The Chicago Latino Film Festival ( CLFF ) turns 33 this year and there is a big presence planned for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, with a finale involving a famous transgender figure. The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago attained not-for-profit statues in 1987, fulfilling a mission of promoting Latin culture through the annual festival. The organization's goal of building bridges is again putting its money where its mouth is.
Films and special events are running April 20 through May 4. Opening night begins with the Argentinian romantic comedy One Night of Love, ant there will be a screening and post-show gala. The film's lead actress, Carla Peterson, will be at the gala on April 20.
A kickoff party held at Fulton Market Kitchen on April 10 packed in the crowds. Pepe Vargas ( the founder and executive director of the festival ) attended, along with a roomful of many supporters.
Several LGBT dramas and comedies are featured in the two-week film fest.
Brazil's Public Intimacy ( Intimidade Publica ) accomplishes much in a short period of time. Four stories are divided into seasons covering homophobia, prostitution, a transgender teacher and a ghost. This is all with a running time of 71 minutes.
Take Me for a Ride is another short but sweet story. It's a coming-of-age film set in a high school where the main character Sara meets Andrea. Sparks fly as they learn to deal with their new relationship and disapproval in their surroundings.
Extra Terrestrials ( Extra Terrestres ) is a Puerto Rican/Venezuelan mix of a coming-out story. Astronomer Daniela plans to marry her longtime girlfriend and wants to invite her dysfunctional family. Her conservative father runs a poultry plant while her nerdy bird rescuing nephew almost steals the show without speaking. Everyone has their secrets with this heartwarming character piece that deserves to be seen.
Spain's Illusive ( Inexistentes ) is another family drama depicting the relationship of a gay son named Raul with his mother. Life is a drag until things get better.
There are two musicals offered during the festival run with At Your Doorstep, about housing, and a Peruvian musical called Crazy in Love that includes two screenings, four female cousins and one rendition of Ana Gabriel's "Cosas del Amor."
Filmmaker Elia K. Schneider's Tamara finishes the festival by telling the true story of the first transgender person elected to Venezuela's parliament. Tomas Adrian, played by Luis Fernandez, becomes Tamara after a long journey of trying to fit into society as a lawyer with a wife and two children.
Tamara's event, slated for May 4, will take place at AMC River East 21 with a post-screening gala at the Embassy Suites Hotel next door. The director, producer and several of the stars are scheduled to attend.
For a complete schedule and full event information, visit ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival.org . Films are shown with subtitles unless otherwise stated.