When the Hola Mexico Film Festival first came to Los Angeles in 2009, the concept seemed simple enough, yet its origins were curious.
The festival's organizer, Samuel Douek (a Mexican by birth), said he'd gotten the idea for a Mexican film festival while living in Australia. Australians, Douek told the L.A. Times, have very eclectic tastes in cinema. That led him to launch a festival in Sydney showing films that would reflect, he said, "a Mexico that's more modern, more cosmopolitan."
The success of that event encouraged Douek to believe a similar festival could work in L.A., and a stateside version of Hola Mexico was born.
This year's festival, which runs May 15-22 in downtown L.A., will include film, food and music. Among the movies to be screened are the immigration drama "La Vida Precoz y Breve de Sabina Rivas," along with the premiere of a movie set during the 1968 political upheaval culminating in a student massacre by army troops that forever altered Mexican politics, "Tlatelolco: Verano del 68."
If you want to learn more about the intersection of art and politics in Mexico, the festival also will be screening Olalla Rubio's new documentary "Gimme the Power," about the birth of the four-time Latin Grammy-winning, aggressively outre Mexican rock band Molotov. Yet another film, "Celso Piña: El Rebelde del Acordeón," will pay tribute to the cumbia accordionist from Monterrey, who will close out the festival with a performance at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes adjacent to the restaurants and shops along Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.
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