Cine Las Americas and
Violet Crown Cinemas Present:
Lourdes Portillo Retrospective
This film retrospective was screened as a part of the 2019 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (CLAIFF22)
In collaboration with Violet Crown Cinemas, Cine Las Americas presented a retrospective of work by acclaimed filmmaker and activist Lourdes Portillo. The selection included three works by Lourdes, each with its own style and concern, commemorative of significant moments in American history. The screening opened with the short drama VIDA (1989), a reflective film that was completed less than ten years after AIDS had emerged as a major health crisis in the USA. The comedy/satire COLUMBUS ON TRIAL (1992) resurrects Christopher Columbus 500 years after 1492, and interrogates him on his “discovery” of the New World. The retrospective closed with the medium-length experimental documentary CORPUS: A HOME MOVIE FOR SELENA (1999), 20 years after its release, and in memory of the inspirational Tejana whose life was ended tragically in 1995. While these films all reference tragedies, they each also speak to the strengths inherent in human nature to ultimately survive, thrive, and celebrate life.
LOURDES PORTILLO. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, Lourdes Portillo has been making award-winning films about Latin American, Mexican, and Chicano/a experiences and social justice issues for nearly thirty years. Since her first film, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE / DESPUÉS DEL TERRMOTO (1979), she has produced and directed over a dozen works that reveal her signature hybrid style as a visual artist, investigative journalist, and activist. Portillo’s completed films include the Academy Award® and Emmy® Award nominated LAS MADRES: THE MOTHERS OF THE PLAZA DE MAYO (1986), LA OFRENDA: THE DAYS OF THE DEAD (1988), COLUMBUS ON TRIAL (1992), THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS (1994), CORPUS: A HOME MOVIE FOR SELENA (1999), MY McQUEEN (2004), and AL MÁS ALLÁ (2008). Her most recent feature-length film, SEÑORITA EXTRAVIADA (2001), a documentary about the disappearance and death of young women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, received a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Havana International Film Festival, the Nestor Almendros Award at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and an Ariel from the Mexican Academy.
In 2016 Portillo continued her exploration of experimental film and format, creating the animated documentary short STATE OF GRACE (2016). In 2016 Portillo received the Anonymous Was a Woman Award and grant for her body of work, and in 2017 she was honored with the Career Achievement Award by The International Documentary Association (IDA). In 2019 Portillo continues to curate the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ historic PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LATIN AMERICA TO HOLLYWOOD: LATINO FILM CULTURE IN LOS ANGELES 1967-2017 ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS, which are oral histories/interviews with notable Latino, Latin American, and Chicano filmmakers, including Portillo herself. Portillo’s films continue to be shown internationally and in the U.S. on TV, in cultural and film festivals, in museums, and at educational institutions. Portillo’s website features information about her work and access to her films: www.lourdesportillo.com.
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