Hola Mexico Festival returns to downtown LA


The 6th Annual Hola Mexico Festival returns to downtown LA. Hola Mexico Festival, presented by DishLATINO & Cinelatino, returns to Los Angeles to offer the best of Mexico’s film, music and regional food. Themed ¡Hola Mexico Lucha!, the festival will showcase 13 feature films and four documentaries by Mexican directors and film production companies. The Hola Mexico Film Fest films will screen at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live and all special events will take place at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Arte.

The festival kicks off its opening night on May 9 with the LA premiere of the Mexican box-office smash hit CÁSESE QUIEN PUEDA (Get Married If You Can), directed by Marco Polo Constandse and written by and starring Marta Higareda.  This romantic comedy tells the story of a snobby and glamorous bride to be who gets lost in the jungle a week before her wedding. Her sister Daniela is staying with the fiancée’s family, while Ana fights mosquitoes, snakes, alligators and natives trying to get back to the city.

New this year, a FREE Mother’s Day Event will take place at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes on Saturday, May 10, offering food vendors, music by Ceci Bastida & Vanessa Zamora, and an evening outdoor screening of ¿QUE LE DIJISTE A DIOS? (What did you ask God?), a wildly entertaining musical featuring the songs of Mexico’s finest singer/songwriter and six-time Grammy nominee, Juan Gabriel.

Hola Mexico Film Fest boasts U.S. and LA premieres as well as four world premieres, including the closing night film VOLANDO BAJO (Flying Low). Directed by Beto Gómez, this hilarious comedy about the successful 80s band “Los Jilgueros de Rosarito” pays homage to popular Mexican Cinema from the 70s and 80s. The film stars Gerardo Taracena and Rodrigo Oviedo and features one of the era’s biggest musicians in its cast, Rafael Inclán. To rock out the night, the Spanish group La Gusana Ciega returns to LA for the first time in six years, offering a special concert at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.

Sponsoring Hola Mexico Film Festival (HMFF) is a natural extension of DishLATINO’s focus on providing the best selection of Spanish-language programming to subscribers and an opportunity to help showcase the arts and culture of Mexico to a wide audience.

Opening Night Film: CASESE QUIÉN PUEDA ((Get Married If You Can) L.A PREMIERE
Dir. Marco Polo Constandse
México, 107 MIN
CAST: Martha Higareda, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Miriam Hiagreda
This romantic comedy about two sisters has been named the 3rd largest box-office hit in Mexico’s history. The snobby and glamorous Ana gets lost in the jungle after finding out her groom to be was cheating on her, while Daniela, her punk sister who isn’t interested in romance stays with her fiancé’s family…

Ana Paula is on the brink of walking down the aisle when she discovers her fiancee is cheating on her with her own cousin. After a night of drinking, she ends up falling asleep in the back of a pick up truck, which heads out to the farm. When she wakes up, she realizes she is far from home, and looks for a way back when she encounters an enigmatic doctor, an indigenous family and the realization that she always wanted to further her educations, all things that turn her previous existence upside down. In the meantime, her sister Daniela, has no interest in love, since she is already on her career path.

Dir. Beto Gomez
Mexico 2014, 90 MIN
Cast: Gerardo Taracena, Rodrigo Oviedo, Rafael Inclan y Ludwika Paleta
Chuyin Venegas and Cornelio Barraza, members of ‘Los Jilgueros de Rosarito’ were the greatest stars of popular music and cinema in the 80’s and 90’s. After two decades of success Chuyin and Cornelio decide to go their separate ways, leaving the band in the past, but their story was far from over. In present day, Chuyin, now a successful international solo act, finds out about Cornelio’s death, and decides to go back to Mexico where he will have to face the ghosts of his past, as well as the loneliness of his present in this fun-filled musical comedy.

Dir. Manolo Caro
México 2013, 90 MIN
CAST: Ludwika Paleta, Luis Ernesto Franco, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Raúl Méndez
This dramatic comedy features an ensemble of diverse neighbors, living in the same building. Two couples: Lucas & Julia, Catholics, and Aaron & Nora, Jews. Then there’s Lola the Spanish world traveler. Their story unfolds with the arrival of a new tenant, Felix, an ex soccer player. The neighbors soon gather for a friendly dinner, only to discover the problems amongst them. Lola reveals her relationship problems, Julia and Aaron fall in love and Lucas goes after Felix’s attention. The shocking sound of two gunshots soon puts all of the neighbors in the middle of a suspicious crime scene.

