Waterbury To Host ¡Viva Cinema! Latino Film Festival


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Adam Chiara

No need for Netflix on June 27-28 — the second annual ¡Viva Cinema! Latino Film Festival will be showcasing Hispanic cinema in Waterbury.
The two-day event, which is part of the Connecticut Film Festival brand, will feature over 75 Spanish and Portuguese language documentaries, movies, and short films. The event will also incorporate Latino music, arts, culture, and food.
“Some of the best filmmakers in the world come from Mexico, South America, Central America. I mean it’s great writing, great cinematographers,” said Tom Carruthers, executive director of both the Connecticut Film Festival and  ¡Viva Cinema!.
Many of the films screening this year focus on human rights and work related issues. One major showing for the festival is the Venezuelan film “Pelo Malo,” which is about a nine-year-old boy’s obsession with straightening his hair — making his mother question his sexual identity.
“We wanted films with social relevancy…work, immigration, human rights related issues, those are important messages in those communities,” Carruthers said.
He believes it is crucial that Connecticut residents have the opportunity to see Hispanic films in person and that they have a venue to discuss the movies with others. The event will also give filmmakers the chance to compete for awards in several categories, including: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Film.
“The importance of this is you need to bring cultureless to that part of the community,” he said. “There’s not really enough of them [festivals].”
The festival will be held at The Mattatuck Museum and tickets will cost $8 to see a single film or $35 for a day pass, which includes an evening party.
Last year, the festival was held in Hartford, but Carruthers hopes the event has found “a place to hang its hat” in Waterbury. He believes it’s an ideal region and city due to its large Puerto Rican population. Another goal of the festival is an economic one, hoping to bring a positive benefit to Waterbury’s business community and the surrounding area.
¡Viva Cinema! Latino Film Festival could be even more important to the region in the next few years. Carruthers hopes for the festival to grow into a five- or six-day event. He says with only a handful of Hispanic events in the region, he hopes this will soon become a major cultural gathering.
For a full listing of films that will be played and a schedule, visit: http://vivacinemafilmfestival.com/viva/.