Short Films at Houston Latino Film Festival
The Houston Latino Film Festival was this past weekend in Houston, Texas, and there were an array Latino and Hispanic films. I had the chance to check out some of the short films on March 19, which all featured children.
Estrellas Del Desierto (Desert Lights)
Directed by Katherina Harder Sacre, Desert Lights is focused on the Atacama Desert. Overwhelmed by the drought, the area’s population resorts to leaving. Antay bonds with his friends through football, but unfortunately, his team becomes smaller and smaller as their families decide to leave the area.
This short was nicely done and really emphasized the drought and arid environment and how this affects human relationships.
Bertie the Brilliant
Directed by Gabriela Garcia Medina, Bertie the Brilliant focuses on a young boy, Bertie, who’s hero is Maya the Magnificent. While waiting for his grandmother to finish working, Bertie discovers that Maya will be performing in a few days. Desperate to see his hero, Bertie hustles for a ticket to the show. Unfortunately, his grandmother loses her job, which leaves him with the difficult decision of helping out his family or seeing Maya.
This film was beautifully shot and featured an array of vibrant colors. I also enjoyed the original music and dance numbers. It was overall, a really cute and endearing film.
Directed by Heidi Miami Marshall, SPIC follows Johnny, whose mother has been arrested by I.C.E. Johnny’s father, Emilio is trying to hire a lawyer, but can’t afford it. Desperate for some help, he resorts to asking Álvaro, a drug dealer, for a loan. However, instead of offering a loan, Álvaro instead asks Emilio to work for him. Emilio declines, and this leads Johnny to secretly work for Álvaro.
SPIC was nicely made and was tackling some extremely important topics that continue to be relevant. The immigration system continues to affect so many people, and the legal costs of the process can push people to extreme measures.
The Shadow of the Crows
Directed by Elvira Barboza, The Shadow of the Crows follows a Natalia, an 11-year-old girl of Argentinian origin. While waking up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom, Natalia walks in on her father. Seeing him nude, she notices scars on his lower back and buttocks, leading her to question what happened to her father. The next day, Natalia questions her father, who plays it off as a rite of passage ritual. Eager to discover her father’s truth, Natalia discovers the heartbreaking truth of her father’s past.
This film was my favorite from this group of shorts. The family felt so real, connected and felt relatable. The film also features an animated sequence that was beautiful and poignant. I believe this film could be further explored in a feature length film and I look forward to seeing more from Barboza.