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‘Cassandro’ and ‘Story Ave’ to Kick Off New York Latino Film Festival (Video)

The New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF), the nation’s premier Latino film festival, kicks off Latino Heritage Month from Sept. 15-24. It features an impressive roster of 116 films from nearly 20 countries. Watch a trailer for the festival above.

Held, once again, at Regal Union Square (850 Broadway, NYC), NYLFF will open with the New York City premiere of Amazon Prime’s film “Cassandro” (2023, 99 min.), starring Gael Garcia Bernal. It follows the true story of a colorful gay wrestler from El Paso who rose to international stardom.

Presented by Kino Lorber, the Festival will screen Aristotle Torres’ debut feature “Story Ave” (2023, 94 min.), starring Luis Guzman as an MTA transit worker held up by young graffiti artist Kadir (Asante Blackk).

HBO Documentaries will present “You Were My First Boyfriend” (2023, 97 min. USA), the heartwarming story of Cecilia Aldarondo as she revisits her 1990s adolescence. Also showing is “Radical” (2023, 122 min.), the story of actor Eugenio Derbez as a teacher in a Mexican border town who tries a radical new method to unlock the students’ potential.

Music lovers can enjoy Sony Pictures Classics’ film “Carlos” (2023, 88 min.) that follows legendary musician Santana’s journey from 14-year-old street musician to a 10-time Grammy-winning global sensation.

“Amidst this historic moment in the entertainment industry, NYLFF continues to uphold the importance of stories as a powerful and important tool for collective social change,” NYLFF Founder Calixto Chinchilla said in a statement to TheWrap. “The Festival, for 23 years, has and will continue to offer Latino filmmakers and content creators a platform to highlight our stories. More than ever, we been ready.”

Axel Caballero, vice president of external engagement for Warner Bros. Discovery, added: “The New York Latino Film Festival has a rich history of celebrating Latino voices and the communities that inspire them. We are proud to be long-time sponsors of the event and wish the festival and its filmmakers a week of exciting and powerful programming.”

Pat Swinney Kaufman, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, added: “We are thrilled to shine a light on independent film production in NYC by once again supporting the New York Latino Film Festival. This year’s opening night film, ‘Story Ave,’ directed by up-and-coming NYC filmmaker Aristotle Torres, is the perfect example of why this festival, and others like it, are so important; to provide a global platform to amplify diverse storytelling. Congratulations to Calixto Chinchilla, and team, on what is sure to be another terrific festival.”

The Festival closes with a free outdoor event in Washington Heights’ Quisqueya Plaza featuring live music and food, sponsored by Jim Bean. For more information on NYLFF 2023, visit www.nylatinofilmfestival.com.

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