NewFilmmakers Los Angeles and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Spotlight Emerging Indie Hispanic and Latino Cinema

​NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) host the annual NFMLA Film Festival InFocus: Latino & Hispanic Cinema event on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 with presenting partners NALIP and SAG-AFTRA. This festival event takes place at the Hollywood home of the Academy, The Mary Pickford Center’s Linwood Dunn Theater, and is part of the Academy’s participation in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

A lineup of the featured films follows:

Our Barrio - Directed by Ryan Casselman, USA

Our Barrio tells the story of Gabriela, a young woman on the verge of adulthood, who lives with her family in a diverse neighborhood. Struggling with her identity, Gabriela is forced to reckon with herself when her life comes to an abrupt halt.

Ryan Casselman is a San Diego-based award-winning filmmaker with an interest in character-driven films. His films have screened across the country and have won and been nominated for numerous awards including an Emmy nomination at the Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards for Con Boys.

The Machine - Directed by Adolfo Mena Cejas, Cuba

After being informed that she has won the American Visa Lottery, Lázara decides to leave Cuba - even if she has to abandon her family. But her best friend will make her reconsider, with one revealing fact.

Adolfo Mena Cejas is a Cuban filmmaker with a BFA in Art History from la Universidad de la Habana. He has written and directed three award-winning short films that have been screened globally in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and beyond.

Remember This Voice - Directed by Jeff Chan, USA

A Los Angeles transplant from Venezuela who believed his broken English was an insurmountable hindrance, he was ready to give up on his passion for Hollywood, but a single defining moment launched his accomplished career as a Spanish-commercial voice actor who has recorded promos for over 400 film titles and won multiple Emmy Awards.

Jeff Chan is a director and writer. He studied Film and TV Production at NYU, and splits his time between NYC and LA. Remember this Voice was produced by The Bindery and created in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter and Principal, a global financial investment company.

NERÓN (NERO) - Directed by Rubin Stein, Spain

Alma, a Spanish journalist, is carried to a secret place where a Latin American dictator is hidden after a tragic terrorist attack to his family.

Rubin Stein creates film, video, branded content, photographs and art. He received a B.S. in Telecommunication Engineering as well as a B.A. in Audiovisual Communication. His short films have been screened at over 400 festivals and have won more than 50 awards worldwide, including the 2014 Golden Méliès Nomination for the Best European Fantastic Short Film. NewFilmmakers Los Angeles hosts the world premiere of NERÓN.

xx (doble equis) - Directed by Jorge Ossio, Peru

A young woman from Lima spends her days looking for ways to not feel so lonely.

Jorge Ossio is a Peruvian screenwriter and has written 6 short films in the past 5 years. xx (doble equis) has been shown at Lima Film Festival 2016 where it received a Jury Mention, Pachamama Cinema de Fronteira 2016, Film Week Universidad de Lima 2016 where it received Best Short Film and the Transcinema Film Festival 2016.

La Madre Buena - Directed by Sarah Clift, Mexico

A Mexican mother embarks upon an epic journey across land and through her politics, to find her son’s birthday request - a Donald Trump piñata.

Sarah Clift has been working in commercial media as a Creative Director for 18 years, but has recently began to focus on a directing and writing career where she, in the last 12 months, co-directed her first commercial for Buchanan’s Whisky featuring Chris Hemsworth. She is now the UK partner of Madrefoca Production Services in Mexico. Her film La Madre Buena is her debut short has played in over 40 festivals including Palm Springs, Ann Arbor and Rhode Island and won numerous awards including Gold Young Directors Award at Cannes Lions, 5 Golds at the Kinsale Short Film Festival, and overall Winner at A&E Networks Shorts Competition. 

Antö (Never) - Directed by Joe Torres & J. René Guerra, Venezuela

The inclement sun. A damn endless desert. Three women gather to wait for transportation. They are survivors of an extinct world, of a time apart. They are afraid. They are suspicious of each other.

Joe Torres, producer, writer, and director, grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. He began his career as Producer of A & B Producciones. He’s worked with directors Mark Foster (Hungry Man) and Tom Shadyac (Universal Pictures).  His film Antö has received accolades at the Elche International Independent Film Festival and the Budapest International Short Film Festival.

J. René Guerra is a director and actor, known for Antö (2017), Translucido (2016) and Des(pecho)trucción (2013). Prior to Antö, she earned a B.A. in Performing Arts and was a Stage Manager and Curator at the Poets Den Theater and Gallery.

Neemkomok - Directed by Douglas Cushnie, USA

1810: Isadora, an Indigenous Californian (Gabrielino/Tongva) woman, faces a battle to survive after being emancipated from the abusive Los Angeles mission where she was raised. She's helped by Domingo, a Franciscan friar, on the journey to bring her to a Native village where she can finally be safe. 

Douglas Cushnie is a filmmaker from the town of Sherman, CT, and is currently an MFA Directing fellow at the American Film Institute. Having traveled extensively through Latin America, he has shot projects for non-profits and coffee companies in Nicaragua and abroad since the age of 16. His 2012 short, "Volar en línea recta," has shown in film festivals around the world.

2500KM - Directed by Daniela Arguello, Guatemala / USA

Based on a true story, 2,500 kilometers from the U.S border in a small town in Guatemala: Sandra, a young mother of two is faced with the decision between keep trying to fix her relationship with her abusive husband or run away to U.S in the hopes to find the American dream of a better life.

Daniela Arguello is a Guatemalan director, writer and the founder of Twenty-Four Productions. Arguello graduated from the UCLA Extension Program and was voted as one of the top three emerging young filmmakers in Florida at the Palm Beach International Film Festival Student Showcase. Her short 2500KM was recently purchased by HBO and is on HBO Now. This is the US premiere of the film.

Frágil Equilibrio (Delicate Balance) - Directed by Guillermo García López, Spain

Three stories of contradictions that unfold in different places in different socio-cultural spheres, united by the words of José Mujica, former president of Uruguay, who throughout the documentary addresses universal issues threatening humanity and questioning some of the foundations of the world we live in.

Guillermo García López is a Spanish filmmaker. He studied at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Instituto Puerta Bonita de Madrid and Universidad Complutense. His first short as a producer, La Gran Desilusión, was nominated to Best Documentary Short at the Goya Awards 2014 and has more than 50 official selections at other international film festivals. His feature film, Frágil Equilibrio, has been nominated at 3 festivals and has won many awards at festivals like the Austin International Film Festival of the Americas, Valladolid International Film Festival and more.

Doors will open to the public at 4pm with the event concluding at 11:30pm. There will be pre-screening receptions before each program where attendees can sip cocktails and mingle with industry professionals and festival-selected filmmakers in the lounge. Q&A sessions with the filmmakers will follow each program.

For information or to reserve tickets to the NewFilmmakers LA September 16th, 2017 screening, please visit

Source: NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA)