What started off as a one night showcase of experimental film at LA Film School in 2013, led to this year’s first Latina/o Queer Arts and Film Festival that was held from April 10-13 in Los Angeles. Filmmaker and founder Jonathan Menendez wants to use LQAFF as a platform for those voices we don’t hear in the mainstream. Naturally, the roster of talent included eclectic visual artists, fearless performers, and films old and new. A gallery opening kicked off the festival, followed by the opening night with transVISIBLE The Bamby Salcedo Story and an after-party with live music.
So get cute and check out the full schedule going down at The Village.
Director: Jules Nurrish
This short film, starring the budding actor Raúl Castillo (HBO’s Looking) tells the story of boxer Kid Vargas, and what begins to unravel once he kills a man in the ring. The trailer has Johnny Cash “Hurt” playing and it’s all very broody. Don’t mind!
I don't mind. Esta fuerte, mijo!
Loving the Bony Lady
Director: Scott Elliot
Arely Gonzalez has the largest private altar for Santa Muerte in NYC. La Santa Muerte, although condemned by the Catholic church, is widely worshiped by people who may be on the wrong side of life but still need salvation. In this short documentary we meet La Santa Muerta and her devotees.
TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story
Director: Dante Alencastre
This documentary highlights an icon of L.A.’s transgender community, Latina activist Bamby Salcedo. From her humble beginnings and her struggle with drugs to her out spoken activism towards HIV, Bamby’s story is one of heartache and triumph.
Gay Latino L.A.: Coming of Age
Director: Jonathan Menendez
Following the story of three different Latino men in L.A. this doc by the festival's founder Jonathan Menendez introduces us to Carlos, a South LA homeboy who parties to cope with his struggle; Alex, a Mexican hipster dealing with immigration issues; and Brian, who is finding his place in the world after graduating from UC Berkeley. While dealing with chauvinistic fathers, their religious ties, and relationships we see their unique stories ebb and flow in the streets of LA.
The Last Match (La Partida)
Director: Antonio Hens
Living down & out in Cuba, Renier works as a call boy in order to support his wife, child, and mother. Strictly business. While his best friend Yosvani is engaged to a young girl and living with their dirtbag father. When the friends share a kiss and lines begin to blur, Renier and Yosvani must face themselves, their family and the reality they want to live in or escape from.
Most of these movies are hard to find, but you can watch Raúl Castillo pound flesh in Kiss Me on itunes.