AFI Silver Theatre presents Latin American Film Festival for Hispanic Heritage Month

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews AFI Latin American Film Fest (Part 1)

The American Film Institute is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Silver Spring, Maryland. The 33rd annual AFI Latin American Film Festival returns to the historic AFI Silver Theatre from Sept. 22 to Oct. 12 for your cultural enrichment and enjoyment.

“We are so excited to be in-person again this year,” Associate Film Programmer Abbie Algar told WTOP. “We’ve been hosting the festival going back to the Kennedy Center [and have] been at the Silver Theatre since 2003 and it just continues to grow. … We have 41 films from 21 countries, eight of the films are North American and U.S. premieres.”

Opening night brings Santiago Mitre’s “ARGENTINA, 1985,” fresh off the Venice Film Festival.

“It’s a rousing courtroom drama that stars Ricardo Darín, which audiences might know from ‘The Secret in Their Eyes.’ It’s about the period after the military dictatorship trying to bring military crimes to justice,” Associate Film Programmer Josh Gardner said.

You can also catch the North American premiere of “CHILE 1976,” which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

“We’re super excited to have it,” Algar said. “It’s the directorial debut of Chilean actress Manuela Martelli. It’s a thriller about one woman who’s not very politically involved but becomes so during the early days of the Pinochet dictatorship.”

There’s also the U.S. premiere of “What Lucía Saw” by Imanol Uribe about the 1989 assassination of six Jesuit priests at a San Salvador university in 1989. “It’s about the one woman who witnessed government military troops executing this massacre — and that’s not the narrative the governments of El Salvador and U.S. wanted out,” Algar said.

The political themes continue with “Parsley” by José María Cabral about “a pregnant woman named Marie who faces a perilous journey alone through the dense hinterlands of Hispaniola to seek refuge after the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of all Haitians on Dominican soil,” Assistant Film Programmer Javier Chavez said.

The festival also has a fun slate of comedy, horror and superhero flicks. The U.S. premiere of Santiago Mitre’s “15 Ways to Kill Your Neighbor” star Daniel Hendler as “an Argentine in France becoming a stay-at-home dad later in life, figuring out where he stands in this midlife crisis when he meets a neighbor amid a strange deadly ritual,” Gardner said.

It all builds to closing night with the Brazilian-Portuguese film “Dry Ground Burning,” a “genre-defying firecracker, a hybrid documentary-drama, but it also has elements of dystopian sci-fi, classic western tropes, even nods to musicals … It follows two sisters who are part of a queer biker gang of oil pirates, so they hijack gas to sell,” Gardner said.

Tickets are $15 for General Admission or $13 for AFI Members.

See the full movie lineup here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews AFI Latin American Film Fest (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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