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Latino Film Festival aims to celebrate culture through movies

DES MOINES, Iowa — Lights, camera, action…and cultural representation. Saturday marked the last day of this year’s Iowa Latino Film Festival.

The Des Moines Latino Film Festival partnered with The Chicago Film Festival last year.

“We’re just really excited to show a little bit about our culture and how the way of life is sometimes a little different than what we know here in Des Moines,” Manny Toribio with the Latino Center Iowa said.

This year it’s back as a five day event. Since Wednesday they’ve shown 23 films, with genres ranging from science fiction, animation and documentaries, offering a variety for everyone.

Many of the films that were featured are from Latin countries, such as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Iowa filmmakers as well. During the five day event they had Q&A’s with the filmmakers to learn more about their work.

Not only did this festival allow filmmakers to showcase their work, but it also served as a learning opportunity of Latino culture.

“Really just sort of brainstorm about how can we not only bring a center, that’s our goal, to bring a center to Des Moines that really focused on collaborating and bringing all the diverse Latino community members,” Toribio said. “But really understanding how else can we show what we have to offer based on our culture and our way of living and food and just all those things that kind of give our senses a happy feeling.”

Saturday’s event at Riverview park showed five films. They had local food vendors and live music to end the night.

Organizers said they hope in the future to show more films next and expand the film showings by satellite to surrounding Iowa cities.

But here in the metro, their mission is to make it a staple festival for years to come.

“I want to focus on creating kind of that legacy, which is an event that not only I can continue to come to after,” Toribio said. “We’re excited to bring that and just give everybody a kind of a shot in the arm like,’ hey, we’re here you know, we got some colors and flair here in Des Moines, Iowa.'”

For more information about next year’s festival or to learn more about the films, you can go to their website.

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