39th Chicago Latino Film Festival will open and close with female directors

Patricia Ortega’s ‘Mamacruz’ and Claudia Sainte Luce’s ‘Love & Mathematics’

The 39th Chicago Latino Film Festival announces its two opening and closing films are directed by women.

The selection of Love & Mathematics, Claudia Sainte Luce’s offbeat comedy about second chances, will be the Opening Night film on Thursday April 13, and Mamacruz, Patricia Ortega’s kinky and poignant comedy about sexual awakening among the elderly, will be the Closing Night gala on Saturday, April 22.

“From the early days of cinema, Iberoamerican women have played a vital role in producing, screenwriting, acting, editing, and directing films. Today, a new generation of women filmmakers are following in the footsteps of these pioneers and creating work that is vibrant, original and groundbreaking. We’ve featured the work of both Claudia and Patricia in past festivals and their two new films, as different as night and day, will delight and challenge audiences,” said Pepe Vargas, founder & executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center and founder of the Festival.

In Love & Mathematics, Claudia Sainte-Luce (The Amazing Catfish) delivers a droll, offbeat and sometimes darkly funny comedy about glories past, consumerism and breaking away from social norms. Back in the day Billy Lozano used to be a member of the one-hit boy band Equinoccio. Today, he is a suburban stay-at-home dad in Monterrey, Mexico, taking care of his newborn child, patiently dealing with former female fans who want to take a selfie with him at the grocery store, and being part of his brother’s get-rich-quick schemes. But when his neighbor from across the street, a former fan herself, encourages him to resume his music career, Billy finally begins to see a way out of his doldrums.

Patricia Ortega’s new feature Mamacruz (her previous film, Yo imposible/Being Impossible, was an Official Selection of the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival) is a sensitive and nuanced portrait of sexual reawakening. Praised by Paste Magazine for lead actress Kiti Mánver (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) for her virtuosic performance after its premiere at Sundance this year, Mamacruz tells the story Cruz (Kiti Manver), a religiously devout woman who seeks affection from her dull husband. Both are taking care of their precocious granddaughter Viki after her mother leaves for Vienna in pursuit of a career as a professional dancer. One night, Cruz accidentally clicks on a porn website. Mortified at first, she finds herself rediscovering her own desires and seeks the help of a local women’s sex therapy group.

Both Opening and Closing Night galas will take place at:
AMC River East 21
322 E. Illinois St.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m and events will start at 6:30 p.m.

Love & Mathematics lead actor Roberto Quijano (Netflix’s The House of Flowers) is scheduled to attend the Opening NIght gala.

The events will conclude with a post-screening party:
Saturday, April 22 
247 E. Ontario. 

Tickets for both galas are $75 general / $65 for ILCC members. Tickets will be sold at an early bird rate of $60 for early bird until Tuesday, March 21st and can be purchased online at Eventive. Admission includes the film screening and reception. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged. 

Produced by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, here is the info on the 39th Chicago Latino Film Festival:
April 13th to April 23rd at the 
Landmark Century Center,
2828 N. Clark St. 

With a special screening at: 
Wednesday, April 19
Instituto Cervantes
31 W. Ohio St.

The full program will be unveiled March 21st. 

As we are in the middle of celebrating Women’s History Month at Reel Chicago, it gives us great pleasure to tell the story of these two Reel Women who’ll be opening and closing the event.

Claudia Sainte-Luce is a Mexican writer, director, and actress. Born in Veracruz, she graduated in visual arts from the University of Guadalajara, made some short films, and worked as an assistant director for various Mexican films before writing her own scripts. Her debut feature The Amazing Catfish (an official selection of the 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival) premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, where it received the Best Film Award by the Young Jury. The film played at numerous international film festivals and won many prizes, including Best Latin American Film at Mar del Plata and Best Mexican Film at Los Cabos. In 2022 Claudia had the world premiere of her previous film The Realm of God at the Berlinale and Love & Mathematics at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Patricia Ortega is the founder of Mandrágora Films and graduated in social communication from the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños EICTV (Cuba) in the specialty of direction (2003-2005). She also graduated from the Filmakademie in Ludwigsburg (Germany) in the specialty of documentary direction (2006). She directed her first fiction feature film in 2018, entitled Yo, Imposible. Prior to that she directed the feature documentary El regreso (2013) and short Pasajes as well as the fictional short  Al otro lado del mar (2006).

Check back. Reel Chicago will have more information about the full program and the poster contest winner very soon.

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