Still from the film “Avenues” by Aaref Rodriguez, with Rene Arreola (left), Louie “Ski” Carr, and Hector Atreyu Ruiz. Courtesy Bad Man’s Son Productions

Cine, cine and more cine—the San Francisco Latino Film Festival is here to delight us with cinematic gems from both sides of the border.

Over the course of nine days, Cine+Mas will present a festival of 42 films that include full-length films, shorts, fiction and documentaries from the United States, Latin America and Spain.

The sixth edition of this film festival has a strong California presence.

From Oakland, comes the entertaining “East Side Sushi” by Anthony Lucero, which is about a young Mexican woman who works at a Japanese restaurant and becomes excited to learn how to prepare sushi, despite the surprise of her family.

“East Side Sushi” is a great example of the importance of capturing the interest of the public that revolves around having a heartwarming story to tell.

“Avenues,” directed by Aaref Rodriguez and shot in the Highland Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, is an introspective and concise film that revolves around Saul, who faces the daunting task of reintegrating into society after spending 10 years in prison. With solid performances and a well-constructed script, this film, based on a true story, will keep the viewer guessing.

Also from Los Angeles comes “Cry Now” by Alberto Barboza, which has an entertaining and funny dialogue that contains all of the elements for an enjoyable film: a beautiful tattoo artist, a handsome artist, a torrid love story, violence and a vibrant soundtrack.

From Latin America, we can enjoy a splendid Mexican production “La Jaula de Oro,” which won the Premio Ariel for best picture. This film is about the hardships of two young Guatemalans who cross through Mexico to immigrate to the U.S. This film also provides a strong dose of realism, as this issue has become a contentious topic of public discourse.


Avenues (Aaref Rodriguez, U.S.)

Calloused Hands (Jesse Quinones, U.S.)

Cry Now (Alberto Barboza, U.S.)

Tierra en La Lengua (Rubén Mendoza, Colombia)

East Side Sushi (Anthony Lucero, U.S.)

Cuatro Lunas (Sergio Tovar Velarde, México)

La Jaula de Oro (Diego Quemada-Díez, México/Guatemala)

La Despedida (Alvaro Díaz Lorezo, España)

Esto No Es Una Cita (Guillermo Fernández Groizard, España)

La Navaja de Don Juan (Tom Sanchez, Perú/U.S.)

Corazón de León (Marcos Carnevale, Argentina)

Melaza (Carlos Lechuga, Cuba)

La Otra Familia (Gustavo Loza, México)

Besos de Azucar (Carlos Cuarón, México)

El Verano de los Peces Voladores (Marcela Said, Chile/Francia)

Viaje a Tombuctú (Rossana Díaz Costa, Perú)

Somos Mari Pepa (Samuel Kishi, México)

White Alligator (Raquel Almazan, U.S.)



Beautiful Sin (Gabriela Quirós, U.S./Costa Rica)

Proyecto #945 (Arturo Pérez Torres, México/Uruguay)

Punto A Quiebre (Pamela Yates, Brasil/Colombia/Perú)

Buscando a Gastón (Patricia Pérez, Perú/U.S.)

Free to Love (Jorge Oliver, U.S./Puerto Rico)

The Hand That Feeds (Rachel Lears & Robin Blotnick, U.S.)

Ícaros (Georgina Barreiro, Argentina/Perú)

Sueño Mexicano (Rogelio Alex Ruiz Euler & Jon Wetterau, México/U.S.)

Roque Dalton ¡Fusilemos la noche! (Tina Leisch, Austria/Cuba/El Salvador)

Rumba Clave Blen Blen Blen (Aristides Falcon Paradi, U.S.)

Ulises’ Odyssey (Lorena Manriquez & Miguel Picker, Chile/U.S.)

La sexta edición del Festival de Cine Latino de SF comienza con Cry Now en el Teatro Brava el viernes 19 de septiembre. El festival tendrá lugar en el Cine Opera Plaza, Galería de la Raza, Centro Cultural de la Misión y Red Poppy Art House. Finalizará el 27 de septiembre. Visitar Boletos: $12 general, $10 estudiantes y personas retiradas.


From the Caribbean, swaying back and forth like a sugar cane in the wind, comes the Cuban production “Melaza,” a folkloric drama with fine design and detailed direction by Carlos Lechuga.

Lastly, from Peru comes the intimate story “Viaje a Tombuctu” by Rossana Diaz Costa about teenagers growing up amid violence generated by the armed group Sendero Luminoso during the 1980s and ‘90s.

There will also be a large selection of documentaries available.

“Roque Dalton: Fusilemos la Noche” by Austrian filmmaker Tina Leisch, is an original piece and interesting story surrounding the figure of the Salvadoran poet and activist. Peru’s “Icarus,” is about the Shipibo people of the Ucayali River, and details Ayahuasca rituals. And from the United States comes “Rumba Clave Blen Blen Blen” about rumba music from New York.

Among short films, “Irene,” by Costa Rican director Alexandra Latishov, highlights a subtle and captivating portrait of the dissatisfaction of a single mother; meanwhile the cute Mexican production “Alma y Ezperanza” revolves around the relationship between a girl and her grandmother in Nochixtlan, Oaxaca; and “South American Cho-Low” is an interesting documentary about cholos in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Notable local short films include: “Frontera! Revolt & Rebellion on the Rio Grande” by John J. Leaños, which is about the revolt of the Pueblo indians of New Mexico in the 17th century; and the genuine “One, Two, Three” by Melissa Suncin, which was filmed in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The production of Latino cinema, on both sides of the border, is prolific and healthy. What we have to do now is to attend the screenings of these films in order to show our support and to enjoy the laughter, tears and emotions that are provided by the sixth annual Cine+Mas Latino Film Festival.

—Translation Luis Padilla