A celebration of Latin American cinema

  • Hermione Greenhalgh

In celebration of the rising international appreciation of Latin American cinema, Canning House - in collaboration with Raindance Film Festival, Instituto Cervantes and CASA – invited three influential filmmakers to discuss the increase in representation of Latin American characters and subjectivities in film.

Latin American cinema is on the rise. Though there has never been a shortage of creative talent in the region, international audiences are increasingly regarding Latin America as a pioneer of cinematography. There is greater appetite for films produced outside the well-established parameters of Hollywood, and more openness to foreign language film.

To celebrate the gains made by Latin American writers and filmmakers, yesterday Canning House – in collaboration with Raindance Film Festival, Instituto Cervantes and CASA – invited Gonzalo Maza, A Fantastic Woman Screenwriter, Laura Plancarte Siblings Director / Writer, and Tuki Jencquel, It’s All Good Director & Producer, to discuss how this momentum can be sustained, and present their acclaimed films to a UK audience. The discussion was chaired by David Martínez, Raindance Film Festival Producer.

The three panelists discussed the themes of marginalisation, invisibility and voice, migration politics and identity – in relation to modern Latin American cinema in general, and to their own filmmaking. The discussion highlighted that cinema has been a crucial medium for Latin American artists to celebrate their cultures and to fight against intolerance and injustice. It can give voice to underrepresented subjectivities and authentic insights into the political and social circumstances of their countries to audiences abroad.

We didn’t start with a transgender character. We wanted to make a film about someone rejected. We discovered that the transgender community in Chile is very small and people react very differently around transgender people.

Gonzalo Maza

Hermanos offers a different perspective because it tells the [US-Mexico] story from two sides. You can see the complexity of immigration through a mirror image. I wanted to build a bridge not a wall.

Laura Plancarte

[Está Todo Bien] is a film about denial in Venezuela. Denial of the crisis that has been going for many years.

Tuki Jencquel

After presenting their films, to be screened at CASA Festival from next week, the panelists discussed Latin American cinema, and its rising popularity, more generally. All three agreed that while there is no fixed ‘Latin American’ identity, the region’s common language and cultural idiosyncrasies give their cinema a “Latin American magic”, to use Jencquel’s phrase. It is up to Latin American artists, writers and filmmakers to constantly define and redefine what it is to be Latin American. One mutual quality they agreed was key to their success – working in often challenging contexts – was resilience.

David Martínez rounded off the discussion commenting, “we have to see Latin American cinema as a whole spectrum. There is not one genre. We want to show what’s happening in our countries and challenge stereotypes.”

The event concluded with a Q&A session and a summer drinks reception. Special thanks to our fantastic speakers, and to Raindance Film Festival, Instituto Cervantes London and CASA for their collaboration on this event.

(L-R) Jesús Clavero Rodriguez, Instituto Cervantes London, Lord Mountevans, Canning House Honorary President, Beatriz Araujo, Canning House Chair, Cristina Cortes, Canning House CEO, with Gonzalo Maza, David Martínez, Laura Plancarte and Tuki Jencquel. 

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