Gay and Latino films to watch at OUTFEST 2012

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The following is a list of films that reflect and represent the Latino and gay community at Outfest this year. I am happy to showcase these films because most of these individuals have worked religiously to ensure a great product for viewers like us to enjoy. We are living in a time where LGBTQ films are increasingly becoming more mainstream and it’s crucial that Latinos are properly represented in this genre of cinema.

In an article by Vanessa Erazo, Indiewire

 ”There are thousands of film festivals all over the world. Some are prestigious and well known–taking place in large cities across Europe and the U.S.–others in out-of-the-way towns that no one has ever heard of. These festivals show all kinds of films–from a range countries, on various topics and of many genres.
Often the films tend to be heavy on stories from the U.S.and Europe–focusing on the developed world and centering on mainstream populations. Generally speaking, they showcase films directed by men and about people who are White, straight, and well-off. As a result there are countless specialty festivals–Latino, Asian, African, and others–whose objective is to feature the talents of marginalized filmmakers. But even at a niche festival there are groups which continue to be underrepresented. At a Latino film festival it’s not always easy to find films that are Jewish, gay, indigenous, Afro-Latino or about Latin American immigrants from unexpected countries like Japan or Germany. Granted there aren’t as many movies made about these populations but–on the bright side–this year has proven to be a bountiful one for Latino LGBT films. They have played renowned mainstream festivals like Sundance and Berlin and are making the rounds at gay festivals. It’s about time.”


HOMEBOY is a film by Dino Dinco about gay Latino men who are former gangbangers (or cholos). Made over the course of 10 years, HOMEBOY features a small group of men in one-on-one interviews about a little-known world. I interviewed Dinco about the making of HOMEBOY, the political economy of thuggishness, and the connection between the LGBT community and the immigrant-rights movement. HOMEBOY screens Saturday, July 14 at 4:30 p.m. at Redcat in downtown Los Angeles.

The Rookie and The Runner






A jogger in a park gets more than he bargained for when he encounters two handsome strangers.



Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, WILDNESS is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar in the MacArthur Park area that has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish, the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a group of young artists create a weekly performance art/dance party (organized by director Wu Tsang and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom) called Wildness, which explodes into creativity and conflict. What does “safe space” mean, and who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers to these questions creates coalitions across generations.


Elliot Loves

by Terracino
USA, 2011, 92 min
“Finding love in the big city is never easy. But it’s always entertaining in this bouncy romantic comedy from first time feature director Terracino. Elliot is an earnest twenty-one year-old Dominican American looking for love in all the wrong places. The juxtaposition of Elliot’s past and present paints a sweet, complex character study of a young gay man trying to find love and meaning in the big city. Wild visual nuances, surprising fantasy interludes and a non-traditional approach to just about every aspect of filmmaking make this a must see for connoisseurs of brave new cinema.”

Kiss Me

Sexuality and sexual attraction are fluid things, and when there are so many stereotypes and assumptions about male Latino culture, I hope that this film challenges some of those ideas by providing an alternative view of the way masculinity plays out. Boxing is obviously a testosterone-filled sport. How many openly gay fighters can you name? No, I thought not. Despite a greater acceptance of queerness in contemporary popular culture, that acceptance has not been exactly matched in sport generally, and in boxing in particular. The machismo associated with boxing, and Latino boxing especially is fascinating to me. Hopefully, Kiss Me can find an audience that also finds this dynamic one that is worth exploring.


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Mosquita y Mari

by Aurora Guerrero
USA, 2011, 85 min
“This Sundance favorite is a sweet and genuine film about two Chicana high schoolers, Yolanda, a shy, straight-A student, and Mari, her “bad girl” classmate. Yolanda offers to tutor the feisty and hot troublemaker. As she and Mari study and share their intimate thoughts in an abandoned auto body shop, their feelings inevitably get deeper, furtive glances grow longer, and Yolanda starts to come into her own. Aurora Guerrero’s debut feature takes a tender look at what it’s like to discover yourself and fall in love for the first time.”


Jonathan Menendez is a digital media entrepeneur/producer that focuses his work on the empowerment of marginalized communities through emergent media, specifically trans-queer people of color. His projects include the production of a documentary on gay Latino culture in L.A., the founding and creative development of xQsi Magazine and Qulture. He founded the Latin@ Queer Arts and Film Festival that is a collaboration with the LA LGBT Center. He has shared his work as a panelist at The Queer Media Conference, The People of Color Film Festival: FUSION and the the Queer Students of Color Conferences. He has worked as a consultant for AIDS Project Los Angeles/UCSF under the department of research with George Ayala to ensure a diverse sample of Latino recruits for a study. He just completed his graduate degree with an emphasis on Digital Art and New Media from the University of California Santa Cruz where he also served as a teaching assistant for two years.

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