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    High Hosts 23rd Annual Latin American Film Festival

    ATLANTA, September 9, 2008 – The High Museum of Art will present the 23rd annual Latin American Film Festival beginning October 10 and running through November 15, 2008. The festival features outstanding recent cinema from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. Its twelve internationally award-winning films represent the best of comedy, drama, thriller and documentary in Latin American film today. The series will include special appearances by "Used Parts" actor Eduardo Granados, "Young Blood" director Leo Ricciardi and Atlanta-based director and media educator Roberto Arevalo, who will present the premiere of his short film "A Cuban Family."

    "The High is excited to present its 23rd year of the Latin American Film Festival as we continue to offer patrons a series deep in quality and breadth," said Curator of Media Arts Linda Dubler. "With our festival program consultant Sandro Fiorin, we have curated a program that reflects the diverse film culture of Latin America. While themes of social and political justice are strongly represented with 'The Zone,' 'Used Parts,' 'Kill Them All' and 'Elite Squad,' this year's festival also showcases brilliant love stories, family dramas and laugh-out-loud comedies."

    The Latin American Film Festival opens on Friday, October 10, with "The Zone." Rodrigo Plá's thriller serves up savage social critique along with suspense. Winner of the International Critics' Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, "The Zone" centers on a home invasion and the panic-stricken residents who band together to mete out their own vigilante justice. This film is in Spanish with subtitles. A reception hosted by the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta will follow.

    On Saturday, October 11, "Used Parts" is a vibrant film from debut director Aarón Fernández. Noteworthy for its realism, humanity and superb performances, the film is set in Mexico City and centers on 14-year-old Ivan, whose uncle Jaime runs a shady car-parts business. Ivan saves most of his earnings at the shop to pay for passage to the U.S., but when plans change, he is forced to leave childhood behind and face the future with only his street smarts and will to survive. This film is in Spanish with subtitles. Actor Eduardo Granados will be present to introduce the film and for a Q&A following the screening.

    Showing on Friday, October 17, "Kill Them All" is an intricately plotted political thriller whose main character, Julia, investigates the kidnapping of a Chilean chemist sought by the international courts as a witness against one-time dictator Augusto Pinochet. Based on real events, Esteban Schroeder's feature debut orchestrates the intrigue, betrayals and deal-making of its genre, and focuses on a woman with a strong social conscience, determined yet vulnerable, who is struggling to make it in a man's world. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    "A Cuban Family," on Saturday, October 18, at 7 p.m., is an intimate documentary short produced by Atlanta-based director and media educator Roberto Arevalo. The film is a warm and revealing portrait of an Afro-Cuban family living in a modest Havana neighborhood. With humor and honesty, they reflect on the challenges, pleasures and sense of purpose that shape their lives. This film is in Spanish with subtitles. A brief Q&A with Arevalo will follow the screening. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to "Personal Belongings."

    "Personal Belongings" on Saturday, October 18, at 8 p.m., centers on humor, sensuality and an acute understanding of how the personal and political converge in today's Cuba. Alejandro Brugués's feature debut is the story of a group of twenty-something friends confronted by limited opportunities at home, seeking exit visas to work elsewhere. In one central relationship, Ernesto is drawn to Anita despite himself and must weigh the promise of their relationship against the lure of the unknown. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    On Friday, October 24, "The Twelve Labors" stars Sidney Santiago who won the Best Actor Award at the Rio International Film Festival for his nuanced portrayal of a young motorbike courier in this fresh coming-of-age story set on the streets of São Paulo. Loosely based on the Greek myth of the twelve labors of Hercules, director Ricardo Elias crafts a richly human story, syncopated to the beat of Brazilian rap, peopled by an idiosyncratic cast of characters and teeming with life. This film is in Portuguese with subtitles.

    "The Pope's Toilet," on Saturday, October 25, is set in 1988, the year Pope John Paul II made an extraordinary visit to Latin America. Amidst the frenzy of preparations in a downtrodden village in Uruguay, Beto undertakes his own project to benefit from the influx of tourists—building a public toilet in front of his house. Based on a true story, this multiple-award-winner from directors Enrique Fernández and César Charlone is a bittersweet comedy capturing the lives of ordinary people and the dreams that sustain them. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    Showing on Friday, October 31, "Play," from Chilean writer/director Alicia Scherson, won the Best New Narrative Filmmaker Award at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival. The wry, romantic tragicomedy focuses on twenty-something Christina, a poor Mapuche country girl working in Santiago as a home nurse, and Tristan, a young architect obsessed with his ex. The two travel in completely different orbits, but when Tristan is mugged one night, Christina discovers his stolen briefcase and begins following him. This film is in Spanish and Mapudungun with subtitles.

    On Saturday, November 1, Leo Ricciardi's feature debut "Young Blood" is a poignant drama about a young boy who must bond with his elderly grandfather after a family tragedy. A city kid accustomed to computers and video games, Santiago is left in the care of his cranky, strict grandfather, Juan, a farmer with no use for modern entertainments. This film is in Spanish with subtitles. Director Leo Ricciardi will be present to introduce the film.

