Thursday, March 30, 2017



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With video – Heart-warming film features Down syndrome travelers and their siblings trekking through Himalayas

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 27, 2017

Poster for My Hero Brother

Poster for My Hero Brother

Photo, video: My Hero Brother

My Hero Brother, a heart-warming, 78-minute Israeli film in Hebrew with English subtitles completed June 2016, will be part of the 22 Annual Palm Beach Film Festival (visit pbifilmfest.org/event-calendar) taking place beginning March 29, 2017 in Palm Beach County, Florida. Scroll down to watch a trailer.

Happy and sad at the same time, the film is uplifting and inspiring. Filmed in India with a budget of $306,000 the movie shares the story of a group of remarkable young people with Down syndrome and their siblings who trek through the Indian Himalayas together. Along their journey unresolved conflicts and the complexities of growing up with a Down syndrome child in the family surface.

The idea germinated when Enosh Cassel, later a producer in the film, felt that his busy lifestyle was taking a toll because he wasn’t spending enough time with Hannan, his beloved Down syndrome brother. According to a spokesperson, “In 2011, the two embarked on a challenging trek in the Himalayas, in order to spend some much needed quality time together.” On their return, Cassel received requests from people who wanted to set out on a similar trek with their own Down syndrome sibling. On August 2013, after two years of planning and preparation, a group of 11 sibling couples (“neuro-typical” and Down syndrome) set on a journey to the Indian Himalayas, where My Hero Brother was filmed.

“In the course of the film, I hope that the viewer will undergo an experience that will change his way of looking at the main characters: not as ill-fated people who have been given a chance to experience a brief release from suffering, but rather as human beings blessed with qualities many of us yearn to have, struggling with their limitations in an highly admirable and courageous way, with the ability to open the hearts of those around them and turn them into better human beings,” the director states on the film website.

Yonatan Nir (Dolphin Boy) directed and produced by the film, which according to promotional information became an overnight success. In the first three months of distribution the producers booked 150 educational screenings in Israel, the film was accepted to several international film festivals, and won the Best Documentary Film Award and the Audience Choice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The filmmakers received funding from The Shalem Fund, Gesher Multicultural Film Fund, Mifal Hapais, Avi Chai Fund, and The Second Authority. In addition to the Film festival screening future information on where to view the movie may appear at myherobrother.org

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With video – New film addresses underage marriage among indigenous people

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 1, 2017

Defenders of Life

The Defenders of Life poster

Photos by Julio Costantini © 2015 Popcorn & Friends, video clips used with permission © 2015 Popcorn & Friends

In 2015, film director Dana Ziyasheva and her four person team completed Defenders of Life, a 94-minute film in three languages, Ngabere, Spanish, and English, about underage marriage among the Ngäbe people of Costa Rica. Much of the dialogue is in Ngabere or Spanish with English subtitles. It was titled after Defenders of Life, an ancient Ngäbe sacred song celebrating the tribe's respect for and symbiotic relationship with nature, ancestors and fertility. The film is available exclusively at Flix Premiere, an online video on demand service. Scroll down to watch video clips from the movie with subtitles.

Defenders of Life, a fiction film about real life issues, was born out of the real-life friendship between Carmen, a Ngäbe matriarch, and the director while she was a guest at Carmen's house. During that time they discussed Carmen's life and her hopes and fears for her daughters and granddaughters. Much of the film was shot on Ngäbe land and featuring Ngäbe.
 
“We both wanted to give voice to the voiceless, leaving a proud testimony of her ancient civilization under threat and show the place and challenges of women in this culture,” Ziyasheva said in a press release. “We both wanted it to be aesthetic and allegorical. Carmen's story is my story too. I was afraid to break away from my society in defiance of the decision-makers of my country. I was equally afraid to leave the comfort and security of the United Nations. It doesn't matter how good or bad a life situation is, people fear the unknown. To make audiences around the world relate to a story of an indigenous woman lost in a rainforest was my goal as film director in this project.”

Defenders of Life tells the story of Esmeralda, a Ngäbe indigenous girl who lives on a reservation in Costa Rica. Esmeralda's grandmother Carmen raises her alone because the girl's mother was murdered by her jealous boyfriend. In the movie, as in real life, when a Ngäbe girl reaches puberty, she becomes eligible for marriage, as is the custom of the tribe. When the village elder asks for her hand in marriage, Carmen must decide whether Esmeralda should follow in the footsteps of Ngäbe women or break away from the tradition and long term from the community.


