News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

¡Por fin! At last, the film festival celebrating Latino cinema returns to Fort Worth

An elevated view of a large group lined up on a stage in front of an audience.
Gabriel Duran
The closing ceremony for the Festival de Cine Latino Americano at the University of North Texas on Feb. 25, 2018.

In the many years that Gabriel Duran was in the film industry, he didn’t see his Latino culture presented on the silver screen.

“I would attend a lot of these film festivals, and it would maybe be one film that was Latino-based,” Duran said.

In 2015, he took the matter into his own hands, establishing the Festival de Cine Latino Americano in North Texas to celebrate Latino cinema.

This year, the film festival returns to Fort Worth with screenings from Sept. 22 to 24 at Artes de la Rosa. The festival was first hosted at La Gran Plaza, but Duran moved the event to Denton after he started teaching in the media arts department at the University of North Texas.

The relocation was a move to generate more support for Latino representation on screen.

Festival De Cine Latino Americano

The three-day event will feature Latino films and art and panel discussions. All events are free and will take place at Artes de la Rosa, 1440 N. Main St., in Fort Worth. Here’s a look at some of the panels:

7 p.m. Sept. 22: “Mujeres Extraviadas” screening followed by a Q&A with director Lourdes Portillo.

12 p.m. Sept. 23: “Low and Slow Worldwide” screening followed by a Q&A with director Luke Dorsettl. The event will feature guests Danny de la Paz, Gino Ayala and Zombie Joe and will showcase lowrider cars from various car clubs.

4 p.m. Sept. 23: Panel discussion: Racismo en la industria entretenimiento. The event about racism in the entertainment industry is in Spanish.

6 p.m. Sept. 23: Master Class with Edui Tijerina. Diálogos para cine: Dar voz al personaje. The event about how cinematic dialogue gives voice to a character is in Spanish.

1 p.m. Sept. 24: Discussion panel: “Latinos in Comics” featuring comic artists Eliamaria Madrid and Hector Rodriguez

The move initially attracted students, but attendance declined after two years. Latino communities were not showing up like he had expected because a university setting can be intimidating for some, Duran said.

“I can’t get tía or abuela to come to the university because there’s a lot of complications like, ‘Where’s the building? Where do we park?’” he said.

“When I think of Artes de la Rosa, I think of Fort Worth and the Latino community,” Duran said. “It’s a perfect mix of who we are and who they are.”
Latino filmmakers from the United States to Argentina and even Germany have been a part of the festival. The Festival de Cine Latino Americano allows filmmakers to screen their films in the U.S. for the first time, Duran said.

“We were happy to be that springboard for them,” he said.

Marielena Resendiz, executive producer of the festival, expects the transition back to Fort Worth will attract more audience members.

“People attended (in Denton), but not ‘nuestra raza,’” she said. “We decided to take it to Fort Worth to bring more awareness to the community.”

The organizers chose Artes de la Rosa because of its connection to Fort Worth communities, Duran said. The center in North Side Fort Worth is a venue for Latino art and culture. The nonprofit hosts educational programs and provides support for emerging artists and performers.

“Their pulse is on the Latino community in Fort Worth,” Duran said.

The organizers also invite local Chicano and Latino artists to submit their art to be displayed at the festival. This year’s theme focuses on indigenous resistance, survival and celebration, Resendiz said.

“We want to give anybody that’s a new and up and coming artist a voice and somewhere where they can show their work,” she said.

Resendiz, who’s of Mexican descent and has roots in South Texas, wants audience members to know the festival showcases all kinds of Latin American cultures.

“We’ve had some really good movies before that bring awareness in the sense of different cultures. It’s not only our Mexican films. They’ll make other people know about other cultures,” she said.

Marcela Sanchez is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.