Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival 2019: Latino Film Highlights

“Buy Me a Gun”. Photo Credit: Cinequest

Arturo Hilario

El Observador

For film fans and the technology-curious alike, Cinequest Film Festival, now named Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, brings a yearly opportunity to delve into the worlds of cinema, technology, and art within the setting of vibrant downtown San Jose locations.

Every year, patrons have the option of experiencing hundreds of films and many other experiences, so it can be a little daunting figuring out what to watch and do. From virtual reality to watching live painting, Cinequest provides an opportunity to experience so much within its two-week schedule.

With Cinequest’s handy guidebooks, as well as their website and good old word of mouth, you can help narrow your options to a film or experience you might end up walking out of speechless or in stitches from laughter.

For this piece, we are helping by highlighting the various Latino-centric films and experiences at Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival this year, which brings diverse options from countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Spain, and the US. Also included are several prominent Latino actors in films that although might not be Latino-focused, have great premises and feature the aforementioned actors.

So, if you are planning on attending, from now until the end of the festival on March 17, 2019, here are some highlights from Latino creators, including short films, a virtual reality experience starring Diego Luna, and webisodes.

Feature Films

Buy Me a Gun | Mexico | Drama

In an unspecified future time, somewhere in Mexico, women are disappearing at an alarming rate and drug cartels run the area. Huck, a 12-year-old girl, lives with her addict father in a trailer, and helps him take care of an abandoned baseball camp where narcos gather to play. Her father tries to protect Huck by disguising her as a boy using a face mask, as daily gunfights erupt all around them, and death and destruction are the norm.

Clean Hands | USA, Nicaragua |Documentary| World Premiere

At La Chureca, a massive dump in Nicaragua, young Manuel, Zulema, Chico, and Edgar wait eagerly for the dump trucks, hoping to find leftover food. They work alongside their demanding mother, pulling out any usable discards in order to salvage an existence. Everything they know is this life of extreme poverty until an American philanthropist steps in and buys them a modest home with land to farm.

The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia | Cuba | Comedy

How about an inter-galactic trip with random strangers to a planet of friendly aliens? Too much? Not for Celeste. A guide at the local planetarium in Havana, Cuba, Celeste has always been curious about life. Her predictable daily routine is boring, hopeless, and devoid of family love. But her compassionate, kind soul has made some unlikely friends—one of whom is her weird next-door Russian neighbor…who turns out to be an alien. When this alien personally invites Celeste to be a part of the expedition to visit her planet, Celeste jumps at the opportunity. Thus begins an incredible journey that’s hilarious, exciting, and everything Celeste craved and deserved.

The Hummingbird Project (Starring Salma Hayek) | Drama

Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) play scheming cousins Vincent and Anton Zalesky in Academy Award–nominated director Kim Nguyen’s (War Witch) The Hummingbird Project. In the hopes of striking it rich, the cousins try to build a thousand-mile-long, four-inch-wide tunnel from Kansas to New Jersey that will give them a one- millisecond edge on transactions at the New York Stock Exchange. They end up in the crosshairs of their ruthless former employer Eva Torres (Salma Hayek, Frida), a Wall Street lion willing to devour anyone in her path. Time is rapidly running out on the guys’ outrageous plan.

Little Histories | Venezuela | Drama | World Premiere

Set in the eventful five-day period of the 2002 Venezuelan military coup, five fictional stories occur between the start of the coup and the return of President Hugo Chavez. As the coup plays out—often seen on the TV or heard through noises in the background—ordinary lives unfold in extraordinary situations.

Original Sin | Paraguay | Comedy

Day 731 of marriage. Why is Eva counting the days since her wedding? Her marriage to Adrian is not what she expected. She feels neglected and unnoticed and tries to fulfill herself through fantasies. When an unexpected guest, an exceedingly handsome painter, Luis, enters the picture, all hell breaks loose. Caught in the crossfire between Eva’s frustration and Adrian’s anger, Luis tries to play peacemaker. But once the flood gates open, only bedlam ensues.

Rich Kids | US | Drama

The rich and the poor may share a neighborhood, but the invisible wall that separates them seems insurmountable. Yet, Matias and his friends find a way inside by breaking into a local mansion, “Los Ricos”. Used to hardships and evictions, this mansion and its comforts are heaven to the boys. However, what starts as innocent fun, could have disastrous consequences. These kids may not be rich in stature, but their intellect, spirit, passion, and talent, make up for it. For what they ultimately seek, is not out of grasp. They have what it takes; they just have to recognize it. Told through the eyes of amazing Latino and Afro-Latino Kids, this film takes a heartfelt look at modern-day economic disparity, its challenges, and its opportunities.

Tripping-Thru Keta | Mexico | Comedy | US Premiere

It’s crazy out there today, what with all the drugs, polyamory, and YouTube. Keta, a big girl with bigger dreams, starts selling drugs, and ends up encountering the strange new world that is her neighborhood. From her interactions with swingers, housewives, a telenovela actress, and more, we follow Keta through a world that is sexy, strange, and stylish. Gorgeous cinematography combines with psychedelic editing to make Tripping Thru Keta a trip with all the intensity of a week-long bender.

Lupe | LGBT | Drama | World Premiere

Rafael, a Cuban boxer, desperately looks for his sister Isabelle—believing her to have fallen into prostitution in New York City. The city’s underworld turns bloody as Rafael continues his quest to liberate his sister from a life of exploitation. And then…something changes, as he begins to present himself as a transgender woman.

Virtual Reality

CROW: THE LEGEND (Starring Diego Luna)

From an old American Indian legend, follow the story of a few early animals who are introduced to their first winter. They must now quickly change their lives in order to survive and bring back summer.


M | Argentina | Horror | US Premiere

An exhilarating horror-thriller from Argentina, M follows Diane and Tim, a young American couple who travel to Patagonia to search for Tim’s father, a biologist who disappeared 10 years earlier. With the help of Alejandro, a con man who knows the area well, they enter the woods with the remote hope of finding him, but soon discover that something supernatural is lurking.

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