Dir. Francisco Franco
México, 92 MIN
CAST: Irene Azuela, Karina Gidi, Ricardo Blume, Silvia Pinal, Rebeca Jones, Cecilia Suárez.
We are a month and a half away from the debut of Albert Camus’ “Caligula”, and the neurotic director is in constant conflict with her actors. The show diva is offended, the veteran actor can’t remember his lines, the producer is drunk, our protagonist is in a state of panic and the technicians have stolen the set. Will they get it together for last call?
The Last Call is the comedic story of a turbulent production. We are a month and a half away from the debut of Albert Camus’ “Caligula”, and the neurotic director is in constant conflict with her actors. The show diva is offended, the veteran actor can’t remember his lines, the producer is drunk, our protagonist is in a state of panic and the technicians have stolen the set. Will they get it together for the last call? Will the production ever see the light of day? It’s anyone’s guess.

CRITIC’S NOTE: Francisco Franco’s delightful theatrical farce (sort of a post-modern spin on Noises Off) is a complete delight and one of my favorite films of last year’s FIG in LA. A MUST SEE

Dir. Amat Escalante
Los bastardos (2008)
México, 105 MIN
CAST: Aramando Espitia, Andrea Vergara, Linda Gozalez
Heli Silva lives with his father, sister wife and baby in a concrete room  a few square meters large. His sister Estela’s boyfriend Beto is a soldier whose military training is humiliating. After the army seizes drugs for “burning” Beto robs the hiding place of his superiors. Counting on Estela’s devotion, Beto keeps his booty (two packages of cocaine) in the water tank of the Silva family. Heli finds it and gets rid of it, giving rise to grisly reprisals against him and his family.

CRITIC”S NOTE: Amat Escalante, award-winning director of
 ‘Sangre” (the FIPRESCI Prize -2005 Cannes, Un Certain Regard), and “Los bastardos ” (Mar del Plata Film Festival, 2008 Best Ibero-American Film) and Morelia International Film Festival 2008-Feature Film Competition Award)  returns with his latest hard-edged film  “Heli” winner of numerous international awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize -2005 Cannes, Un Certain  Grand Coral Best Film-Havana Film Festival, 2013

LA JAULA DE ORO (The Golden Cage)
Dir. Diego Quemada-Díez
México 2013, 102 MIN
CAST: Brandon López, Rodolfo Domínguez, Karen Martínez
Juan, Sara and Samuel, three teenagers from the poorest neighborhoods in Guatemala travel to the United States to find a better life. During their journey through Mexico they meet Chauk, an Indian from Chiapas who speaks no Spanish.

Traveling by train and walking together, they face a shocking reality. Together they live the ordeal suffered by millions of people, forced by circumstances to undertake a perilous and uncertain final journey. On the road they experience friendship, solidarity, fear and injustice. The pain in this film is of utmost importance. CRITIC’S NOTE:  First -time director Diego Quemada-Díez’s soulful road movie personalized the plight of illegal immigration in a Globalized world. HAUNTING MUST SEE CINEMA

DIR. Samuel Kishi
México 2013, 100 MIN
CAST: Alejandro Gallardo, Arnold Ramirez, Moises Galindo
Alex, a 16 year old boy who lives with his grandmother, has different goals for the summer: he wants to create a new song with his rock band, get a job and have his first sexual experience. At the same time, he sees his grandmother is becoming more dependent on him. As summer progresses, Alex begins to realize that things are going to change forever. He matures and learns to say goodbye.

Dir. Carlos Cuaron
México 2013, 87min
CAST: Hector Jimenez, Veronica Falcon, Paloma Arredondo
Nacho, a boy of 13, crosses the threshold of adolescence looking for his place in life in all the wrong places. A dysfunctional family and a corrupt, violent social environment don’t help. Excluded and despised by his family, Nacho takes refuge in dancing machine technodance and spending time with Cacayo, a 27 year-old subnormal dedicated to copy pirated movies. Until he falls for Mayra, an angelic girl, whose only flaw is she is the daughter of La Diabla, the tough leader of the street venders, and the sister of gangster Chiquibuki. Can the purity of first love survive the dark face of our society?