During the filming of Defenders of Life
During the filming of Defenders of Life


"We had a script, but since the Ngäbe actors playing their own roles were all non-professionals, most of whom don't know how to read, we relied a lot on rehearsals and improvisation. I wanted the film to go beyond the ethnographic clichés. We show that Ngäbes are multi-layered, with contradictions, and made of good things and bad things like everyone else. But most of all, they are authentic, true to themselves and they don't get intimidated by outside pressure," said Ziyasheva.
 
In the film, Pamela, an anthropologist from the University of Costa Rica, and her son Feb, an American tween, advocate different approaches to the dilemma of an indigenous people's society. Through his friendship with Esmeralda, Feb becomes part of tribal dynamic, while well-meaning Pamela aims to force her notion of development on the Ngäbe. Most of the filming took place  in the indigenous Ngäbe community of La Casona in Southern Costa Rica, near the border with Panama, and a little bit in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital.

The film, produced by Popcorn & Friends, was recognized with award at Mostra Amazonas de Cinema, Brazil; Burbank International Film Festival, California; Viva! Latino Film Festival NYC Int'l, New York City; Madrid International Film Festival 2016; Love International Children Film Festival, California; International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality, Indonesia; Global Independent Film Awards, online; and Depth of Field International Film Festival, online.

"To make this crazy guerilla-style project possible, I was lucky to assemble a unique international team of passionate film professionals from France, Brazil, Cuba and Costa Rica. They were all 100 percent dedicated to the idea of living and working with the Ngäbe in the rain forest in order to make this film, no matter the hardships, budget constraints or physical risks," said Igor Darbo, producer, by email via the film's publicist. "Snakes were never too far, both in the story and on set! Of course it also took time to gain the Ngabe's trust, especially the men's and after visiting the community multiple times and taking part in their festivals and assemblies, I develop a bond with Don Francisco, the elder leader who then agreed to play the old man marrying the teenage girl in the film. That bond was the mirror of Dana's relationship with Dona Carmen, the protagonist and that's what made the film possible. As a producer, I am extremely proud that Defenders of Life was able to touch the heart of people on all continents, but most of all of the enthusiastic reception it got from the Ngäbe themselves."

Ziyasheva is an award-winning author, scriptwriter and film director from Kazakhstan. She has 25 years of field experience as a journalist. As adviser for Communication and Information of the United Nations she has traveled from Iraq to China and Central America. In 2016, her debut novel Shock was published in France.

Popcorn & Friends is a boutique production company founded in March 2012 by Darbo to produce “highly creative international films that are both entertaining and meaningful.” After winning the Best Co-Production Project award at the Shanghai International Film Festival for its high-concept Chinese treasure hunt The Dragon Angel, Popcorn & Friends produced Defenders of Life.

Between 200,000 and 250,000 Ngäbe people live on both sides of the border between Panama and Costa Rica. The community in the film is about 1,500 people large in Southern Costa Rica. According to the film producers, the Ngäbe (Ngabere is their language) are torn between tradition and assimilation into the modern society. Their youth start to slowly lose command of their native idioms and follow traditions less while education in Spanish and work opportunities in the city draw them further away from their ancient roots.

The proposal

 

The snakewoman
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New children’s book illustrates personal story of Indigenous girl in 1920s Canada

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 2, 2017

I Am Not a Number

I Am Not a Number

Photos: Second Story Press

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D.'s interest in her family’s past and her commitment to teaching about Indigenous issues through literature drew her to co-write her first children’s book. It took her and Kathy Kacer three years to write I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, $18.95), the true and personal story of Irene Couchie Dupuis, her grandmother, who was taken from her Nipissing First Nation’s family and community at a young age to live in a residential school in the late 1920s in Canada. They wrote the easy to read lovingly illustrated book for school-age children (ages seven and up) to learn about the legacy of the Indian Residential School System (known as boarding schools in the United States). According to the author, it has also appealed to “educators (Grades 2-12), librarians, families, and community organizations interested in reading stories about true history, and supporting children and youth to develop critical literacy skills to engage in important, meaningful discussions about the injustices that have and are currently occurring to Indigenous peoples.” In it, they share her grandmother's story, including the hardships and verbal and corporal punishment she and other children endured at the hands of the nuns and within the system.

