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2017 Latin American Film Festival focuses its lens on "Paths (Caminos)"

This year’s North Carolina Latin American Film Festival will bring 20 films from 13 countries in the region, which focus on the paths/caminos Latin American peoples take to pursue their dreams, preserve their culture, and seek inclusion, justice, and education.

The week-long festival begins with the premiere of “Tata Padrinos (Godparents)” at the Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. It will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. also at Silverspot, with the film “Neruda,” starring Gael García Bernal and directed by Pablo Larraín (“Jackie”).

The festival films, organized by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, are free and open to the public, but seating at the Silverspot location will be limited so reserving tickets on the website is advised:

The directors of “Tata Padrinos,” about an immigrant couple now living in Newton, N.C. who spend a year’s savings to travel back to their native Purepecha indigenous community in Michoacan, Mexico, to take part in a wedding, will be present at the showing. An artistic and cultural collective, Dignicraft made the film with the support from the McColl Center for Art+Innovation and will give an additional talk about their work on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. in Old Chem 011.

On Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., the Carolina Theatre will premiere “El botón de nácar (The Pearl Button) by acclaimed Chilean director Patricio Guzmán. The Guardian called the film “intelligent, magnificent filmmaking.”

Other highlights of the festival include “Finding Oscar,” about a massacre during Guatemala’s decades-long civil war and a boy who was spared, only to be raised by one of the soldiers who killed his family. The film, directed by Ryan Suffern, will be shown Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Carolina Theater in Durham.

A series of short films, “El Aula Vacia (The Empty Classroom),” one directed by Gael García Bernal, and focusing on the impact of the nearly 50 percent dropout rate of students in Latin American countries, will be paired with “The Cost of Opportunity,” a short film which emerged out of a Duke Bass Connections project with a Brazilian university last year. The films will be shown Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in Chapel Hill at the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the Fedex Global Education Center.

The festival will again host a children’s event on Friday, Oct. 6 at Frank Porter Graham Elementary in Chapel Hill with the showing of three animated films by Uruguayan filmmaker Walter Tournier.

For more information on the films, the schedule can be found at

The North Carolina Latin American Film Festival is made possible through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. It is presented by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with additional sponsorship by the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Duke University Libraries, Nicholas School of the Environment, Tropical Conservation Initiative, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Spanish Language Program, Screen Society/Arts of the Moving Image, the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for the Study of the Americas, the Romance Studies Department, and UNC Libraries. Special thanks to the Carolina Theatre of Durham, Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, El Centro Hispano, the Artist Studio Project, PRAGDA, RTI International Latino Diversity Group, and the Frank Porter Graham Dual Language Elementary School in Chapel Hill.