Courtesy of CINEOLA

The first-ever CINEOLA film festival of Latin American films was set to begin in April as COVID-19 headed to its peak. So, like other public events, it got pushed online. And that, as it turned out, wasn’t such a terrible outcome. 

“To be honest with you, going online and partnering with Seed&Spark became more of an opportunity since the festival is now national. You can tune in across the U.S., as well as watch the Q&As internationally,” says Daniel Díaz, a first-generation British-Colombian and the director and founder of CINEOLA, which comes from “cine” the Spanish word for “film” and “ola” the Spanish word for “wave.”

Co-presented by the Bay Area Video Coalition, the film festival, which launched June 6 and will run through Friday, includes two blocks of documentary-style short films by Latin American filmmakers. Recordar (to remember) is the first block, with five short films from Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador and Colombia. The 72-minute block tells stories about legacy, memory and identity.

Resistir (to resist) is the second block, with four short films from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil. The 81-minute block features stories of resistance, solidarity and tradition. 

In addition to the films, CINEOLA will host two live and free filmmaker Q&As of guest moderators. LA-based film writer Carlos Aguilar will be streamed on Wednesday, June 10 at 12 p.m. PT. Bay-Area based filmmaker Colin Trevorrow will be streamed on Thursday, June 11 at 12 p.m. 

The festival will support the local community by allotting all proceeds to The Roxie Theater, Artists’ Television Access, and CARECEN SF, a non-profit resource center that works to support Latino, immigrant, and under-resourced families in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Díaz who moved to San Francisco last November came up with the idea behind the festival. 

“It is two-fold really, the desire to connect the Latinx diaspora with stories from home or their countries of origin, but also that desire to give diverse representations of the region of Latin America to local audiences that otherwise wouldn’t see those kinds of portrayals,” says Díaz, who has worked as a film marketer for films like “12 Years A Slave” and “Man of Steel,” and a producer for a Chilean feature film.  “Part of it is also the want to use this as an opportunity to contribute and connect to the local community as well, which is why we’re fundraising.”

Viewers have the option to purchase tickets to individual sections or a festival pass that allows access to the entire program. There is unlimited access to stream the films for the duration of the festival after purchase.

The Bay Area Video Coalition will be live-streaming the Q&A event on Wednesday while The Roxie will be live-streaming the event on Thursday. 

Díaz recommends viewers watch all of the films since they vary in terms of their subject matter, execution, style, and tone. 

“Each of the films provokes a lot of reflection, so that is why we decided to keep the blocks short. We wanted to allow breathing room for people to process the films and didn’t want to overwhelm people,” said Díaz.

He hopes that the film festival leaves a lasting impact on those who see it. 

“I’d hope that from the point of view of the Latinx community that there’s an opportunity to connect with home,” said Díaz. “As for other audiences, I would hope that this festival acts as a window into the realities that exist in Latin America, and that it provides a broader context on the region and the continent.”

CINEOLA runs June 6 to 12, 2020. Purchase tickets via Seed&Spark

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