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Musicians' Top 5 Picks @S.D. Latino Film Festival

Check out GN$F!'s top five music-themed films and party picks to hit up at the 20th Annual S.D. Latino Film Festival.



    Can you believe the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) is now going into its 20th year? Originally established as a humble student film festival focusing on works by Latinos and the Latino experience, it has now grown into one of the most respected Latino film festivals in the country. It has welcomed film and music luminaries like Gael Garcia Bernal, Lupe Ontiveros, Ximena Sariñana, Edward James Olmos and Danny Trejo.

    A musician might ask, Well, what movies should I see? Just for you, here are the top five must-see screenings and parties to hit up at SDLFF:

    Thursday March 7
    Filly Brown 7:00 PM
    Dir. Youssef Delara & Michael D. Olmos
    (USA, 100 min., 2012, English)
    Late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera plays an incarcerated mother to “Filly Brown” (played by rising star Gina Rodriguez). This is La Diva de la Banda's first and last film before her tragic plane crash. Rodriguez plays an amateur rapper from inner-city L.A. looking to enter the world of hip-hop stardom with her striking lyrics and faces the decision of selling either her talent or her sexuality to break into the industry. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival hit also stars Edward James Olmos, Jenni Rivera, Chingo Bling (rapper), Baby Bash (singer), LaLa Romero (singer) and Lou Diamond Phillips.

    Thursday March 7
    Mariachi Gringo 7:30 PM

    Dir. Tom Gustafson
    (USA, 107 min., 2012, English)
    A stifled, small-town man stuck in a dead-end life runs away to Mexico to be a mariachi singer. This fun and tender musical tour-de-force explores the reality of "following your dreams" across cultural, personal, social and geographical borders. Starring Yareli Arizmendi, Lila Downs (singer), Martha Higareda, Shawn Ashmore (X-Men: First Class), and Adriana Braza.

    Getty Images

    Thursday March 7
    Violeta Went to Heaven 8:00 PM

    Dir. Andrés Wood
    (110 min., 2011, Chile, Spanish w/ English subtitles)
    An extraordinary portrait of Chile’s famed folk musician and poet Violeta Parra, whose music has resonated with Chileans and Latin American’s alike. The film traces the humble beginnings of her impoverished childhood to her international fame. Francisca Gavilán stars as the international sensation, capturing both the personal and professional life of her passion to preserve traditional, disappearing cultures through music.

    Friday March 8
    Aquí y Allá 10:00 PM (encore: 3/16, 8:30 PM)

    Dir. Antonio Méndez Esparza
    (Mexico, 112 min., 2012, Spanish w/ English subtitles)
    Pedro returns home to his native Mexican mountain village after several years of labor as a migrant worker in the U.S. His savings have earned him a trip home with the hopes of providing for his family and becoming a musician. Upon his return, he faces a familiar but distant wife and teenage daughters who may as well be strangers. This striking film won the Critics Week award at 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Part of Borders on Film showcase.

    Wednesday March 13
    Hecho en Mexico

    Dir. Duncan Bridgeman
    (Mexico, 98 min, 2012, Spanish w/ English subtitles)
    The richness of Mexican music is showcased with interviews and travels of contemporary iconic artists and performers like Baja's Julieta Venegas, Carla Morrison and Los Tucanes de Tijuana. Other Mexicano favorites include Lila Downs and Cafe Tacvba. From traditional music to contemporary rock, rap or pop artists, this expansive and insightful documentary uses music as the lens to view contemporary Mexican culture along with issues such as border control and drug violence. Part of the Cine Mexicano showcase.

    Thursday March 7
    PARTY: Opening Night Gala

    Cafe Sevilla
    9:30 PM
    Don't miss out on the after-party to close out the night of screenings. The stars of Filly Brown and Mariachi Gringo are confirmed to attend. Dance to the irresistible Latin beats of SoundDiego Garage 2 Glory winners Todo Mundo. Appetizers and one-hour hosted bar by SANGRIA.

    Saturday March 16
    PARTY: Closing Night Gala

    S.D. Air and Space Museum
    9:00 PM
    Last but not least, get your hips in action to live music from salseros, Angel Lebron y su Sabor Latino and Manny Cepeda. VIP guests from Closing Night Films will be in attendance for meet and greet.

    All screenings will be held at DigiPlex Hazard Center. FREE transportation from movie theater to after-parties will be provided by Five Star Tours all night. For more info and festival passes visit SDLFF.

    Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter.