On Saturday, September 16th, 2017, New York Film Academy students were invited to attend an “InFocus” event of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival on Latino and Hispanic Cinema. The evening was held at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study located in the heart of Hollywood.
Many of the NYFA attendees were coming directly from their Graduation ceremonies. Students were able to rub elbows with stars like Luis Guzmán (“Boogie Nights” and “Carlito’s Way”) and Jason George (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as they walked the red carpet.
Three distinct screenings were held over a five-hour period. The first program featured four short films from the United States, Cuba, and Spain. The first of these stories highlighted the elation and struggle of immigrating to another country. The next film dramatized a re-telling of the life of Venezuelan radio voice-over performer, Hernán de Béky. The third dealt with a sister coping with the loss of her older brother, and in the final film, a journalist tries to uncover the truth behind a corrupt president injured in an apparent terrorist attack.
Program number two featured short films from Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, and the United States of America. Their subjects ranged from escaping an abusive husband, a young woman fighting loneliness, a mother traversing the country of Mexico to bring her son his only birthday wish (a Donald Trump piñata), and finally, an abstract exploration of the journeys two women have taken throughout time.
The final screening was a feature-length documentary written and directed by Guillermo García López called “Frágil Equilibrio.” In it, the director takes a look at three stories that unfold in different places on earth and in different socio-cultural spheres. The film explores the delicate balance it takes to share the planet between a Japanese executive in Tokyo, a sub-Saharan community in Africa, and a family in Madrid.
One student in attendance gushed about getting to see the work of another Venezuelan, “It gave me hope,” he said. “We got to see a lot of talented Hispanic filmmakers,” another student chimed in, “but my favorite thing about today was getting a chance to network with like-minded individuals.” Yet another student spoke up about the importance of representation in cinema. “My favorite movie was “The Machine” because it’s a Cuban related film and I’m Cuban. “It was great to see immigration tackled with humor and respect.”
The New York Film Academy would like to thank New Filmmakers LA for giving our students an opportunity to see these amazing pieces of work.