Writer-director Carlos Cuarón (brother of Alfonso Cuarón) wrote the screenplay for Alfonso’s “Sólo con tu pareja” in 1991, which won the Ariel Award for best original screenplay in 1991.
Along with his brother, he wrote the screenplay for “Y tu mamá también” (starring Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdú) and won the Silver Lion for best original screenplay at the 2001 Venice International Film Festival. Carlos Cuarón’s first film as a director, “Rudo y Cursi (Rude and Corny) was released in 2008. It also stars Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal.

DIR. Humberto Hinojosa Ozcariz
Mexico 2014, 98 MIN
CAST: Diego Cataño, Miguel Rodarte, Christin Vasquez, Diane Rosser
A teenager, Robo, become deaf after an accident. He soon falls in love with a foreigner who is visiting Mexico and discovers that being in love can bring back hearing. The romance is complicated when he learns that his best friend is also in love with her. Meanwhile, Cobra, his best friend, has been waiting a whole year for the arrival of his one true love, Eve. Both Eve and Robo realize that there is something magical between them, but the secret must be kept throughout a trip to the beach, becoming a secret love story with a final heart wrenching twist.

DIR. Kuno Becker
México, 84 MIN
CAST: Raúl Mendez, John Henry Richardson, Aurora Papile, Dan Rovzar, Shalim Ortíz, Sofía Sisniega, Kuno Becker
Four paramedics on duty in Arizona intercept a distress call from Mexico. Training kicks in as they illegally cross the border to help. As they cross the border with the wounded man, the ambulance is hit by another vehicle. Suddenly trapped inside their own ambulance, nothing could prepare them for what they would encounter.

¿Qué le dijiste a Dios? (What Did You Say To God?)
Dir. Teresa Suarez
México 2013, 88MIN
CAST: Juan Gabriel, Mark Tacher, Erika de la Rosa.

If you’re in love, and you’re desperate, you’re capable of anything. That’s exactly what happens to Lupita and Martina, two maids who decide to sacrifice everything for love, when their boss Marcela won’t give them leave to attend a wedding in their village. The girls steal Marcela’s clothes and shoes and take off for the village, where Lupita seek to impress her boyfriend Pepe so he will finally marry her. When Marcela discovers the theft she recruits her poor innocent friend Marifer to find them, recover her things and exact justice. Their weekend getaway becomes a revealing journey of adventure and discovery that will change the lives of everyone involved. “What did you say to God? “is a comedy that tells, in the rhythm of the best songs of Juan Gabriel, stories of love, friendship and betrayal of these four women, who understand why it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. Teresa Suarez’s “musical” uses songs by the famous singer -songwriter in a new way.

Dir Olallo Rubio
Mexico 2014, 106 MIN
Using only archival footage director Olallo Rubio (Gimme The Power) details Mexico’s history with the Soccer World Cups (and other major tournaments over the last century. The chronological journey from 1928 to 2012 is an emotional and education trip through time.

When President Miguel de Madrid inaugurated the 1986 World Cup the crowd irrupted with eight straight minutes of booing, drowning out the President who did little to relieve the  residents of Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake.

We revisit 1998 when FIFA banned El Tri (found guilty of fielding overage players in a  Under-20 tournament) from all international competition for two years, including the Italy 1990 World Cup.

From El Tri’s first international tournament (a dramatic 7-1 loss to Spain in the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games) to their triumph over Brazil at the London 2012 Olympics, Rubio examines the teams transformation from dogged loser to one of the world’s top 16 sides.

We see the two legendary World Cups hosted by Mexico with the historic games played by Pele and Diego Maradona thrilling the sold out Estadio Azteca.

DIR. Roberto Fiesco
México, 92 MIN
CAST: Fernando Garcia Ortega, Lilia Ortega, Jorge Fons
Fernando Garcia, known as Pinolito, was a child actor in the seventies, and Dona Lilia Ortega, his mother, practiced the same profession. A few years ago, Fernando came out as a transvestite, and now calls himself Coral Bonelli. Coral and Dona Lilia now live in Garibaldi, yearning for their past in the movies, while Coral bravely comes to terms with her/his gender identity. They both continue to perform.
CRITIC’S NOTE: Quebranto has won numerous festival awards including the Guerrero Press Award at the 2013 Morelia Film Festival

Dir. Gabriela Obregon
México 2013, 90min
CAST: El Hijo del Santo
The 70th anniversary of the birth of “The Saint”, one of the biggest sporting, cultural and cinematic legends of Mexico, and the debut of his son as a fighter, mark the starting point for
“El Hijo del Santo” to take us into his story. His family legacy goes beyond the ring, through personal memories and personal files to reveal his childhood with an absentee father who had a double identity, the son’s discovery of the “hero” at home and his reasons for wanting to continue this legacy.

