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Latina Filmmakers to Take Center Stage At Boyle Heights Film Festival

A film festival celebrating Latina voices and filmmakers will showcase more than 30 works by Latinas during a three-day event this weekend, Mar. 2-4.

The Boyle Heights-based Casa 0101 Theatre is hosting the 6th annual Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza, BHLIFE, which will feature a selection of short films from Latina filmmakers from around the world, including Mexico, South America, as well as the Los Angeles area.

BH LIVE film festival's logo

“This will be an inspiring and powerful film festival dedicated to Independent Latina filmmakers,” said Festival Director Sandra Varona. “The festival will unite the voices of Latina filmmakers with International Women’s Day, and the films represent a body of work that acts as a powerful statement for portraying Latinos as a positive and integral force on screen.”

Varona, a producer, founded the festival with Josefina Lopez, Casa 0101 founder and screenwriter of the movie Real Women Have Curves.

The film festival seeks to encourage more Latinas to pursue filmmaking. “Even when you think of big celebrities, there are not a lot who are behind the camera,” said Luis C. Arrellano, the festival’s communications director.

“It’s really important to be able to highlight the Latinas that are behind the camera, that may see things from a different perspective, from their own point of view. We want to let them know that being a Latina filmmaker is still a possibility, and to encourage them to follow their dreams,” he said.

Award winners from a previous year's festival. (Photos by BHLIFE.ORG)

Friday night’s opening event will feature the directorial debuts of Eva Longoria, Zoe Saldana, and Eva Mendes, three well-known Latinas known for their acting work, said Festival Director Sandra Varona on Thursday. The films were made as part of Glamour magazine’s Reel Moments video series.

Short films will be shown throughout Saturday and Sunday, and include stories about young love, a chef’s journey toward achieving her dreams, the struggles of someone working to recover from drug addiction, and a family coming together to make their business prosper. There will also be panels on pitching and creating webisodes. Saturday’s after party will feature rumba music by Nelson Ruiz. Six films will be presented with awards during Sunday night’s closing celebration.

Tickets and a schedule of film festival events are available through the BH LIFE website (http://www.bhlife.com). For more information, call Emmanuel Deleage at 323-263-7684 or email info@casa0101.org. The festival’s venue, Casa 0101, is a 99-seat theater, art gallery and learning center.