By Emily Davenport
A festival celebrating Latino cinema is returning to New York City next week.
From Sept. 14-20, the New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF) will return with drive-in/in-person experiences as well as virtual options. Originally founded in 1999, NYLFF was created to build audiences for Latino cinema, support the film community and foster relationships with Latino talent.
“Inspired by the resilience of the Latino community, NYLFF is proud to return with a fresh format featuring our first-ever drive-in experiences!” said Calixto Chinchilla, Founder of NYLFF. “We are proud to serve as an important platform for Latino creatives to share culturally relevant stories about intersectionality, diversity, and lived experiences in this country. Gracias to our sponsors for continuing to support our community of content creators and movie-goers. While there’s much learned this year, one thing we can all agree, the culture continues!”
The festival will kick off with the 21st edition with Habla Now, the fifteenth installment of HBO Latino’s award-winning Habla series by director and series creator, Alberto Ferreras. The series shares personal stories from Latino personalities such as Amara La Negra, Dominican, Singer/Actress/Activist; Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Mexican American, Environmental Activist; Laurie Hernandez, Puerto Rican, Olympian; Diane Guerrero, Colombian, Actress; among others.
Festival highlights include the New York City premiere of “Charm City Kings,” directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Sherman Payne, with a story by Chris Boyd & Kirk Sullivan and Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins. The film follows fourteen-year-old Mouse who
desperately wants to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders who rule the summertime streets.
Also making its New York City premiere at the festival is John Leguizamo’s “Critical Thinking,” the true story of five Latinx and Black teenagers from Miami Jackson Senior High School, located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Miami, who fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.
Tickets for the festival are available online. The drive-in tickets are free and parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who are 21 years old and older, a limited number of VIP tickets for the drive-in movies are available for $25 and come with access to VIP lounge, complimentary custom cocktails, complimentary appetizers, networking and photo opportunities. Tickets for the virtual screenings are $8.