DIR. Marc Silver
México, 85 MIN
CAST: Gael Garcia Bernal
An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for identity leads us back across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo.

On August 3, 2010, Pima County (Arizona), in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, the semi-decomposed body of a man is discovered. Under his shirt is a tattoo that says “dayani crystal.” How did he get there? How did he die? What or who-is dayani crystal?  Marc Silver’s magnificent documentary interweaves the answers to those questions with dramatic sequences, and beautiful scenery. Silver follows the investigation through the many agencies which assist in identifying human remain. Famed actor Gael García Bernal follows the path the man with the dayani crystal tattoo took from his home in South America to the US border, humanizing the tortuous journey of illegal immigration. Together they reconstruct the anonymous victim. The film unfolds like a thriller, to lead an exciting and devastating climax.

DIR. Nuria Ibáñez
México 2013, 67 MIN
“The Naked Room” shows a whole world without leaving a single space: the examination room in a children’s hospital in Mexico City. Listening to children, their parents and the doctors during consultations allows us to have a more profound and complex view of our social reality and of human nature.

CRITIC’S NOTE: Nuria Ibáñez remarkable documentary simply observes interviews between young psychiatric patients, their family members and their doctors, giving us a glimpse into the inner torment of depressed and suicidal youngsters, and the family dynamics. Winner of
The Award for Best Documentary by a Woman and Best Feature Length Documentary at The 2013 Morelia Film Festival. MUST SEE

NO SE ACEPTAN DEVOLUCIONES (No Instructions Included)
Dir. Eugenio Derbez
MEXICO 2013, 115min
CAST: Eugenio Derbez, Loreto Peralta, Jessica Lindsay
Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) is Acapulco’s resident playboy, until a former fling leaves a baby on his doorstep and takes off without a trace. Leaving Mexico for Los Angeles to find the baby’s mother, Valentin ends up finding a new home for himself and his newfound daughter, Maggie. An unlikely father figure, Valentin raises Maggie (Loreto Peralta) for six years, while also establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen to pay the bills, with Maggie acting as his on-set coach. As Valentin raises Maggie, she forces him to grow up too. But their unique and offbeat family is threatened when Maggie’s birth mom shows up out of the blue, and Valentin realizes he’s in danger of losing his daughter – and his best friend.

Actor-director Eugenio Derbez’s comedy broke Box Office records in Mexico and abroad. In November 2013, Lionsgate and Pantelion Films announced “Instructions Not Included” was the highest grossing Spanish Language film ever released in the U.S. ( surpassing Pan’s Labyrinth‘s $37.6M.) and the 4th biggest grossing foreign language film ever in the U.S., behind only “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (Taiwan), “Life is Beautiful” (Italy), and “Hero” (China).  In Mexico, in it’s first two weeks run, it dethroned the previous Box Office Champ “We Are the Nobles”, also showing at Hola Mexico this year.

Dir. Gary Alazraki
Mexico 2013, 108min
CAST: Gonzalo Vega, Karla Souza, Luis Gerardo Méndez
Three spoiled children who are cut off from their family fortune and forced to do the unthinkable – get a job. CRITIC’S NOTE: Director Gary Alazraki borrows Hollywood screwball tropes to tell his modern family comedy.

The surprising hit of recent Mexican cinema returns once again for a fun Festival presentation attended by director Gaz Alazraki and his talented cast. Do not miss one last opportunity to see this gem of Mexican cinema.  When German Noble – a manipulative and powerful businessman – realizes his spoiled lazy children: Harvey, Barbara and Charlie are throwing their lives away, he decides to pretend he’s bankrupted his company to teach them a lesson; making them believe that all their properties were seized, they are forced to get by without their cars, cell phones and credit cards. Forced to live in a poor neighborhood, forced to cut all contact with their parasitic friends, he gets them to do something none of them had done before… work.