“When I was growing up, we didn’t talk much about the history and injustices in school programming,” Dupuis said by email when asked about the Nipissing First Nation. “I learned about my culture and community values, like having respect for myself and others, while working a part-time job (as a youth) at a local restaurant called the Teepee Café owned by Dot Beaucage-Kennedy. It was a place where everyone gathered, including storytellers, Elders/knowledge keepers, grandmothers/grandfathers, artists (traditional/contemporary), language speakers, and families. Times have changed. We are now seeing these opportunities expand into the school systems. I’m really proud of the opportunities that are emerging, especially for children and youth, that place an emphasis on historical/contemporary realities, culture, traditions, and values, including efforts to revitalize the Ojibwe language and culture.”

The 32-page hardcover book was published in 2016. Color illustrated by Gillian Newland the book also includes several black and white family photos. The people who were involved in the abuse were never punished, nor did they apologize for the wrongdoings in her granny’s case, Dupuis explained.  

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D., co-author, I Am Not a Number

When asked why she wrote the book Dupuis replied, “Listening to the stories of my family and community history led me to write I Am Not a Number. My granny shared with me her story at a time when I felt that she wanted to share her truth. I held onto her story for years, waiting for the right time to share it. While I was working in the field of Indigenous education, I found there weren’t any children’s picture books that focused on the Residential School System through the lens of an Indigenous family. So I wanted to reach out to young people through storytelling and literature to ensure they hear true stories about the legacy of forced assimilation; where Indigenous children were taken from their families/home communities and sent to residential schools.

In addition, I also wanted to use literature as a means to encourage educators, families, and community groups to begin to facilitate deep conversations, with young people and each other, about the legislation and policies that have impacted (and still impact) Indigenous peoples. I’m really pleased at the response. So far, educators, community groups, and families have been in contact via social media sharing how they have used the book since its release. For instance, Luke Bramer, a performing arts teacher used the book to inspire his junior level/ freshman high school students to learn about the residential school system and create a puppet theatre performance, using breathing puppets to retell my granny’s story. Other teachers have been using activities like ‘role on the wall’ to introduce the topic of residential schools and begin to discuss topics like genocide, the impacts of colonialism, oppression, assimilation, etc. Families have read the book with their young children, going through a 'picture walk' to stimulate interest. Additionally, community organizations, like in Hamilton ON (Canada), are in the midst of hosting (grassroots-led) book launches and readings that also feature youth artwork and other learning inspired by the book I Am Not a Number.”  

Kathy Kacer, co-author, Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Kathy Kacer, co-author, I Am Not a Number

The Nipissing First Nation lives on the shores of Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario, Canada. There is a registered band membership of approximately 2,500 persons with about 1,000  residing on reserve. Dupuis is of Anishinaabe and Ojibway ancestry and a member of Nipissing First Nation. The Toronto resident is an educator, researcher, artist, and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education.

Kacer is known for her children’s books about the Holocaust, including The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and The Magician of Auschwitz. A former psychologist, she now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about her books. Newland works in watercolor, ink, and pencils. She finds most of her inspiration to draw outside of her studio, and can sometimes be found sketching fellow customers at a coffee shop. She is the illustrator of The Magician of Auschwitz among other books. All three women live in Toronto.


I Am Not a Number

Click to buy I Am Not a Number


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Listen to podcast with filmmaker Eliza Kubarska about her documentary Walking Under Water

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 9, 2017

Eliza Kubarska, filmmaker, Walking Under Water

Eliza Kubarska, filmmaker, Walking Under Water

Photo: David Kaszlikowski/Vertical Vision Film Studio

A podcast interview with filmmaker Eliza Kubarska is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, she discusses her film Walking on Water about the Badjao people in Borneo (available on the World Channel website:http://worldchannel.org/programs/episode/dw-s1-111-walking-under-water/) with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Eliza, a Polish alpinist and traveler, specializes in adventure film making and extreme location work. In 2007, she set up her own film company Vertical Vision Film Studio, where she produced her first multi-awarded feature documentary, What Happened on Pam Island, also known as Mountain Love Story. In 2014, Walking Under Water, her next documentary was awarded Hot Docs Jury Prize and John Schlesinger Award at Palm Springs Film Festival.

