OC Film Fiesta Kicks Off Oct. 6 with Chavela Vargas Documetary

Festival features two weeks of film, fun, premieres and Taco Truck Cinema

By Victor Payan
Published on LatinoLA: September 12, 2017

OC Film Fiesta Kicks Off Oct. 6 with Chavela Vargas Documetary

Iconoclasts, legends, revolutionaries, romantics, bohemians and cultural heroes light up the screen in the 8th incarnation of the OC Film Fiesta, the ever-evolving cinematic celebration of Orange County's diversity and multicultural heritage, which returns to the heart of Santa from Oct. 6 through 15.

This year's festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 6 with a special Orange County Premiere screening of "Chavela," a powerful new documentary by directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi about LGBTQ ranchera singing legend Chavela Vargas. Vargas, who was an inspiration to Pedro Almodovar and sang at Elizabeth Taylor's wedding in 1957, lived a life as passionate and turbulent as the songs she made famous.

Vargas received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. She passed away in 2012 at age 93.


The 2017 Film Fiesta line up includes great feature films, such as "La Vida Inmoral de la Pareja Ideal" (Tales Of An Immoral Couple), Mexican director Manolo Caro's hilarious comedy about unrequited love set in romantic and colonial city of San Miguel de Allende. It stars Cecilia Suarez, Andres Almeida, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Paz Vega.

Fans of Gonzo journalism won't want to miss our OC Premiere of acclaimed filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez's new documentary "The Rise And Fall Of The Brown Buffalo," a fascinating portrait of iconoclastic Chicano writer and lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta, author of "Revolt of the Cockroach People" and the larger than life inspiration for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo" in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."


The Film Fiesta will also feature special events, including a rare screening of the original hilarious 1998 short film version of the surreal "A Day Without A Mexican" plus a workshop with filmmakers and cultural icons Sergio Arau (Botellita de Jerez rock band, "Lucha Underground") and Yareli Arizmendi ("Like Water for Chocolate").

"A Day Without A Mexican" became the highest grossing film in Mexican history when it was released as a feature in 2004, and inspired the "Day Without Immigrants" movement in 2016. Don't miss your chance to see how it all started.


This year's festival is also honored to host the US Premiere of Bolivian master Jorge Sanjinés' award-winning historical epic "Juana Azurduy: Guerrillera De La Patria Grande" (Juana Azurduy: Warrior Of The Great Nation), which tells the story of the legendary female general in Simon Bolivar's army, who helped bring indigenous communities into the fight to liberate Latin America from Spanish rule.

Another treat will be a special 75th Anniversary Screening of Orson Welles ("Citizen Kane") classic "The Magnificent Ambersons" at the Heritage Museum of OC, in a dazzling turn-of-the-century cotillion-themed setting.


The Film Fiesta will also feature the tribute program "Visions Of Magulandia: The California Journey of Chicano Artist Gilbert 'Magu' Lujan from Los Four to Mental Menudo," in association with UCI's "From Aztlan to Magulandia" exhibit, which is part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time L.A./L.A. initiative.

Artist Gilbert Lujan, known as Magu, was a member of the seminal Chicano art group Los Four, which included Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Roberto de la Rocha. Magu's work is known for his brightly colored style, whimsical approach and use of stylized lowriders cars, laughing dogs and playful cultural iconography to create an idealized world known as "Magulandia." An admired artist and teacher who started his life as a boxer, Magu passed away in 2011.

"Visions Of Magulandia" will feature a screening of rare and never-before-seen videos of the artist, a panel discussion, and a recreation of one of Magu's storied "Mental Menudo" community discussions. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.


This year's Film Fiesta will also feature free community Taco Truck Cinema outdoor screenings and other special events. More films to be announced.


The 2017 OC Film Fiesta is made possible with the support of the California Arts Council, Cal Humanities, City of Santa Ana, Mexican Consulate in OC, Santa Ana Unified School District, Arts OC, OC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fundación Grupo Ukamao, The Heritage Museum of OC, Exclusive Radio Sponsor La Ranchera 96.7 FM, Stay Connected OC, Miniondas/Farandula USA, Beatnik Bandito, Mariscos Hector, Chapter One: The Modern Local and The Robbins Nest. Schedule subject to change.


Prices for individual screenings are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, seniors, veterans, teachers and Santa Ana residents. Fest passes are also available. The Film Fiesta festival pass cost $75 and includes admission to films, parties, special events and discounts at tasty local restaurants. An early bird Film Fiesta Festival pass costs $50 and must be purchased by Sept. 10.

The OC Film Fiesta is a program of Media Arts Santa Ana , a project of Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and proceeds support MASA's free youth media classes.

For more information or to learn about volunteer or partnership opportunities please email victor@masamedia.org or call 888-906-0340.

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