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"We've done six films in six days":Filmlocos does the impossible in their aim to shine a light on the lack of representation in the industry 

  • Filmlocos produced six films over six days after the coronavirus lockdown eased last year
  • The films tackle the problems faced by Latinos in the current day
  • “We wanted to emphasise that there is a different sort of type of Latin American people", says director Victor Rios

The Filmlocos Festival are hosting a film screening run by a team of Latin American filmmakers in the UK who have made it their mission to showcase diversity of voices through the power of storytelling. 

The film festival was made up of six original films created especially for the festival: You're Just My Type, The One in The Mirror, Closer Than Ever, Hands On, Over A Bottle of Red and Pretty Fly For A Dona.

The films 500 and I Am Frida Kahlo were also shown at the event, which was hosted at the Insitito Cervantes and was sponsored by Tapaz Restaurant and Bar, Th3 Guy’s and Chef Mirian Gomes.

The aim of the event was not just to give voice to these stories, but to provide the younger generation of Latin Americans opportunities within the film industry.

Each film tackles contemporary problems that many Latino’s face such as generational clashes between first- and second-generation Latinos, the exposure to different languages, and finding love outside of the community.

 

Raquel Arraes, who both acted and directed in some of the films shown,including Hands On, said: “So we've done six films in six days, it was crazy. We had a whole crew and we pulled favours asking people to join us - scriptwriters - and then [it] just started to really happen.”

Speaking about her experiences as an actor, she said: “I made my first movie, which is called I Am Frida Kahlo, where I directed and acted and produced. From that film, I got an award of Best Film and then people started to invite me to shoot and offer me roles.”

The festival also had performances from singer Renato Tavora and the Colibri Mexican Folkdance UK group.

Speaking just before the performance of the Colibri, producer Andrea Perez said: “I think they're very well known around the UK and in Manchester. I've heard very good things about them and I have seen their videos dancing.

"I think it'd be exciting to see these traditional dances because there’s something very special that all communities have around the world. So having it in our Latin American takeover night feels like a takeover because we have music, we have the food and, most importantly, we have the films.”

Colibri Mexican Folkdance UK group.
The Colibri Mexican Folkdance in action 
Brazilian food  Chef Mirian Garcia
Latin food served at the festival night

 

The Filmlocos are a way in which Latin American, especially British Latin American, narratives can be told.

When speaking about the ideas for the films, Actor and Director Victor Rios said: “We wanted to emphasise that there is a different sort of type of Latin American people. You know, there are actually so many shades, so many different aspects. 

“There’s the LGBTQ community, there's the Afro Latino community, there's the Brazilian Hispanic, first-second generation. We emphasise on those stories and [are] always trying to focus from the now forward, instead [of] always trying to justify our existence here. If that makes sense."

The films were developed during lockdown and, once lockdown measures were eased, the films were shot in locations across the UK including Oxford, Manchester and London.

When questioned about the differences between the different roles in film, Victor said: "Filmmaking is all about teamwork and eventually you get to see all these people working in different fields.

“You get to understand and experience a little bit of everything, but perhaps not so much in producing because there's so much that you don't really get to see when you're an actor, which is something that we discovered - we really enjoy the process.

“I think it does open up to the idea of how much work these people put behind it.

"Everyone plays an important role in every section of making films and that makes you appreciate [them] as well.”

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