New York Latino Film Festival highlights, including premieres and NYC-set shorts

Singer-songerwriter Rubén Blades is the focus of an Abner Benaim-directed documentary screening at the festival.
Singer-songerwriter Rubén Blades is the focus of an Abner Benaim-directed documentary screening at the festival.

The 15th New York Latino Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. From the premiere of a documentary about a renowned Panamanian musician to short films set in New York City, amNewYork takes a look at some of the highlights below.

‘Rubén Blades Is Not My Name’

The festival’s curtains will rise with a screening of “Rubén Blades Is Not My Name.” The documentary, directed by Abner Benaim, catches up with Panamanian singer-songwriter Rubén Blades, a “Latin American icon” who was “at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970s,” the festival’s website says. Blades’ career spans more than 50 years and isn’t over yet, the film reveals. (Wed., 7:30 p.m.)

‘The Sentence’

“The Sentence,” one of several films premiering at this year’s festival, follows Cindy Shank, a mother sentenced to more than a decade in prison for her “tangential involvement” in a drug ring. The Rudy Valdez-directed movie won the 2018 Sundance Audience Award. (Thurs., 8:30 p.m.)

‘Angel in the City’

In “Angel in the City,” directed by Roberto Russo, host Angel De Leon hops on his motorcycle and “travels throughout New York City . . . in search of stories in the most unlikely places.” During the course of the documentary, which is sponsored by AARP NY, De Leon talks to artists over the age of 50 about “how they maneuver life’s challenges, tackling subjects like aging, personal fulfillment, and more.” The Saturday premiere is free, according to the festival’s website. (Sat., 4 p.m.)

‘Make Love Great Again’

“Make Love Great Again,” a “pointed comedy” from Mexican-born director Aaron Agrasanchez, centers on a Mexican woman studying in the U.S. and her American husband as she tries to secure permanent residency. The film has garnered a number of awards, including Best Ensemble Film at 2017’s San Diego International Film Festival. (Sat., 4 p.m.)

Short Films

A few New York City-centric shorts will screen at the festival, including “Big Bad Wolves,” an 11-minute film that follows four girls from Brooklyn whose lives “are changed forever by one very bloody night”; “Civic Mind,” a 20-minute film about a teen who does undercover volunteer work for the NYPD; “Exeunt,” an 11-minute short about a “frustrated Broadway dresser”; and “Story Ave,” a 10-minute film centered around a “robbery gone right” in the Bronx.

The New York Latino Film Festival runs Wednesday through Saturday. For ticket info, schedules and locations, go to nylatinofilmfestival.com

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