Film Festival Celebrates Afro Latino Culture

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This year the Cine Latino Film Festival includes a focus on African heritage and culture in an effort to better reflect the diversity of Latinidad.

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Feven Gerezgiher reports:

This year the Cine Latino Film Festival - which runs through October 14 in Minneapolis and online - includes a focus on African heritage and culture.

“A lot of times when we think of African slavery, we imagine America being the primary source of that, when actually it’s Brazil and the Caribbean islands, and also Central America,” said festival programmer Craig Laurence Rice.

Rice says he wanted to show more films reflecting the racial and cultural diversity of Latinidad while bringing an international dimension to race conversations.

“Films are powerful - I mean it’s the most powerful media we have,” said Rice. “Good and/or bad, it has a message, it deals with emotions, it can deal with human issues that will entice people to rethink and to empathize with some of the people in the films or some of the issues. That's the power of cinema and that's why we use it.”

Cine Latino is put on by MSP Film Society. Last year, the Film Society also created a programming initiative with screenings and community conversations around systemic inequality called “We The People: Required Watching.”

To Eliana Reyes, an Afro-Latina creative, such programming is long overdue, especially in the Midwest where Black and Indigenous identities are seen as separate and distinct.

“There’s this whole community of Dominican, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, even in Panama, and Colombia. We're kind of in the middle. And so a few years ago, this term Afro Latino came about, and it's like, oh, that's the closest thing that I identify with,” she said.

Reyes says she wants to see Afro-Latinx stories in major movies that reflect their complex culture.

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