In her newest film K2 - Touching the Sky, Eliza, together with an international group of grown-up children of acclaimed mountain climbers, sets out on an expedition to reach K2 base camp, the burial place for those who lost their lives on K2 in the summer of 1986.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Eliza Kubarska” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2017 section of the podcast archive.

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Tis the season for – adult coloring?

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 16, 2016

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Photos: Health Communications, Inc.

Coloring for adults seem to be sweeping the nation and beyond. If the coloring bug bit you and your are looking for new themes the new additions from Health Communications, Inc. in Deerfield, Florida, all 72 pages, 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size, may interest you. Like Christmas? Inkspirations for Christmas Joy Festive Coloring Designs with DIY Gift Tags, Postcards, Wine Tags and More with original art by Kristin van Lieshout, an artist from Lynchburg, Virginia could be worth a look.

Kristin van Lieshout

Kristin van Lieshout

Inkspirations for Women

Inkspirations for women

Inkspirations for a happy heart

Inkspirations for a happy heart

Inkspirations for Women Color Your World Happy 30 Inspiring Designs to Nourish Your Heart and Renew Your Spirit by author Marci Shimoff with original art by Judy Clement Wall (see Author, artist team up on coloring book for women) might be just what you seek for an inspirational and affordable holiday gift. Want to cheer yourself up?

Anna Carey Beth Logan Diane Yi

Anna Carey, Beth Logan, and Diane Yi

Inkspirations for a Happy Heart Inspiring Coloring Designs to Lift Your Spirit and Feed Your Soul features original art by Diane Yi, who draws her inspiration from nature, beauty, and the sacredness of the human spirit. According to her biography, her work is in private collections worldwide. She lives near Kansas City with her husband and two dogs.

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Inkspirations in the garden

Inkspirations in the garden

Inkspirations Animal Kingdom Captivating Coloring Designs Celebrating the Majesty of Animals with original art by Anna N. Carey features 32 original designs. Carey has combined her love of animals and her talent as an artist with her passion as an educator. An elementary art specialist she founded Paisley & Hazel Designs, named in honor of her two canine companions.

Like plants? Inkspirations in the Garden Fabulous Floral Coloring Designs Celebrating Life in Full Bloom with original art by Beth Logan may be for you. It includes wildflowers, rose bushes, cottages and gazebos, and a mix of easy designs along with elaborate pages. According to a company representative, the top selling titles from the series are: Fruit of the Spirit, for Women, Recovery, and Animal Kingdom.


Click to buy 

Inkspirations for Christmas Joy

Christmas Joy

Inkspirations for Women

For Women

Inkspirations for a happy heart

For a Happy Heart

Inkspirations animal kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Inkspirations in the garden

In the Garden


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Listen to podcast with Ronaldo Linares, author, Sabores De Cuba about his cuisine

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 28, 2016

Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba

Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba

Photo: Dalyn Miller Public Relations

A podcast interview with Ronaldo Linares, author, Chef Ronaldo's Sabores De Cuba (see American Diabetes Association releases diabetes friendly Cuban recipe book), is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, he discusses his cuisine with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Ronaldo is a Cuban, Colombian, American, salsa-dancing, mixed martial arts-fighting, Cross Fit training, former U.S. Marine, classically trained chef and restaurateur living his dream. Born in Colombia during the turbulent Cartel wars of the 1980s, cooking has been the main ingredient in Ronaldo’s journey from young immigrant to rebellious teen to successful chef and media personality.

Ronaldo has showcased his Cuban-inspired, passion-infused culinary style on Food Network’s Chopped, BBC America’s cross-country chef competition Chef Race, and appearances on Better TV, Fox News and Telemundo. When not in the kitchen, Ronaldo is active in the community, speaking to schools, youth groups and corporations about his life's journey and healthy living.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Ronaldo Linares” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the November 2016 section of the podcast archive.


