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The Source: CineFestival Celebrates Latino Films

At 36 years old, CineFestival is the longest-running Latino film festival in the country. Beginning last Sunday, the celebration lasts until Saturday, March 1, and provides and important venue for minority filmmakers.

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center hosts filmmakers and actors from across the country, showing their work each night this week with accompanying panel discussions.

A year strong in documentaries, the festival kicked off Saturday with "Cesar's Last Fast" the story of migrant farm worker advocate Cesar Chavez. The festival builds on that momentum with the popular PBS documentary and Special Jury Award Winner, "Last Marthas," which screens tonight at 9 p.m.

"Las Marthas" details Laredo's annual Society of Martha Washington's Ball. A "colonial ball" that requires participants dress the part in costumes that surpass the median-income of the town, at $30,000. The documentary highlights cultural differences and class disparities between the elite of the invitation-only ball in a economically disadvantaged border city. 

CineFestival Best Documentary Winner, "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle," traces the life of the iconic journalist and martyr of the Chicano movement. Salazar goes from a mainstream reporter to ardent supporter of the movement and dies under questionable circumstances at the hands of white law enforcement.  Both films explore themes of class, cultural identity and the struggle to assimilate. 

What does the oldest Latino Film Festival mean to San Antonio and what does it mean to Latino filmmakers? That and history and future of Latino films are the topic of conversation. 


  • Cristina Ibarra (@lasmarthas), director of "Las Marthas"
  • Jim Mendiola, San Antonio native, writer and director of several films and an organizer of the 2014 CineFestival
  • Phillip Rodriguez (@RubenSalazarPBS), director of "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle"

*The Source airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org