The best of Latin American film, in Vancouver

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Still from closing night film Anina.

The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is the largest annual festival of Latin American film in Canada. The 12th edition will feature 73 films, including 36 feature-length, films, screening in three downtown Vancouver theatres from Aug. 28-Sept 7. The selection brings the cream of Latin American filmmaking to Vancouver, and includes guests such Manuela Martelli, a prominent Chilean actress.

This year’s special guest country is Chile, so along with a number of Chilean films, six Chilean filmmakers will attend the festival, along with Martelli.

Some of the feature films include Lion’s Heart, which has been called “one of the best romantic comedies to come out of Argentina in the last decade.” It’s the opening night film and the screening will be followed by an after party at the Fox Cabaret (2321 Main).

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The Argentinian romantic comedy screens as part of this year’s VLAFF.

Martelli is the star of one of the films featured this year, The Future, based on a novel by Robert Bolano and which also stars Rutger Hauer. The festival will also screen two other Martelli films, the acclaimed Machuca and 2009’s Christmas.

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Rutger Hauer and Manuela Martelli in The Future.

VLAFF’s Closing Night Film is the animated Anina by director Alfredo Soderguit, followed by the Closing Night Reception at SFU Woodward’s World Art Centre (149 West Hastings).

Other special screenings include the 1968 Cuban feature Memories of Underdevelopment, considered by film scholars to be one of the top 100 films of the 20th century. There will also be a screening of No One Writes to the Colonel, a film adaptation of a novella by the late writer and Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez.

Participating theatres include Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.), Vancity (1181 Seymour) and Douglas College Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre (700 Royal Ave., New Westminster). Festival programmers have divided the screenings into 10 different sections, including the New Directors Competition, the Al Jazeera Documentary Competition, Short Film Competition, Panorama of Latin American Cinema, Canada Looks South and Afro-Cuban Cinema. For more info visit vlaff.org.

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A scene from Habi, The Foreigner, one of the films screening at this year’s Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

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