CINEARTE LATINX QUEER FESTIVAL: A Focus on Diversity

[ 0 ] April 11, 2017 |

by tim parks – 

The 4th Annual CineArte Latinx Queer Festival will once again offer a sharp focus onto the wealth of Latino artists, through the mediums of film, digital media, art and music.

The three-day festival, which is being held from Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23 at The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, will provide an insight into the rich and storied history of the Latino Queer experience that is not always heard in the mainstream media.

The Rage Monthly spoke with The Center’s Director of Cultural Arts, Jon Imparato, to find out what is involved in putting on this vital show, the festival’s beginnings, how the films are selected and the takeaway in highlighting these intriguing works.

He discussed the beginnings of CineArte, “It started when I did a play called Bruising for Besos with Adelina Anthony, she’s an amazing writer, performance artist and director. We did the play and a few weeks later she said she was going to turn Besos into a film. It was interesting, because I’d been thinking about the demographic in L.A., there are so many amazing Latino artists and filmmakers…What if I did a film festival?”

Imparato went on to explain, “We have our friends at Outfest Fusion, which is a Queer Film Festival for people of color, but there was nothing specific on Latinos.” Anthony agreed wholeheartedly, he said, “She thought it was a great idea. So flash forward four years later and our premiere film on Saturday is Besos, which has kind of come full circle.”

The next evolution was natural, according to Imparato, “The other thing that happened is that because we had this amazing facility, it became, well, ‘Let’s make it a true arts festival because we have the gallery.’ So, we’ve been doing huge group shows of 10 to 13 artists and because we have the courtyard, we began doing performers, vendors and educators about the services we offer at The Center.

“The queer artist has a very different voice and I believe strongly there are certainly many benefits from ‘normalization…’ We fight, we march, we pass bills to be normalized and that’s a really good thing. But, what did that do to the queer voice?”

As to the process of how are the films for the festival chosen, he offered this, “Karla Legaspy’s role is as the program director and she programs all of the films, she and three other people screen the movies. A director herself, she knows everybody in the community; Her hard part is researching Latino Queer films wherever she can find them and then selecting the programming.”

Imparato explained why a festival like this so important as a way to showcase diverse stories through the arts. “We realized that there are so many Latino artists in L.A. The goal is, even with the visual artists, giving voice to Latino artists who don’t get the exposure. We’ve had films from Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Panama and El Salvador. I have a trans artist right now that has an amazing exhibit, it’s her first called My Life in Code. Every piece has Morse Code in it and she’s selling like crazy.”

“It’s really a chance to give voice to Latino, queer specifically…That’s the key,” Imparato opined. “The queer artist has a very different voice and I believe strongly there are certainly many benefits from ‘normalization…’ We fight, we march, we pass bills to be normalized and that’s a really good thing. But, what did that do to the queer voice?”

“That voice came out of being left out, it came out of being enraged, it came out of being dismissed during the AIDS epidemic,” Imparato shared. “The queer voice always came from being an outsider. Now, it’s becoming more of an insider, so, what does that do to artistic expression?” Summing his thoughts, “I think it gets muzzled and I want as loud of a queer voice as I possibly can get—even talking about our experience here—that’s community dialogue—just by people saying what an amazing experience they had.”

For tickets and more information, go to: lalgbtcenter.org/culture-education/on-our-stages/cine-arte.

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Category: Los Angeles

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