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Chicago Latin Film Festival Presents...

By Darlene Vazquetelles 
Edited by Therese Mulgrew

The Film Industry in a Nutshell: 

There is an exciting world out there in the movie industry that many people have yet to experience. As actors, we often get asked when and in which movie theater our movie is going to be shown.  Not every film makes it to the theaters.  Some go straight to DVD or TV. Then you have the film festivals.  Typically held annually all over the world, film festivals shed light on independent films, up-and-coming actors, and unique genres.  

 The Chicago Latin Film Festival: 

Me (left) at the Chicago latin Film Festival and (bottom right) filming the film Mi Princesa 
My heart is full with happiness and pride as the Chicago Latin Film Festival wraps up. It was truly an amazing experience where stories were told through the eyes of filmmakers from all over the world.  For us to be able to show Mi Princesa, a movie in which I had my first role as a lead actress, was an honor. We were one of the films representing my island, Puerto Rico.  

Me with my fellow actor Roberto Perez Perez
My Princesa:

Our first presentation of Mi Princesa was on Saturday, April 12.  I did not know what to expect.  Fortunately, we had a full house.  Traditionally, at the end of a movie being presented at a festival there is a Question & Answer’s session in which the audience is given the unique experience of being able to interact with the actors, directors, producers, or others who have worked on the film. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire process. Being able to explain different aspects of working on the film, the decisions made as an actress, and answering other questions from the audience was such an honor.  

Me at the premiere of the movie
Words cannot describe how I felt as I spoke to each and every one of the people that came to me after we exited the stage.  As an actress, it’s typical to experience many ups and downs in regard to your career. At times insecurities, and fear can take over. It can be an unstable lifestyle that can be difficult to balance. But moments like these, when you receive immediate feedback and you get to see first-hand how an audience is effected by your work, is when you are doing what you should be doing. I met so many beautiful people this past week. People who had insightful words of encouragement, no agendas,  and simply love and respect for my work.  My heart was crying tears of happiness.  

Me with Mi Princesa director Carlos Jimenez Flores
Attending these Film Festivals, you not only get the opportunity to interact with the audience but also with fellow actors, directors, and producers who are out there presenting their latest work of art, their joy in life, their “babies.” Through the daily luncheons provided by the swell festival organizers, we had the opportunity to meet, talk about our projects, make connections, share our experiences in the film making process while, of course, enjoying some great wine and food as well.  

Met Colombian actor Manolo Cardona
How beautiful it is to sit in a room with people from completely different countries and backgrounds but with one huge thing in common: a love for creating films.  It has been one of my biggest gratifications so far. I will forever treasure the experience, the inspiration, and the kindness I received at the Chicago Latin Film Festival. 

Me with the Chilean actress Paulina Garcia.
She received the Career Achievement Award at the festival. 
I encourage everybody to support film festivals.  You learn to appreciate this art form in a whole new way, at the same time, learning about other cultures.  Aside from our movie, Mi Princesa, I was able to attend various movie viewings. I was so inspired by the beautiful cinematography and storytelling. There is no need for a Hollywood budget to make a great movie. All you need is a good story to tell and a group of passionate artists who have the urge to create.

I want to highlight the movies "El Faro" (Colombia-Dir. Pacho Bottia),  "No quiero dormir sola"  (Mexico-Dir. Natalia Beristain), "I am from Chile" (Gonzalo Diaz), "Somos gente honrada" (Spain Dir. Alejandro Marzoa), "Corazon de Leon" (Argentina- Dir. Marcos Carnevale), and short film "Eggman" (USA-Dir. Victor Martin) as some of my favorites from the week. 

I also want to thank festival director, Pepe Vargas, for a well-organized festival and for always being present and available for anything we needed.  Congratulations on a successful 30th year Anniversary of the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

With Festival Director Pepe Vargas

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