Chef Ronaldo's sabores de Cuba

Click to buy Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba


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Listen to podcast with Shirley Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 17, 2016

Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes

Photo: Shirley A. Aaron

A podcast interview with Shirley A. Aaron, author, Troubling the Ashes, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, she discusses racism and her book with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Shirley is a retired Alabama teacher and Georgia media specialist, with 42 years of experience in education. She attended college after her son and daughter were born, achieving a degree in education in order to teach important values through literature. In 2007, she was widowed when her husband Charles O. Aaron passed away from cancer. She is also the author of <em>Drops of Light</em>, a book of poetry, and <i>Sweet Tea with Lemon</i>, due to be published in 2017.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Shirley Aaron” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the October 2016 section of the podcast archive.


 

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With video – Public television targets viewers under 40 with international non fiction storytelling films

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 28, 2016

Touching the Light

Touching the Light (Tocando La Luz)

Photo, videos: Doc World, World Channel

Hoping to reach a diverse, young audience under 40, on September 18, 2016 Doc World, a new showcase of non-fiction storytelling from around the globe, launched a selection of 11 international documentaries. The series kicked off with the world premier of The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor. The staff at Doc World selected each film to serve as “a vignette of personal stories and the struggles of different cultures and societies.” Doc World is brought to viewers by World Channel, public television's nonfiction, news and documentary programming. Scroll down to watch two video clips about the series.

Produced by award-winning filmmaker Arthur S. Dong, the The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor tells the story of Haing Ngor, one of the most recognized survivors of the Cambodian genocide and a man who became a worldwide ambassador for justice in his homeland, only to be murdered in a Los Angeles Chinatown alley. The film was based on Ngor's autobiography and produced in a mix of animation and live action. All the films in the program will also stream at a later date, and another 10 films are scheduled to become available online later this year. Additional information on the Doc World series may be found at http://worldchannel.org/programs/doc-world/ 

Chris Hastings, executive producer and creative director, World Channel

Chris Hastings, executive producer, World Channel

“The stories we choose are focused primarily outside the United States,” said Chris Hastings, executive producer and creative director, World Channel when asked how the films were selected for inclusion. “That’s the main criteria for Doc World: the films take place outside the U.S. and tell a unique story about person, place, history or event that highlight communities Americans would not normally see. To be selected, the films first have to be great stories that are told in creative way and deal with an array of compelling themes (history, social issues, environment). We find the films for Doc World in few ways, starting with our partners in the U.S. that include ITVS, Center for Asian American Media, National Black Programming Consortia, and others who are actively funding and looking for films.”

Other documentaries in the series include: Tocando La Luz, World Premiere September 25; Five Days to Dance, October 2; Kismet, October 9;  Among the Believers, October 16; Waiting for August, October 23; My Atomic Aunt, October 30; A Goat for a Vote, November 6; Tashi's Turbine,November 13; Prize of the Pole, November 20; and Walking Under Water, November 27. All, except Among the Believers and the first two films, will be airing in the U.S. for the first time.

Hasting's team attend international festivals like HotDocs in Canada and Sheffield Doc Festival in England to screen and meet with filmmakers to solicit submissions; are in contact with distributors like First Hand Films in Switzerland and Rise and Shine Media in Germany; and receive suggestions from public television channels, like the BBC and The Why Foundation in Denmark.

“It’s been amazing to see how many films that are out all over the world—and are great stories—which have not broadcast in the United States,” Hastings said by email via a publicist. “We are so grateful for what we found thus far. Our team at World is small but very diverse and with our partners we select the films for Doc World together.” When asked what the Doc World budget is he said, “Both Doc World and World Channel are funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

About Doc World

About Tocando La Luz

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Caribbean themed film festival to launch this month

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 14, 2016

Third Horizon Film Festival poster

Third Horizon Film Festival

Image: Third Horizon Film Festival

This fall Miami, Florida movie lovers will have Caribbean themed film options during the first Third Horizon Film Festival. Thanks to funding from The Miami Foundation and the Knight Foundation (the festival was winner of the 2014 Knight Arts Challenge) between September 29 and October 2, 2016 the festival will showcase the work of Caribbean filmmakers at O Cinema, Wynwood, 90 NW 29 street, Miami, Florida 33127. Plans are in place to highlight eight full length features and a few short films.

“The Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival aims to celebrate and empower filmmakers from the Caribbean and its diaspora,” said Donnamarie Baptiste, a consultant to the festival, by email. “With the democratization of filmmaking, the barriers to making a film have become less prohibitive. The festival aims to seize this moment to connect promising Caribbean filmmakers with the resources and opportunities they need to take their films to the world.”

