Categories: Rebecca Romani, THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: SDLFF- End of Festival Gems Not to Miss

by Rebecca Romani

March 20, 2024

Ghostly Labor, film still 2022

Finishing Out the Festival:

As the San Diego Latino Film Festival moves on to its eventual finish, there are still quite a few gems to catch and a fun closing concert to attend.


As usual, the short programs are outstanding- with a variety that is truly impressive. The Ritmo Latino shorts feature Ghostly Labor, a very unique look at Latino labor along the border in the US, through the resistance and joy of dance such as Son Jarocho and Tap. The Raices (Roots) shorts program also has some interesting pieces. Of note is the documentary, Maria Presente, La Memoria en Nuestras Voces– a documentary that tells the story of Maria, Remedios del Valle, an African Argentine who is considered the mother of the country.

If you missed some of the features, chances are they are scheduled for another screening. Incomplete Lovers, from Mexico, is a charming comedy about a man who, when he discovers his recently deceased wife had several lovers, takes a road trip to Baja to find them. The Last Laugh, from Peru, takes a comedic look at a talk show host who is desperate to get his spark back while The Other Son, from Colombia, takes a compassionate look at what happens when one son dies in a freak accident, leaving his brother to deal with the grief.

I would regretfully suggest a hard pass on Lazaro’s Daughter (Costa Rica). It’s beautifully shot but the story of a TV journalist looking into her father’s assassination in Nicaragua in the 80’s is unable to keep its promise of karmic debt, political intrigue, and family secrets.

Still from Amber Bemak’s 100 Hundred Ways to Cross the Border (2021) courtesy the artist


100 Ways to Cross the Border is probably like no documentary you will have ever seen. A wildly discursive and self-referential piece, it takes on all the contradictions, challenges, and unorthodox performances that are Mexican/Chicano performance artist, Guillermo Gomez Peña. Gomez Peña has quite a history with the San Diego Border region- a member of the Border Arts Workshop (Tallér de arte fronterizo), his over 35-year body of work vigorously challenges various barriers to Mexican/Chicano identity, how culture crosses and cannot cross the border, as well as stereotypes and expectations. Expect Gomez-Peña to be on hand to talk about his work and to answer questions.

Another documentary close to home is the story of Linda and Carlos Legerrette. Linda and Carlos- a Chicano Love Story, looks at a local couple whose lives are deeply entwined with the Chicano Movement and the fight in the fields.

My Hidden Skin, from Mexico, is also about identity, specifically about members of the LGBTQ community as understood through the changes their bodies go through.

Special screenings:

This year’s special guest is the legendary Cheech Marin whose commitment to Latino film and the arts includes work in front of and behind the camera, as well as a center for Chicano art, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture at the Riverside Museum of Art. Two of Marin’s films are being shown as part of the tribute. His new film, The Long Game, about five teenage Mexican American caddies in Texas in the 1950’s who are not allowed to play at the club where they work, is the festival’s closing film, screening Saturday, 3/23. His iconic Born in East LA plays Sunday, the closing day of the festival. Marin will be on hand for a q and a session after each film.

It is advisable to buy tickets early and plan to come a bit early since the screenings may sell out.

Gabriel Gonzalez of Gabrielito y la Verdad


The Closing Night concert is headlined by Gabrielito y la Verdad. There will be food, a red carpet, and an awards ceremony to announce the festival winners. The festivities take place at the UCSD Park and Market location. Parking is street parking or available in the garage ($5)

The festival shorts winners screen at the festival, the last day, 3/24.

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