A Movie Festival With Latin Flare

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Mission Valley will be buzzing from Mar. 10 to Mar. 20 when the Latino Film Festival returns to UltraStar Cinemas, showcasing 160 films, several movie and T.V. celebrities parties, galas and more.

"After 18 years it's really turned into a cultural event that people come to expect every March," said Ethan van Thillo, event founder.

The Latino Film Festival has offered the best in film from directors all over the world, and it proves movie buffs and casual theater-goers the chance to get up close and personal with celebs.

Featured films this year include Go For it starring Aimee Garcia, of the George Lopez Show, Runway with Demian Bichir and Revolución, starring Adriana Barraza. A full movie list and gallery of film trailers are viewable online.

The festival offers more than just films, though, as free student screenings, industry workshops, live musical performances and family events are also scheduled.

Screenings will include selections from the Jewish-Latino showcase as well as a many other special presentations featuring Oscar submissions, Gay Cinema and spotlights on films from Brazil and Argentina.

"It's one of those rare events that celebrates various Latino cultures," Thillo said. "Mexican, Peruvian, Brazilian -- you name it."

The event will open with a party at the W Hotel featuring Latin dancers, music, DJs and food. T

The festival will close with champagne, samba, salsa in a blow-out celebration at the U.S. Grant hotel in downtown.

Tickets for opening night and the screenings are on sale now.

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