When asked about the selection of films Baptiste said, “First and foremost, we're looking for films that have relevance to the people of the Caribbean. To that end, we're focused primarily on filmmakers from the Caribbean or of Caribbean parentage who live outside of the region. That said, in an effort to encourage filmmakers outside of the region to set their films in the Caribbean, we do consider films by non-Caribbean filmmakers based on their relevance to the region.”

The festival's line-up of movies is selected by a committee appointed by the festival, comprised of Jonathan Ali, Romola Lucas, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Keisha Rae Witherspoon and Robert Sawyer. Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Keisha Rae Witherspoon and Robert Sawyer are co-founders of the festival. A spokesperson declined to identify a budget or staff numbers.

"The name Third Horizon comes from a feeling that popular entertainment is not diverse enough, and that every child should see themselves reflected in what is considered global entertainment," said Fitzroy Jeffers, who is also executive director, from Barbados via a spokesperson, when asked about the meaning of the festival name. "Growing up I felt I was less than because of the color of my skin, and believed I was from the 'Third World'-although we know that the 'first world' is powered by the blood, sweat and tears from the 'third world.' So Third Horizon is that moment and space where the stories, sounds and visions of the so called 'third world' find the support, audience, funding and distribution needed to give us equity.”

Full length films scheduled include: Ayiti Mon Amour, Memories of a Penitent Heart, Generation Revolution, The House on Coco Road, God Loves the Fighter, The Stuart Hall Project, Pressure and Crumbs; and shorts include: ABCs, Alto Vista, Antiman, Auntie, Doubles with Slight Pepper, Field Notes: An Unexpected Journey, Mommy Water, Parish Bull, and Short Drop.

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With video – Indie film explores life in LA, unlikely friendship

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 10, 2016

Soledad poster

Soledad poster

Photos, video: Candy Factory Films

Soledad, a suspenseful, soulful 95-minute indie drama released in theaters July 26, 2016 features a world-weary ex-con limo driver and a high school couple he's driving to their prom in Los Angeles. The work of first-time writer-directors Eduardo Maytorena and Wayne Mitchell the film received the Grand Jury Prize Runner-Up at the 2015 Dances with Films Festival, and was an Official Selection at the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and the 31 Chicago Latino Film Festival. Soledad, a Candy Factory Films movie, was released via VOD (video on demand) and digital HD on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Scroll down to watch a video clip.
 
In the film, Victor (Jesse Celedon), a lonely, Latino limousine driver lives a solitary existence: lifting weights in his small apartment, saying silent grace over breakfast, and enduring the disrespect of his clients night after night. One evening, after defending Raquel (Montanna Gillis, The Vatican Tapes, Don Peyote), his well-off passenger, from being assaulted by her prom date, Victor's simple act of compassion sets off a series of events destined to bring back a past he has fought desperately to escape. The film takes viewers on a meandering and sometimes violent road trip with sexual situations (no nudity), through the city of Angels focusing on the unlikely friendship between Victor and Raquel.

A scene from Soledad

A scene from Soledad

Soledad was shot over 17 days between January and April of 2014, mostly in Downtown Los Angeles, Silverlake, Echo Park, Pico Rivera, Glendale, and Mission Hills, with a budget of $120,000. In 2015, it toured U.S. and international film festivals.

“We never shot more than three nights in a row since we could only afford to use the limo on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, (Weekend rates were too steep), ” said Mayortena by email through the film's publicist when asked about the making of the movie. “Post production lasted 10-12 months as we continued to make changes up to our delivery to the distributor.”

When asked about funding for the movie, Mayortena replied, “I work at a Spanish radio station as a creative sales director. I shared my vision of Soledad with one of my clients Douglas Bravo and he was intrigued.  After a few more conversations he agreed to give us the money on two conditions. One was that we (myself, writing directing partner Wayne Mitchell  and lead actor Jesse Celedon) invest our own money in the film so his investment was protected. The second was to take our vision of a short film and grow it to a feature so there would be an opportunity to see some return on investment. We are very blessed and grateful to Douglas for challenging us to dream bigger.”

Candy Factory Films, founded by Jason Ward, strives to be a “forward-thinking, filmmaker-friendly multimedia company dedicated to producing and distributing high impact, unique and compelling films.”


Soledad poster

Click to buy Soledad

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