a diverse array of cinema, further cementing the festival's reputation as a launchpad for filmmakers of color.

These Latine and Latin American movies coming out of the festival will appeal to all kinds of interests, showing that Latino stories, like all stories, are universal.


Flamin' Hot

Still from the film Flamin' Hot

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Eva Longoria's latest directorial project is a biographical drama that recounts the inspiring tale of Richard Montañez. The film, written by Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette, follows Montañez's journey from being a janitor at Frito Lay to creating an international sensation with his invention of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Drawing on his Mexican American roots and upbringing, Montañez's snack innovation disrupted the food industry and became a cultural phenomenon.

Story Ave

Still from the film Story Ave

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Aristotle Torres has assembled a noteworthy cast for his latest film, "In Story Ave," which features talented actors such as Asante Blackk, Luis Guzmán, and Alex Hibbert. The movie portrays the story of a teenage graffiti artist who runs away from home and holds up an unsuspecting MTA worker during a successful robbery. The incident deeply affects both the artist and the worker, setting them on a path of unforeseen consequences.

Problemista

Still from the film Problemista

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

The latest film from Julio Torres offers viewers a surreal journey through the dangerous landscapes of the U.S. immigration system and New York City. The movie follows Alejandro, a Salvadoran toy designer, who struggles to realize his unconventional ideas in the city that never sleeps. As his work visa deadline looms, Alejandro's only chance to stay in the country and pursue his dreams rests on a job assisting an eccentric art-world personality.

You Were My First Boyfriend

Still from the film You Were My First Boyfriend

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

In her latest project, "You Were My First Boyfriend," Cecilia Aldarondo collaborates with co-director Sarah Enid Hagey. Drawing on her own teenage years, Aldarondo reimagines the conventional high school reunion story in a distinctive and captivating manner. The film explores the filmmaker's past experiences as she ponders whether her recollection of her tumultuous adolescence is accurate or distorted by the passage of time.

Hail Mary

Still from the film Hail Mary

Source: SXSW

Source: SXSW

In "Hail Mary," we follow the journey of Maria, a Belizean girl who finds herself pregnant under unusual circumstances. With danger lurking in every corner, including the Cartels, the Border Patrol, a deadly virus, and the Devil's right-hand man, Maria must make her way through the treacherous U.S./Mexico border. This retelling of the story of Mary and Joseph challenges our perception of good and evil, forcing us to question the true nature of the monsters.

If You Were the Last

Still from the film If You Were the Last

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

In this film, we are immersed in a thrilling story of two astronauts stranded in a malfunctioning space shuttle with little hope of rescue. As they float through the vast and empty space, a male and female astronaut engage in an intense conversation about the nature of their relationship. With limited time left, they must confront a difficult decision: maintain their platonic friendship or explore the possibility of something more.

The Long Game

Still from the film The Long Game

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

This film tells an inspiring true story of a group of Mexican-American high school students who strive to overcome adversity. When they are prohibited from playing golf at the club where they caddied, they take matters into their own hands and form their own team. With grit and determination, they construct a one-hole course in a field and, against all odds, emerge as champions of the 1957 Texas State Championship.

Upon Entry

Still from the film Upon Entry

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Directed by Rojas and Vásquez, "Upon Entry" portrays the struggles of Diego, an urbanist from Venezuela, and Elena, a contemporary dancer from Barcelona, as they embark on a new life in the United States. Despite their approved visas, they encounter harsh scrutiny and a grueling interrogation at Newark airport's immigration area. Follow the couple's emotional journey as they fight to prove their innocence and overcome the obstacles that threaten to derail their future.

Kite Zo A

Still from the film Kite Zo A

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

"Kite Zo A" is a sensory film that takes viewers on an immersive journey into the vibrant world of Haitian rituals. Directed by a diverse group of artists, the film features an array of talents ranging from poets and dancers to musicians and fishermen. It delves into the fascinating world of Vodou priests and daredevil rollerbladers, offering a unique perspective on ancient and modern traditions. The film is set to the captivating poetry of celebrated Haitian author Wood-Jerry Gabriel, providing an insight into Haiti's rich culture and history.

