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The 12th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (CLAIFF) was held from April 22-30, 2009 in Austin, Texas. With 3,200 audience members, CLAIFF screened a total of 116 films representing 23 countries including, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Germany, South Korea, Japan, India, France, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States and Venezuela. This year’s festival also hosted 5 final jury members and 35 international, national and local filmmakers, including directors, producers, actors, screenwriters and music composers.

 

- Click here to see a photo gallery of the festival

- Download a PDF version of the Film Festival Final Report

 

The festival received more than 350 films for review, and the Cine Las Americas film selection committee reviewed over 500 films in total. The program sections for the 2009 festival included New Releases, Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Narrative Shorts in Competition, Documentary Shorts in Competition, Animation, Hecho en Tejas, Panorama and Emergencia Youth Film Festival. The 2009 festival also presented a film retrospective from the year’s invited country of honor, Chile. The selected program covered a wide range of genres, themes, and styles from the years 1994-2004, in the retrospective entitled “Chilean Cinema of the Post-Dictatorship Era.”

 

 

The 12th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival opened on April 22 with the film ALL INCLUSIVE (Chile/Mexico, 2008), directed by Rodrigo Ortúzar at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. The film was well received and captivated many of the 450 audience members in attendance.

The festival closed with a sold out show at the Alamo Drafthouse South, on April 30, with the film ARRANCAME LA VIDA (TEAR THIS HEART OUT, Mexico, 2008) and with Director Roberto Sneider and Producer Francisco Cossio in attendance. The film received many rounds of applause by the audience, and the Q&A session following the screening was interesting and entertaining.

The New Releases selection included the latest work produced by well established Latin American filmmakers, like Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel (THE HEADLESS WOMAN, 2008) and Carlos Sorín (THE WINDOW, 2008), Chile’s Andres Wood (THE GOOD LIFE, 2008), and Mexico’s Fernando Eimbcke (LAKE TAHOE, 2008), among many others, for a total of 18 films.

The festival granted jury awards in five competitive categories, and two Audience Awards. The 2009 winners included: Jury Award for Best First or Second Narrative Feature to EL TRUCO DELMANCO (THE HANDLESS TRICK, Spain, 2008), directed by Santiago Zannou; Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature to INTIMIDADES DE SHAKESPEARE Y VÍCTOR HUGO (SHAKESPEARE AND VICTOR HUGO’S INTIMACIES, Mexico, 2008), directed by Yulene Olaizola,; Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature to UNIDAD 25 (UNIT 25 Argentina/Spain, 2008), directed by Alejo Hoijman; Jury Award for Best Narrative Short to DANZAK (Peru/USA, 2008), directed by Gabriela Yepes; Special Jury Award for Narrative Short to SALIVA (Brazil, 2007), directed by Esmir Filho; Jury Award for Best Documentary Short to CONVERSATIONS II (Peru/USA, 2007), directed by Marianela Vega Oroza; Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature to CINCO DÍAS SIN NORA (NORA’S WILL, Mexico, 2008), directed by Mariana Chenillo; and Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature to EL GENERAL(USA/Mexico, 2009), directed by Natalia Almada. The winner of the 2009 Emergencia Youth Film Competition was JOURNEYS THROUGH THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE: BRIAN’S JOURNEY (USA, 2008), directed by Andrea Williams.

The Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) presented a free series made up of 17 screenings of 30 short and feature-length films. Several of the films included in the series were of interest to the Austin community, and the Emergencia Youth Film Competition. Also included in the general program were a new Animation showcase, featuring short animated films from four different countries, and “Hecho en Tejas”, a section devoted to the work of local and statewide filmmakers.

Extensive press coverage for the festival by English and Spanish language media outlets included El Mundo Newspaper, Austin American-Statesman, The Austin Chronicle, The Texas Observer, Austin Monthly, ¡ahora sí!, The Daily Texan, The Onion, Hitz 107.7 FM, Univision, News 8 Austin, KUT 90.5 FM, Austinist.com, Naica.org, and LatAmCinema.com. Additionally, traffic on the Cine Las Americas website increased by 125% compared to the previous year.

The Presenting Sponsor of the 12th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival was The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. Premiere Sponsors included American Airlines, the official airline of the festival, Univision, and Latinworks, one of the most prominent Hispanic advertising agencies in the country, and a new Cine Las Americas partner. Main Sponsors included the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Regal Cinemas, the Foreign Relations Ministry of Chile, and the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), and the Alamo Drafthouse. Supporting sponsors included the Mexican Consulate in Austin, Austin Film Society, H-E-B, and The University of Texas at Austin. Contributors to the event also included local businesses and members of the community.

“As a supporter of Cine Las Americas since its inception, I would like to congratulate you, your staff and volunteers and your sponsors and supporters for the great programming you continue to offer. Just when it seems like the films cannot get any better, you consistently raise the bar. Last night’s film,
ARRANCAME LA VIDA, was superb and having Roberto Sneider, the director, in attendance made it extra special. I am looking forward to reading the book!”
Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, Travis County District Clerk.

The 12th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival in figures:
• 3,200 festival attendees • 1,000,000 average hits on www.cinelasamericas.org during the month of April
• 116 films screened
• 23 countries represented
• 85 total screenings
• 35 filmmakers in attendance
• 17 free screenings

The 13th annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival is scheduled for April 2010, with Mexico as the invited country.