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2021 North Carolina Latin American Film Festival

2021 NCLAFF celebrates the emerging vision of Afro-Latin Americans in film

The 36th North Carolina Latin American Film Festival (NCLAFF) returns in October 2021 with films and events that highlight the vision of Afro-Latin American filmmakers in Latin America and the Caribbean. It begins Thursday, Oct. 7, and will have in-person as well as virtual screenings.

NCLAFF is presented by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. All films and events are free and open to the public.

After a tumultuous year in which past and present challenges touched us all (systemic racism, massive protests, and a global pandemic among others), the 2021 edition of NCLAFF focuses on some of these issues, and issues of the diaspora, from the lenses of Afro-Latin American directors and producers.

The festival also brings film directors, scholars, critics, and cultural leaders working on Afro-Latin American film to share work that examines issues such as race, gender, and national identity in films underlining the black cultural experience in their production.

“For decades, cultural producers from the African diaspora have been raising their voices in the cultural sector, and now we have a new generation of audiovisual creators sharing innovative and relevant stories about the experiences of Afro descendants in the continent,” said NCLAFF director Miguel Rojas-Sotelo.

“After celebrating 35 years the NCLAFF decided to look at these stories in particular as Latin America is also facing the Black Lives Matter movement and an increase in the participation of multiple communities in the shaping of the cultural experience in the region,” he said.

Afrovisualidades: An Emergence of Vision” (October 8 and 9) is a series of conversations with these cultural producers, including Marángell Mejía-Rabell, director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival; Joseph Jordan, founder of the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center; and Arnold Antonin, Haiti’s most prominent documentary filmmaker.

From left: Haitian filmmaker Arnold Antonin, PLFF director Marángell Mejía-Rabell, and Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film founder and UNC Vice Provost, Joseph Jordan

Attendees of the festival will also have the opportunity to discuss several films with the directors, including Johnny Hendrix Hinestroza, who directed the Cuban/Colombian film Candelaria (Oct. 9) and the Colombian film Choco (Oct. 17), and Carlos Smith Rovira, director of Hierro Animation, whose animated short, Mi Abuela will be screened on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

Director of the animated short Guillermina, Aida Esther Bueno-Sarduy will give a public talk, “Afro-reconstructions in the Caribbean: Visual archives and embodied memories” for the John Hope Franklin Center series, Wednesdays at the Center, at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Exploring Afro-Latino Identity Through the Arts” will be the theme of a K-12 teacher workshop at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, where Rojas-Sotelo, visual artist Tina Louise Vasquez, and dancer Melissa Villodas will discuss what it means to be Afro-Latin American and other issues of representation.

The festival also brings award-winning films, including Bacurau – starring Sonia Braga – winner of the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize, and Stateless (Apátrida), about Haitians in the Dominican Republic who have had their DR citizenship stripped away, winner of the special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.

Left: Still from Bacarau, directed by Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho. Right: Stateless (Apátrida), directed by Michèle Stephenson)

NCLAFF partners again with two theaters, Chelsea Theatre in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Oct. 11), and the Carolina Theatre of Durham (Oct. 18). Films will be screened in person and proof of vaccination is required. The evening at the Carolina Theatre will feature the film Ruben Blades is Not My Name and also a salute to the “Heroes of the Pandemic,” which focuses on the work of Latin-19, a group of Latina doctors and activists who, despite the absence of state or federal support, took their community’s health into their own hands.

For the third year NCLAFF collaborates with the North Carolina Museum of Art to present Stealing Rodin (Robar a Rodin) about the theft of a statue by Auguste Rodin from the Palace of Fine Arts in Chile (Oct. 31).

From Stealing Rodin (Robar a Rodin)

More information about these events and others can be found on our website: https://nclatinamericanfilmfestival.org/

The North Carolina Latin American Film Festival is made possible by the generous support of the U.S. Department of Education and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is grateful for the support of the Carolina Theatre of Durham, the Chelsea Theater, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, Duke University Libraries, and Pragda.

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Jennifer Prather
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