My Drywall Cocoon

Still from the film My Drywall Cocoon

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

The Brazilian film "My Drywall Cocoon" takes audiences on a transformative journey as the characters deal with the aftermath of Virginia's sudden death on her 17th birthday. While many residents of the luxurious building complex remain unaffected by the tragedy, Virginia's mother and close friends are deeply impacted. As they navigate their grief, they undergo a personal transformation, symbolized by the cracks in their drywall cocoon. The film explores the powerful themes of loss, healing, and personal growth, providing a moving and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Sister & Sister

Still from the film Sister & Sister

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Kattia G. Zúñiga's debut feature "Sister & Sister" takes viewers on a journey of self-discovery, desire, and sisterhood. Set during Panama's never-ending tropical summer, the film follows two sisters as they travel from Costa Rica to Panama in search of their missing father. As they confront the complexities of their relationship, jealousy, and friction arise, but the journey also offers opportunities for new friendships, romantic love, and self-discovery. They find their path to personal liberation through skateboarding and the simple pleasures of hanging out. The movie's captivating story captures the essence of youth and the power of sisterhood against a stunning tropical backdrop.

Chronicles of a Wandering Saint

Still from Chronicles of a Wandering Saint

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Tomás Gómez Bustillo's Argentine film is set in a small rural village and follows the story of Rita Lopez, a devout yet fiercely competitive woman. In her quest for sainthood, Rita discovers that staging a miracle could be her path to achieving her aspirations. The film explores themes of faith, ambition, and the human desire for recognition and significance.

Anhell69

Still from the film Anhell69

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Theo Montoya's Colombian film, "Anhell69," is set to have its U.S. premiere in the "Visions" sidebar of the SWSW Film Festival. The section is dedicated to showcasing the work of audacious and risk-taking filmmakers who defy traditional categorization in documentary and narrative filmmaking. "Anhell69" delves into the dreams, doubts, and fears of a generation that has been devastated and explores the struggle to continue making cinema. The film offers a poignant commentary on the human condition and the resilience of the human spirit. With its powerful message and creative approach to storytelling, "Anhell69" promises to be a standout film in the festival's lineup.

Going Varsity in Mariachi

Still from the documentary Going Varsity in Mariachi

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

This documentary follows the story of Edinburg North High School's mariachi coach, Abel Acuña, and his team of musicians as they navigate personal hardships and teenage distractions to rebuild their squad and reclaim their title as state champions. Set against the backdrop of the Rio Grande Valley, the film provides a glimpse into the world of competitive high school mariachi and the resilience of its participants. "Going Varsity in Mariachi" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January and continues to captivate audiences with its inspiring and entertaining portrayal of the highs and lows of the mariachi world.

Deadland

Still from the film Deadland

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Deadland, Lance Larson's feature film debut, depicts the tragic story of U.S. Border agent Angel Waters (played by Roberto Urbina from Snowpiercer) whose routine border crossing turns into a personal nightmare. Despite taking the immigrant into custody, their death at a border outpost is just the beginning of Angel's suffering. This eerie film blends the genres of thriller and psychological character study.

Little Richard: I Am Everything

Still from the film Little Richard: I Am Everything

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

A celebration of the revolutionary and deeply conflicted artist who navigated the minefields of race and sexuality as he spread the gospel of rock n' roll. The film, directed by Colombian-American Emmy-winning director and producer Lisa Cortés, offers a comprehensive and intimate portrait of the life and career of Little Richard, one of the most influential and controversial figures in the history of popular music. Through interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, as well as archival footage and recordings, the documentary illuminates the complex persona of this trailblazing artist.

I Am A Noise

Still from the film I Am A Noise

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Directed by Karen O'Connor, Miri Navasky, and Maeve O'Boyle, this documentary offers an intimate look into the life and legacy of legendary singer and activist Joan Baez, who is Mexican and Scottish. as she faces the end of her 60-year career. With candid reflections and personal revelations, Baez takes a deep look inward, shedding light on the struggles she has kept private until now.

Rebelión

Still from the film Rebelion

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

"Rebelión," a Colombian film directed by José Luis Rugeles Gracia, tells the story of salsa musician Joe Arroyo, who is a genius in the depths of his intimacy. The film portrays the heartbeat of a soul tormented by the great love of music. Set against the backdrop of Colombia, the film offers a captivating exploration of the life of a musician, delving into his creative process, personal struggles, and the cultural significance of his art.

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