CineFestival will bring noteworthy Latino films to SA

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will celebrate the 36th anniversary of the CineFestival from Saturday, Feb. 22 to March 1 at the historic Guadalupe Theater. The San Antonio CineFestival, the nation’s longest-running Latino film festival, is considered both the original and premier festival for Latino films.

CineFestival traces its roots to the height of the Chicano Movement and is known for bringing in and showcasing the best and most prominent in contemporary Latino films. The festival, held every spring, has a presence that other film festivals like Cannes or Sundance fail to display. CineFestival combines the rich Hispanic and Latino cultures and beautiful cinematography for an altogether passionate experience. For more than three decades, the festival has not only showcased and premiered films from around the world, but also from the very community and city it is born from. CineFestival has also drawn noteworthy guests such as Guillermo del Toro, Lourdes Portillo, Edward James Olmos, Benjamin Bratt, Lou Diamond Phillips and Jimmy Smits.

The documentary, “Cesar’s Last Fast,” will kick off the eight-day festival in what will be its first screening since premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The festival will also premiere the documentary, “Dance of the Maize God,” and will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

The festival promises to be filled with pre- and post-screening receptions, Q&A discussions and special party events that will be open to the public. Certain days will also be dedicated to specific film types such as short films or films produced by young people, or be presented in part by co-sponsors such as the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. The festival will also host Sunday Family Day with screenings and fun activities for the entire family.

A highlight of the festival will be the Latino Screenwriting Project. In its second year, the three-day writing workshop will have consulting support from the Sundance Institute and bring to San Antonio award-winning, professional screenwritersto serve as advisers.

Although the festival is a ticketed event, three screenings will be free and open to the public. Thursday, Feb. 26, will feature, “Real Women Have Curves.” On Friday, Feb. 28, a senior program will highlight a classic from Mexico’s “Época de Oro” (Golden Age) of film, and Saturday, March 1, Sundance Panel: From Script to Screen featuring independent filmmakers.

The festival will also highlight the 2014 winners for Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Short Film and the Special Jury award. On Saturday, the festival will close with the Premios Mesquite Awards Night to honor the 2014 “stand out” entries in documentary and narrative films. The awards jury panel is comprised of filmmakers, film critics and professionals in the arts and humanities.

Due to the great number of entries that are submitted and previewed for eligibility, not all movie submissions are screened during the festival’s eight days and nights. However, the opportunity to see these films is still available as many filmmakers offer to screen their works later on in the year at the Guadalupe Theater as part of the Cine en el Barrio film series.

Tickets for the festival are available online, by phone, or in person. Ticket prices range from $8 general admission (excluding opening and closing days and screenings) to the $75 Gold Pass that allows access to all screenings and the VIP lounge every night of the festival. Discount rates for groups, military and students are also available.

To find more information on the CineFestival, visit their website or