For the 18th consecutive year, Austin will serve as host to a wide range of international films and filmmakers as the festival creates networking opportunities for industry professionals, and provides a rich cultural experience for statewide audiences. The festival will showcase contemporary films from the US, Canada, Latin America (North Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. All films are presented in English and/or subtitled.
Jean Lauer leads the coordination of this year's festival as Film Festival Director. Jean has worked with Cine Las Americas since 2009 as film programmer for the festival and other year round Cine screenings. "Cine Las Americas is an organization that, like many arts organizations, continues to evolve over the years," says Jean. "Each year, Cine's goal is to respond to new trends and voices in film and media arts, and showcase the best local, national and international talent at the festival."
In 2014, the festival screened 63 feature films and 81 short films, representing over 30 countries. In its history, Cine Las Americas has presented more than 1,700 films in Austin and at various screenings across the state of Texas, becoming one of the most prestigious Latino film organizations in the country.
Cine Las Americas enriches the diversity and cultural vibrancy of Austin by screening an average of 150 films a year from over 30 different countries and a variety of indigenous cultures. Most of these screenings take place during the annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, and an increasing number of films are part of year round screenings which include free community screenings and monthly shows at the partnering local cinemas. The film festival includes a special section featuring films made by Latino and indigenous filmmakers working in Texas, and a full selection of international titles.
By highlighting Latino and indigenous cinema from the Americas, the organization offers a unique opportunity for seeing films that otherwise will not find a place on the big screen. In 2015, more than half of all Cine Las Americas events will be free and open to the public, and all films are subtitled in English.
To offer quality programming to the community, Cine Las Americas will need to cover costs for staff, guests, screening fees, shipping, and promotion.
Staff: Though the production of the festival and year-round events may benefit from the participation of volunteers, Cine Las Americas assumes the costs for programming, promoting, and ensuring technically proficient shows.
Guests: Each year, Cine Las Americas invites national and international guests to attend the annual festival, hosting as many of them as possible. These guests are filmmakers and/or experts in their fields in the film industry. Their presence compliments the film program. Q&A sessions, along with other audience engagement opportunities, provide Cine attendees the opportunity to learn more about Latino and indigenous film and culture.
Screening Fees: Every film screened by Cine Las Americas is always cleared for copyright and exhibition rights. Negotiations are conducted as needed with each film's director, producers, sales agent or distributor, in order to secure that Cine Las Americas is legally authorized to screen each film. Even when screenings are offered free of cost to the community, the films may have a screening fee associated.
Shipping: Cine Las Americas screens films in the highest resolution possible. For this, it is normally necessary to ship exhibition copies of each film for screening in Austin, and in turn, Cine Las Americas assumes costs to ship exhibition copies back to their owners.
Promotion: Cine Las Americas assumes costs associated with promoting the festival and year-round screenings and events. This promotion not only aims to advance the organization and increase community engagement, it explicitly highlights the films and filmmakers whose work is central to sustaining our mission.
I got involved with Cine Las Americas after being invited to serve on the jury, which I was absolutely honored to do. I attended some films in my capacity as a juror and others as just a regular festival-goer, and in both instances, I found CLA to be one of the most rewarding festival experiences I've ever had. The films were uniformly wonderful, the audiences (clearly hungry to see more of these films shown in Austin) were incredibly positive and respectful to the films and filmmakers, and the filmmakers themselves were obviously having a great time and were very generous with their stories in the Q&As. All of this was made possible by the amazing CLA staff working tirelessly to ensure everything ran smoothly and everyone was happy. I feel pretty confident in saying that I would have never seen any of the 15 or so films I saw at CLA if I hadn't attended the festival, either because I wouldn't have had another opportunity or because these just simply aren't the films I seek out on a regular basis. That's why I think CLA is so unique and vital to the Austin film community - it has introduced me to important work that I might have missed and now will never forget.
Rosalba Ojeda, Consul General of Mexico in Austin, Texas
The Consulate General of Mexico greatly values our long lasting partnership with Cine Las Americas and the great programming that has resulted from our efforts to celebrate Mexican films in Texas. Eugenio del Bosque and his team truly strive to bring the best films to our community and we hope to continue to help them support Mexico's rich tradition and grow in presence in Austin.
Nicole Elmer, Director of In the Shadow, Hecho en Tejas program, 15th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
I find Cine's uniqueness exists in the year-long programming of content that we don't normally see, even in specialty DVD rental stores. It's important to continually showcase work by or about Latinos and Indigenous people as these works can be overlooked by most media outlets in existence today. Cine continually supports these screenings of works that might never have exposure in this part of the country. Austin is not a huge town (yet), and so to have unique programming like this is akin to what I feel larger cultural centers like New York or Los Angeles might experience. It gives Austin an edge, culturally-speaking.
David Fabelo, Filmmaker, Test Day, Hecho en Tejas program, 8th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival
Test Day was the first project I submitted to festivals and Cine hosted its world premiere. The festival was so welcoming. Test Day was just this little movie I made in college lampooning experiences I had as a kid with a mixed cultural background. I had no expectations other than I hoped people liked the movie and laughed at enough jokes for me to validate that yes, I had in fact made a comedy. The programmers and audience at Cine really embraced the film. When Test Day won the Best Hecho En Tejas Award, it was a real boost of confidence for me as a young Latino filmmaker still finding his voice.
Cine has exposed me to stories and styles of filmmaking that, at times, are easy to overlook in an overstocked American market. It's easy to get caught up in the familiar rhythms of American mainstream and independent film when that's all that's offered at your local multiplex or what you'll see first on the front page of Netflix or VOD. Attending Cine Las Americas reminds me of how vast and exciting the world of cinema is. The films I see at Cine shake up the rhythms I'm used to. When I leave a Cine screening of a movie that's unlike anything I've seen during a regular night at the movies, I'm reminded of the importance to dig deeper and look further for inspiration in my own work.
I think Cine has evolved to become a truly multicultural film festival that celebrates voices from around the world. The diversity of programming is what makes Cine Las Americas such a unique film festival. The festival attracts films and filmmakers with such rich backgrounds and points of views. I met a producer from Spain who had worked with Benicio Del Toro and Javier Bardem but who was so down-to-earth and accessible. I watched a riveting documentary about a territorial dispute in Northern Africa that I don't think I would have discovered anywhere else. There were movies in English, Spanish, and no language at all. Cine's documentary program has exposed me to stories and issues I don't think I would have seen anywhere else. Its narrative and shorts programming aims to present strong visions that tell stories packed with emotions and energy.
I'm glad Cine Las Americas has continued to be a presence in Austin and attract so many global filmmakers to present their films here every year. It's important to continue to maintain a festival like Cine because without it we will miss out on the richness and opportunity that diverse arts programming offers to its audience.
It's so easy to forget that cinema transcends borders and languages. Cine Las Americas makes it its mission to remind us of that year in and year out!