01/24/2013 11:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Latino Presence Is Felt At Sundance

By Michael Lopez


Forget Hollywood and New York, right now the world’s greatest film mecca is Park City, Utah. From now until the end of the month, the city is hosting its annual Sundance Film Festival, which has brought out a host of stars and some very talented Latinos.

One of the most highly-touted movies of the fest is the Oscar-nominated No. This political drama documents the real life ousting of Chilean President Augusto Pinochet and is up for the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film. Star Gael Garcia Bernal hit the Sundance carpet to promote the flick and strongly encouraged his fans to see it.

“This film talks about getting rid of a dictator or an oppressing government with democratic means,” he told the Sundance crowd. “It’s about a questioning. It’s a strong questioning.”

Another big hit at the fest is Narco Cultura, a documentary that delves deep into the world of Mexico’s narcotics traffickers. Focusing specifically on the troubled town of Juarez, this moving movie has interviews with crime scene investigators, victims’ families and even ranchero singers, all of whom have been impacted by the violence.

“I wanted to make a movie about people who have fallen into this and show that this affects a whole generation,” director Shaul Schwarz said. “If we keep denying it it’s not going to get any better.”

Up-and-coming director Liz Garcia is taking a turn in the spotlight too, with her coming-of-age drama, The Lifeguard. Garcia (who’s worked on films for Disney and Fox) also wrote film’s the screenplay, which focuses on a 30-something girl who decides to move back in with her parents.

As she told the Sundance reporters, this movie holds a very special place in her heart.

“I’ve wanted to direct a movie for a decade and to have achieved this is amazing,” Liz explained. “This movie really re-invigorated my passion for what I do.”

And for those who enjoy a good classic, Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi is hitting Sundance too with a restored 20th anniversary print. Made for just $7,000, this is the film that launched Robert’s career and led to Desperado (which introduced the world to Salma Hayek).

You can see all of the Sundance selections by visiting the festival’s official site.

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