    "Burn the Bridges," on Friday, November 7, is an audacious debut from theatrical director turned filmmaker Francisco Franco. An air of Gothic decadence and lurid emotion surrounds the conflicted teenaged siblings who await the death of their terminally ill mother. 19-year-old Helena is a drama queen, and her younger brother Sebastian, the object of Helena's incestuous flirtation, is infatuated with a new boy at school and grappling with his sexual identity. The tension mounts to a breaking point. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    Screening on Saturday, November 8, "Lovesickness" comprises three stories of troubled love in this beautifully observed comedy from directors Carlitos Ruiz and Mariem Perez and executive producer Benicio Del Toro. Flora, a feisty 70-year-old, enjoys the companionship of her ex-husband, with whom she lives, and finds herself the object of competing affections; Lourdes, a wife and mother, discovers that her husband has been unfaithful; and Miguel, a love-addled man, is dominated by his controlling mother. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    In "The Aerial," showing on Friday, November 14, Esteban Sapir's brilliantly original allegory tells the story of a metropolis that has fallen under the spell of a sinister industrialist, Mr. TV, who has robbed the citizens of their ability to speak. "The Aerial" is shot and scored like a silent film, and features a singer named The Voice, her blind son, a television repairman and his broken family as the only ones who can halt the media mogul's quest for total mind control. This film is in Spanish with subtitles.

    Closing the festival on Saturday, November 15, is José Padilha's "Elite Squad," the most talked-about Brazilian film of 2007. A searing look at an elite police squad called BOPE that was created to combat systemic corruption among law enforcement, the film is based on a book written by two former BOPE captains and a noted anthropologist. A harrowingly violent thriller shot in a documentary style, it won the Berlin Film Festival's highest prize and eight Cinema Brazil Grand Prize awards. This film is in Portuguese with subtitles. Print courtesy of IFC Films. This film is not appropriate for children.

    Film Series Schedule
    All films are screened at 8 p.m. in the Richard H. Rich Theatre, *unless otherwise noted. The Richard H. Rich Theatre is located in the Memorial Arts Building, adjacent to the High at Peachtree and 15th Streets in midtown Atlanta. All films are in their original language with English subtitles. Most films are for mature audiences. Please contact us if you have questions about whether or not a film is appropriate for children.

    "The Zone/La Zona"
    Friday, October 10

    "Used Parts/Partes Usadas"
    Saturday, October 11
    * Actor Eduardo Granados will be present to introduce the film.

    "Kill Them All/Matar a todos"
    Friday, October 17

    "A Cuban Family"
    7 p.m., Saturday, October 18
    * Director Roberto Arevalo will be present to introduce the film.

    "Personal Belongings"
    Saturday, October 18

    "The Twelve Labors/Os 12 Trabalhos"
    Friday, October 24

    "The Pope's Toilet/El baño del Papa"
    Saturday, October 25

    "Play"
    Friday, October 31

    "Young Blood/Pura sangre"
    Saturday, November 1
    * Director Leo Ricciardi will be present to introduce the film.

    "Burn the Bridges/Quemar las naves"
    Friday, November 7

    "Lovesickness/Maldeamores"
    Saturday, November 8

    "The Aerial/La Antena"
    Friday, November 14

    "Elite Squad/Tropa de Elite"
    Saturday, November 15
    Print courtesy of IFC Films.

    Support
    The 23rd Latin American Film Festival is organized by Linda Dubler, curator of media arts at the High Museum of Art, and is sponsored by LAPTV. Appearances by special guests are made possible by a gift from Julie and Jerry Chautin. The Festival Program Consultant is Sandro Fiorin of FiGa Films. Support for Films at the High comes from Turner in association with the Woodruff Arts Center's Celebrate Diversity through the Arts. 35mm projection facilities in the Rich Auditorium were provided by a gift from George Lefont.

    Tickets
    Please note that LAFF films sell out early and advance purchasing is advised. Tickets are $7 for the public and $6 for Museum members, students and seniors. Patron-level members enter free. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.High.org, by visiting the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or by calling 404-733-5000. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the screening. Phone and internet orders will incur a $1-per-ticket service fee.

    The public may call the High's film hotline at 404-733-4570 for up-to-the-minute information about visiting directors, receptions, changes or cancellations and for a free subscription to the quarterly film calendar. The Museum's website is www.High.org.

    High Museum of Art
    The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High's Media Arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005, the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum's size, creating a vibrant "village for the arts" at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta. In October 2006, the High launched an unprecedented three-year partnership with the Musée du Louvre in Paris to bring hundreds of works of art to Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.High.org.

    The Woodruff Arts Center
    The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. A not-for-profit center for performing and visual arts, its campus comprises the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse.

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    DIGITAL IMAGES FOR THE FILMS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST