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PR- 158-04
June 23, 2004


Festival Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary with HBO As Presenting Sponsor

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Latin Media & Entertainment Commission along with HBO today announced the dates and films for this year's New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF).  NYILFF, which will run from July 27 through August 1, 2004, is celebrating its fifth year and will feature an impressive slate of more than 60 films including several U.S. premieres.  Joining the Mayor for this announcement were the festival's Executive Director Calixto Chinchilla, Co-Chair of the Latin Media & Entertainment Commission Mario Baeza, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, Executive Director of the Latin Media & Entertainment Commission Elizabeth Caldas, HBO Vice President of Subscriber Marketing & Brand Development Bernadette Aulestia, Actor, Writer, Producer and Director John Leguizamo, and Musician and Mayor's Liaison to Latin Media & Entertainment Commission Willie Colon.  

"It is my pleasure to welcome the New York International Film Festival for its fifth year," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This event has become a summer tradition, bringing all New Yorkers powerful films from around the U.S. and Latin America.  Half of the films being featured this year were shot right here in our very own City, and one of the premiere films stars Latin Media & Entertainment Commission member Antonio Banderas."        

"With the support of our partners, the festival will continue to provide Latino filmmakers the opportunity to highlight the diversity of our culture on film," shared Festival Executive Director Calixto Chinchilla.  "Over the past five years, we have built a solid reputation for being a platform to showcase Latino filmmakers and Latino film, and this year's offering is our strongest and most diverse yet."

"The Latin Media & Entertainment Commission is proud to support the New York International Latino Film Festival in its efforts to promote the art, culture and vision of emerging Latino filmmakers," said Commission Co-Chair and Time Warner Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Lisa Quiroz.

The festival will open on July 27th with the U.S. premiere of Arenas Entertainment's Imagining Argentina, starring Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and Ruben Blades. This powerful and epic story is set in Argentina during the 1970's when the people were forced to live under a corrupt military dictatorship. Those who opposed it risked their lives, and the lives of their families, and became "desaparecidos" (the disappeared). Banderas plays Carlos Rueda who uses hope, courage and the will to survive to search for his outspoken journalist wife (Emma Thompson) and their daughter (Leticia Dolera) when they suddenly become "desaparecidas." The screening will take place on Tuesday, July 27 at 7:00 p.m. at United Artists Union Square Theatres on East 13th Street.

"There is no better city than New York to host the International Latino Film Festival and showcase the work of these talented filmmakers," said Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. "We are pleased to offer free permits, locations and police assistance, as well as the richest talent pool in the world, to this outstanding community.   Our creative resources represent cultures from around the globe, and we are committed to making New York City the Latin media and entertainment capital of the world."

"As more doors open, festivals like the New York International Latino Film Festival take on a pivotal role in the future of Latino cinema," said Bernadette Aulestia, Vice President of Subscriber Marketing & Brand Development at HBO.  "We're pleased to see how the festival has grown to the premiere international event it is today and we're proud to be a partner in the creation of this year's Latino Filmmaker Competition."

The NYILFF lineup also includes the N.Y. premiere of Sergio Arau's A Day Without A Mexican, a political comedy that describes what would happen if all Latinos suddenly disappeared from California.  The festival will close with Marisol Torres's Boricua, a film about four Puerto Rican youths from Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, dealing with issues of cultural identity, gentrification, love and pride. Utilizing a style reminiscent of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" and Darnell Martin's "I Like it Like That," a colorful group of characters fill the screen, and deliver an irreverent, unflinching, semi autobiographical tale in this debut feature film.  Closing night is Saturday, July 31 at 8pm at Florence Gould Hall.

All films, with the exception of opening night will be screened at Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street off Park Avenue and at the Lighthouse, 111 East 59th Street between Lexington & Park Avenues.  A full roster of festival films, special activities and tickets can be obtained on the festival's website, or by calling the festival hotline at 212-726-2358. Tickets are on sale now.

The 2004 New York International Latino Film Festival also is made possible with the support of The New York Times, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Volkswagen, The New York State Department of Health's Reality Check campaign, American Airlines, Jack Daniels, NBC/Telemundo, Roger Smith Hotel, WKTU, Latino Mix, Writers Guild of America, East, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nick at Nite and TV Land, with additional support from The New York State Council on the Arts, Sideshow Creative and Somos Arte.

The New York International Latino Film Festival is the first festival in New York City to showcase the works of national Latino filmmakers alongside international Latin American films, while offering expansive images of the Latino experience. The festival presents works in the categories of Feature Film (in Spanish and English) and Vanguard Cinema, which includes experimental works, documentaries, student works and short films.  The 6-day festival also includes panel discussions, educational forums and special events.


Ed Skyler / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

Barbie Casasus (Edelman)   (212) 704-8163

Angela Sustaita (Edelman)   (212) 704-8101

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