Hola Mexico Film Festival Recap by Fernanda Ulibarri

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by Fernanda Ulibarri

Every year the Hola Mexico Film Festival showcases some of the best Mexican current films. This year was its 8th edition in Los Angeles after Samuel Douek, festival director, started it in Australia in 2006.

Mexican cinema is going through a new golden era, and one of the main reasons is the support of EFICINE, a law created by the Mexican government that allows big corporations to give part of their taxes to filmmakers instead of the Mexican IRS. There is also a similar law for theater. This allows both film and theater creators to bring a lot of projects to life. In 2015, 140 features were produced in Mexico, and it is a very cool thing to have these films available in LA through the Hola Mexico Film Festival.

Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t know about this festival, and I don’t understand why so many Americans in the film business are missing it. I had the opportunity to watch a few films. The ones I watched were a cultural collide of Mexican and American cultures. Continue Reading →

8th Annual Hola Mexican Film Festival: Top 10 Picks and Interview with founder Samuel Douek

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by Tom Nguyen

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©2015 WilkiIMAGE Photo By Wilki W.K. Tom

The 8th Annual Hola Mexico Film Festival which showcases the most recent cinema from Mexico opens this Friday, May 13 and runs through Sunday, May 22, in downtown Los Angeles. I had a really enlightening conversation with founder Samuel Douek who gave me a frank, honest insider look at the challenges of putting this festival together and marketing it beyond just the Mexican American community in Los Angeles. As daunting as it is, Douek and his hard-working team have put this festival on 8 years strong and I hope you come out and support it! My top 10 picks follow our interview:

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Viet Film Fest Highlights Transgender Rights and Nail Salon History & Unsafe Working Conditions

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by Tom Nguyen

This year’s Viet Film Fest impacted me greatly, not just as a Vietnamese immigrant refugee but also because the festivals highlighted social justice issues important to me: LGBTQ rights, in particular the rights of the transgender community through the film “Finding Phong” and the history and current unsafe working conditions of the nail salon industry, dominated by Vietnamese immigrants and other people of color, through the documentaries “#NailedIt: Vietnamese & The Nail Industry” and “Painted Nails”.

It’s no secret there is still a lot of homophobic and transphobic attitudes in the very traditionally conservative Vietnamese community and culture, both in the global diaspora communities and in Vietnam. In 2013, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were barred from participating in the yearly Tet Lunar New Year Parade in Orange County, home to the largest Vietnamese community abroad. It was only due to a lot of civic and public pressure that members of the LGBTQ community were allowed to participate the following year.

Expecting attitudes in my native Vietnam to be even more unforgiving, I was surprised to hear about a documentary highlighting the transgender experience there. The film “Finding Phong” is a video diary of one transgender woman, Le Anh Phong, and her quest to get gender-reassignment surgery. It’s a deeply personal look at her thoughts, aspirations and insecurities.

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Hola Mexico Film Festival: Film + Food + Music! May 15-22


Last night was the opening night of the 5th Annual Hola Mexico Film Festival and it’s the most ambitious to date! Here are the details from their site:

For the first time, in addition to celebrated and award-winning films, Hola Mexico will include food and music festivals, bringing together some of the best chefs and musical performances from Mexico. Continue Reading →