Two years in the works, Tapia’s Mexico/Chicago Super 16mm “Leti” bows at Latino Film Festival

Dalia Tapia has just returned from Mexico with the last of the footage for her Super 16mm feature “Buscando a Leti/In Search of Leti,” which has its world premiere this April at the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

“I’ve already been approached by a couple distributors, here and in Mexico,” said Tapia as she dove into final stages of postproduction.

“The market is there. The positive response I’ve been getting from people in both countries is what propels me forward. These are stories that need to be told.”

Tapia’s script focuses on a young girl, Leti, who is left behind with her grandparents in Mexico when her parents go to seek work in Chicago.

“In Search of Leti” director Dalia Tapia

Tapia made the picture in three stretches over the past two years, shooting in Pilsen and bringing as many as 15 Chicago cast and crew with her to shoot in Guadalajara, Villanueva, and her native Michoacan.

The International Latino Cultural Center, which runs the Latino Film Fest, was an early supporter of “Leti.” Tapia’s 2002 Super 16mm short “Buscando a Lety/In Search of Lety,” an earlier incarnation of “Leti” that was made entirely in Chicago, premiered at the 2003 Latino Fest.

The Cultural Center provided “Leti’s” nonprofit fiscal sponsorship. Tapia raised the undisclosed budget through her company Dalia’s Productions, via grants, donations, and revenue from promotional videos for state agencies. Supporters include the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and Lalo’s, Pepe’s and Nuevo Le?n restaurants.

“Leti” stars Tatiana Tien, Juan Manuel Paz, Carmen Cenko, Antonia Rivera, and Gilberto Lozano. AD Tadeo Garc?a and production manager Romeo D?az produced with Tapia, and collaborated with her on the script with Guadalupe Vasquez.

Meena Singh and Jos? Rios shot. Editors, Lucy Cordon and Mexico production manger Johanna Chac?n. Music by Wanda Avila. Sound, Brian Apolinar and Robert Athay.

The 14-minute “Lety” will have its broadcast premiere on national cable network S? TV’s showcase “Not-So-Foreign Filmmakers.”

S? TV approached Tapia after the short’s successful festival run that took her from Chicago Latino to Los Angeles Latino, and El Segundo Festival at the University of Chile ? Santiago.

Tapia and D?az are at work on a new script, an achronological tale about a young woman facing an HIV infection. Garc?a, who made the Latino/gay festival favorite “On the Down Low,” is slated to direct next year.

The 21st Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival runs April 8-20. See or