2014 Hola Mexico Festival – PROGRAM

Friday, May 9
Opening Night Screening & Fiesta
6:00 pm    RED CARPET (LA Premiere)
7:00 pm  Cásese Quien Pueda (Get Married If You Can)
Special guests: Director Marco Polo Constandse & Actresses, Martha & Miriam Higareda
Location:     Regal Cinemas LA LIVE | 1000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Saturday, May 10  Mother’s Day FREE Event
Food vendors, music & outdoor screening
        Special guests: Ceci Bastida and Vanessa Zamora

8:00 PM    ¿Qué le dijiste a Dios? (What Did You Ask God?)
Location:    LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes | 501 Main St, Los Angeles CA 90002

Sunday, May 11
1:00 PM     El Cuarto Desnudo (The Naked Room)
Winner of Best Feature Documentary and Best Documentary by a Female
Filmmaker, 2013 Morelia Film Festival
Screening followed by discussion with Child Psychiatrist Dr. Douek & colleagues

3:00 PM    Nosotros Los Nobles (We are the Nobles)
Special guests: Karla Souza, Luis Gerardo Méndez and Director Gaz Alazraki

6:00 PM    Heli
Special guests: Director Amat Escalante (Cannes Film Festival Best Director)

8:45 PM    I Hate Love WORLD PREMIERE
Special guests: Christian Vazquez, Diane Rosser and Director Beto Hinojosa

Monday, May 12
5:00 PM    ¿Qué le dijiste a Dios? (What Did You Ask God?)
Special guests: Director Teresa Suárez

7:00 PM    Pánico 5 Bravo (5 Bravo)
Special guests: Dan Rovzar and Director Kuno Becker

9:00 PM    No sé si cortarme las venas o dejármelas largas
(I Don’t Know whether to slit my wrists or leave them intact) LA PREMIERE
Special guests: Ludwika Paleta, Luis Ernesto Franco and Director Manolo Caro

Tuesday, May 13
5:00 PM    I Hate Love

7:30 PM    ¿Quién es Dayani Cristal? (Who is Dayani Cristal?) LA PREMIERE
Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Documentary 2013
HOTDOCS Official Selection 2013
51st New York Film Festival Official Selection

9:00 PM    Besos de Azúcar (Sugar Kisses)
Special guests: Director Carlos Cuaron

Wednesday, May 14
5:00 PM    El Cuarto Desnudo (The Naked Room)

6:30 PM    No Se Aceptan Devoluciones (Instructions Not Included)
Special guests: Karla Souza and Director Eugenio Derbez

9:00 PM    Tercera Llamada (The Last Call)
Special guests: Irene Azueta and Director Francisco Franco

Thursday, May 15
5:00 PM    Filmmakers Panel

7:00 PM    La Jaula de Oro (The Golden Dream)
Cannes Film Festival Best Ensemble
Special guest: Director Diego Quemada-Diez

9:00 PM    El Hombre detrás de la mascara (The Man Behind the Mask) WORLD PREMIERE
Special guests: El Hijo Del Santo and Director Gabriela Obregón

Friday, May 16
5:00 PM    Pánico 5 Bravo (5 Bravo)

7:30 PM    Quebranto (Breakage)
Mayahuel Guadalajara Film Festival Winner
Special guests: Coral and Roberto Fiesco

9:30 PM    Somos Mari Pepa (We are Mari Pepa)
Special guests: Director Samuel Kishi

Saturday, May 17
La Gran Parrillada, Sonora in focus
12:00pm – 5:00pm
Chefs: Carlos Valdez, Javier Plascencia, Dante Ferrero and Eloy Alury
Curated by:     Bill Esparza
Location:     LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Saturday, May 17
12:00 PM     Besos de Azúcar (Sugar Kisses)
2:00 PM    Quebranto (Breakage)
5:00 PM    Somos Mari Pepa (We are Mari Pepa)
7:30 PM    Tercera Llamada (The Last Call)

9:30 PM  Ilusión Nacional WORLD PREMIERE
Special guests: Director Olallo Rubio

Sunday, May 18
Closing Night Screening & Concert
7:30 PM    Opening Band
8:30 PM    Volando Bajo (Flying Low)
10:00 PM    Concert of LA GUSANA CIEGA
Special guests: Director Beto Gómez, Actors, Gerardo Taracena and Rodrigo Oviedo, Fernanda Ulibarri, Los Jilgueros de Rosarito, and more.

The Hola Mexico Festival is committed to improving Mexico’s image, highlighting the best of Mexico through the arts, music, food and culture.  Join Hola Mexico during these 10 days of celebration and share your discoveries and love for Mexico on Twitter  #HolaMexicoLucha.

Tickets are on sale NOW, visit: www.holamexicofest.com.
All films are in Spanish and will be screened at the Regal Cinemas in L.A. Live with English subtitles.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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