Cinema Tropical Festival 2018: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela Will Present Inventive Films

Cinema Tropical
The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City will feature five films from Latin America. The 2018 Edition of the Cinema Tropical Festival, will present movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Find the schedule here! Photo: Cinema Tropical

Cinema Tropical, the acclaimed New York-based organization dedicated to promoting Latin American cinema in the United States, announced the 2018 edition of the Cinema Tropical Festival to take place February 2-4 at The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. Presenting five feature films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, the festival will present the winners of the 8th Annual Cinema Tropical Awards that were announced at a special ceremony at the New York Times Company headquarters.

Bringing the best of contemporary Latin American cinema to New York City audiences, the Cinema Tropical Festival offers a chance to experience the dynamic and inventive film productions from the region. Opening this year’s festival is the Venezuelan film La Soledad by Jorge Thielen Armand, winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best First Film. Hailed as “thoughtful… (a) quietly insightful profile of present-day Venezuela," the opening night screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo will also offer a Q&A after the screening of her documentary film Memories of a Penitent Heart, winner of the award for Best U.S. Latino Film, on Saturday, February 3. 25 years after his uncle died of AIDS, Cecilia tracks down his estranged lover and cracks open a Pandora's box of unresolved family drama.

The Cinema Tropical Festival will also host the New York premiere of the Chilean documentary film Adriana’s Pact, which received a Special Jury Mention from the Cinema Tropical Award jury for its courageous filmmaking. Lissette Orozco’s extremely personal debut feature is a riveting personal journey that serves as a timely account of lies and self-deception, both within a family and a nation.

Screening over the weekend will also be the Brazilian film Araby by Affonso Uchoa and João Dumans, the winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best Latin American Film of the Year, hailed as “an instant classic," and the Argentine film The Human Surge, the impressive debut feature by Eduardo Williams, winner of the award for Best Director.


  • La Soledad: Friday, February 2, 7 pm.

Winner Best First Film – Cinema Tropical Awards

Co-presented with the Venezuelan Film Festival of New York (VEFFNY).

In a hypnotic blend of fiction and a documentary-like style, Jorge Thielen Armand looks beyond the headlines and gives a voice to those affected by contemporary Venezuela’s inner turmoil. La Soledad follows José, a young father who discovers that the dilapidated mansion he squats will soon be demolished. Desperate to save his family from homelessness, José embarks on a mystical search for a cursed treasure that is rumored to be buried in the house.

Based on the filmmaker’s family and childhood home, most of the characters are played by his real friends and family members. Thielen Armand’s lyrical debut feature offers a poignant allegory of the desperate reality of today's Venezuela. 

  • Adriana's Pact: Saturday, February 3, 2 pm.  

Special Jury Mention – Cinema Tropical Awards

Adriana was always director Lissette Orozco's favorite aunt. A confident woman who had settled in Australia, one day in 2007 she is suddenly arrested while visiting her family in Chile and accused of having worked for dictator Pinochet’s notorious secret police, DINA. As the aunt denies these accusations, her niece sets out to investigate Adriana’s history, managing the tough balancing act of maintaining her role as both niece and filmmaker.

  • Memories of a Penitent Heart: Saturday, February 3, 4 pm.

Winner Best U.S. Latino Film – Cinema Tropical Awards.

Combining a wealth of newly discovered home movies, video, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama.

Originating from filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo’s suspicion that there was something ugly in her family’s past, the film charts her excavation of the buried family conflict around her uncle Miguel’s death, and her search for Miguel’s partner Robert a generation later. After two years of dead ends, Robert turns up: but he is not the same man. He has reinvented himself as Father Aquin, a Franciscan monk with 25 years of pent-up grief and bitterness. For the first time, a member of Miguel’s family wants to hear Aquin’s side of the story—but is it too little, too late?

A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis.

  • Araby: Sunday, February 4, 3 pm. 

Winner, Best Film – Cinema Tropical Awards

 Andre, a teenager, lives in an industrial town in Brazil near an old aluminum factory. One day, a factory worker, Cristiano, suffers an accident. Asked to go to Cristiano’s house to pick up clothes and documents, Andre stumbles upon a notebook, and it is here that Araby begins—or, rather, transforms. As Andre reads from the journal entries, we are plunged into Cristiano’s life, into stories of his wanderings, adventures, and loves.

  • The Human Surge: Sunday, February 4, 5 pm.

Winner, Best Director – Cinema Tropical Awards Buenos Aires.

Exe, 25 years old, has just lost his job and is not looking for another one. His neighbors and friends seem as odd to him as they always have. Online, he meets Alf, a boy from Mozambique who is also bored with his job and who is about to follow Archie, another boy who has run away into the jungle. Through the dense vegetation of the forest, Archie tracks ants back to their nest. One of them wanders off course and comes across Chai, a Filipina who is sitting on a giant heap of earth and about to return to her strange, beautiful hometown.

The mysterious, humorous ways in which their adventures connect (or don’t) fuels The Human Surge, a film about our present moment that boldly and wildly looks towards our future. Winner of the top prize in the 2016 Locarno Film Festival’s Filmmakers of the Present section, William’s audacious debut feature has been hailed as “an exhilarating, boldly paradoxical experience.” A Grasshopper Film release.

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.