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Photos by Taymaz Valley / Apt613

Latin American Film Festival will bring cinema from across Latin America to the Ottawa Art Gallery—05.09.18-05.31.18

By Taymaz Valley on May 7, 2018

The Latin American Film Festival 2018 will be held at the newly renovated Ottawa Art Gallery from May 9-31 and will feature films and documentaries from 17 different Latin American countries. This year marks the 22nd year the festival has been organized by the Latin American Group (GRULA) in conjunction with the Canadian Film Institute. The Ottawa Art Gallery, with its open and airy spaces and breathtaking art, is the perfect setting for this spectacular gathering of film enthusiasts.

Attendees at the launch of the Latin American Film Festival. Photo by Taymaz Valley / Apt613.

Latin American cinema has been gathering momentum on the international scene for sometime, and has seen renewed interest by the global audiences through the success of directors like Fernando Meirelles, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro. The revolutionary development in Latin American cinema is the growing involvement of women, and indeed this year’s Ottawa Latin American Film Festival boasts of eight films showcased being directed by talented and visionary women.

Diversity has always been the key component, and the strength of Latin American cinema. Whether historical in nature, or delving deeper into the socio-economical and geo-political aspects of their land, Latin directors have managed to adopt an acutely realist approach to film that is never short of humour and humanity.

The films showing are:

Wednesday May 9

The Strength of the Ball – Alberto Serra – Panama – A must see for all soccer enthusiasts, this documentary explores the passion for the game of football, and how far people are willing to go in order to be involved in the “beautiful game”.

Thursday May 10

Alba – Ana Cristina Barragan – Ecuador – This award winning film explores the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, and how Alba tries to find her place when forced to live with the father she had never known.

The Dicaprio of Corozopando – Luis Octavian Rahamut – Venezuela – A humorous tale of residents coming together and putting their hopes in a child to bring international fame to their small town.

Friday May 11

Size Does Matter – Rafa Lara – Mexico – the opposite attract in this suggestive romantic comedy featuring Ximena Ayala and Vadhir Derbez.

Saturday May 12

From Upwind to Downwind – Pilar Colome – El Salvador – a magnificent documentary about aspirations and perseverance of three brothers who want to race sailboats internationally.

Bad Influence – Claudia Huaiquimilla – Chile – exploration of friendship between two teens, one from a troubled household in Santiago and one from the indigenous Mapuche community.

Sunday May 13

Cloudy Times – Arami Ullon – Paraguay – a deeply delicate and timely film explores the unavoidability of decline in old age, and how people close to the person needing care deal with it all.

First Lady of the Revolution – Andrea Kalin – Costa Rica – an important documentary about Henrietta Boggs and her role in the democratization of Costa Rica.

Monday May 14

Not Like Before – Lester Hamlet – Cuba – a tender story of a couple who meet after years apart to discover that change is inevitable. Actor Luis Alberto Garcia will attend the screening to introduce the film.

Tuesday May 15

Dark Skull – Kiro Russo – Bolivia – this powerful film explores the cohesion efforts within a disadvantaged indigenous mining community.

Wednesday May 16

A Place in the Caribbean – Juan Carlos Fanconi – Honduras – a seducing film about love stories that take place in the Caribbean.

Tuesday May 22

Patricia: The Return From The Dream – Rene Fortunato – Dominican Republic – a romantic and explorative look at a nation through the eyes of a broken hearted returning expat.

Wednesday May 23

The Dragon Defense – Natalia Santa – Colombia – A film about human fragility, flaws and hope that will eternally beat in the heart of all people no matter how far from the shores they have drifted.

Friday May 25

Aquarius – Kleber Mendonca Filbo – Brazil – featuring Sonia Braga, this is a timely story of one woman’s struggles standing up to a big cooperation that is planning to buy and remodel her neighbourhood for profit.

Saturday May 26

I Tita, A Life of Tango – Maria Teresa Constantini – Argentina – film about the life and times of the charming and fascinating dancer, singer and actress Tita Merello.

Wednesday May 30

Climates – Enrica Perez – Peru – dramatizing the lives of three different women from hugely distinct backgrounds and geographic parts of Peru.

Thursday May 31

Another Story of the World – Guillermo Casanova – Uruguay – a clever and tongue-in-cheek story of comradeship and standing up to powerful entities that abuse their position.


The Latin American Film Festival 2018 will be held at the Ottawa Art Gallery from May 9-31. Tickets are available at the Canadian Film Institute website. For more information and how to get to the screenings you can also visit the OAG website. The films will be in their native languages of Spanish and Portuguese, with English subtitles.