Cine Magnifico 2014

Although “The Golden Dream” (“La jaula del oro”) is writer-director Diego Quemada-Diez’s first feature-length film, it is not his first time working with themes and images of Mexico-U.S. immigration.  

Director Quemada-Diez working on the set of "The Golden Dream"

The Spanish native who is now based out of Mexico City was a camera operator in the 2003 hit film “21 Grams”, directed and written by the renowned duo of Mexico City natives, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu and Guillermo Arriaga. 

The three main characters in "The Golden Dream"

 

“21 Grams” is a masterfully designed tale set in various locations throughout the world, one of which includes a woman and two children lost in the desert borderlands between Mexico and the U.S.  In “The Golden Dream”, Quemada-Diez draws on the quiet, austere landscapes of the rural areas in Mexico that attract the many north-bound migrants seeking to keep themselves from the eyes of the public as they make their way to the border.

One of Quemada-Diez’s major achievements in this film is his ability to elicit magnificent performances out of three non-professional actors.  Quemada-Diez’s “The Golden Dream” which began production in 2013 and was released in Mexico in May of this year, could not have come to the U.S. market at a better time, as the issue of Central American children illegally crossing the border has come to occupy a central storyline for mainstream media outlets since the summer.  “The Golden Dream” follows three main characters, teenagers from a village in Guatemala. 

Quemada-Diez on set with young actors

In the end, it is that rawness which renders this film a sincere and not sensationalized portrayal of the journey north. 

“The Golden Dream”, which won awards at Cannes, 

Quemada-Diez and his young cast at awards show

Chicago and Palm Springs, among others, was touted for its honest and direct approach to the portrayal of the heart wrenching and vicious truths of this journey, which has come to occupy a part of the American Dream imaginary, often distorted and simplified, if for no other reason than its perceived commonality or an overall cultural laziness to delve deeply into the truths and realities of those making the journey north every day. 

Scene from "The Golden Dream"

Working on “21 Grams” with Iñarritu and Arriaga, who together are responsible for the films “Amores Perros” and “Babel” in addition to “21 Grams” (that’s 3 Oscar nominations and 1 win), Quemada-Diez could not have been afforded a better learning opportunity for dealing with scenes and images of border crossings – it would be akin to a minor league ballplayer for the Albuquerque Isotopes getting the chance to sit in the dugout with Dodgers all-stars Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw.

This Showcase Film screening is a must see not just for film aficionados, but for everyone in our border-state community interested in truth, sincerity and the ultimate beauty, and irony, of youth and dreams.  Don’t miss it!!

Screening Saturday, September 13th @4:30 PM.  See you there!!

With films from all over Latin America featured in the second annual ¡Cine Magnífico! Latino Film Festival, the magic of cinema hinges on our community and our blossoming, local scene here in Albuquerque.

The second annual ¡Cine Magnífico! Film Festival will feature films from Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Mexico and Venezuela, covering genres from drama to comedy, including a children's animated film and a documentary feature.  The themes touch on issues such as regional culture gaps, the trials of coming of age, public education, immigration, gender and sexuality -- and all are set in a Latin American and Iberian context.  The films encompass a wide array of styles and tones, from the romantic and magical, to the darkly comedic, to the political and poignant, and to the educative and informative.  The filmmakers include both young and veteran directors, and the writers' adaptations draw on various works of Latin American art and media, including regionally broadcasted television shows, news media and popular novels.  Not to mention the short film series, which will feature young, up-and-coming, local filmmakers and actors, this section of the festival is one of our most important, particularly in light of the rapidly burgeoning film industry here in Albuquerque.  Just this week we watched Brian Cranston, star of the most successful television series in recent imagination, make a point at the Emmy's to mention and thank the State of New Mexico.

As the local industry continues to blossom, ¡Cine Magnífico! has taken a central role as a platform for Latin American and Iberian films and filmmakers within the community.  Alejandro Montoya Marin, a young filmmaker who wrote, directed and acted in two of our short films, is exemplary of the growing film community and types of talent the film industry is attracting to the area. Montoya Marin moved here five years ago from Texas specifically for work in film. His two shorts, "The Princess and the Musician" and "The Joneses", were both filmed here in Albuquerque.  Montoya Marin, speaking about the artistic environment for local film here in the area, remarked that the growing industry supplements the increasingly commonplace ability for almost anyone to utilize technology and social media as a way to get involved. "More people need to tell their stories," he said hopefully. Having festivals like this will only help plant that seed of artistic inspiration into the hearts of our community.  After all, the cinema is only as bright as the eyes in the audience.  We are elated that the ¡Cine Magnífico! Albuquerque's Latino Film Festival has once again arrived, and cannot wait to share these films with all of you.