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Latino cinema returns to San Diego

Created: 13 August, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
3 min read

   A very successful Mexican romantic comedy returns, literary, to San Diego.

   The film (Return), which had its world premiere at the San Diego Latino Film Festival in March, will run as part of the newest Cinema en tu idioma series from August 13 through 19 at the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center.

   Regresa is fantasy romantic comedy, starring Jaime Camil and Blanca Soto, where a woman who is ignored by her husband attends hypnosis therapy, only to return from her hypnotic trip believing she’s a Basque princess from the 15th century.

   The Argentinean film Música en espera, which tells the love story between a composer and a bank teller, will also screen. This film, starring Norma Aleandro and Diego Peretti, had much success in Argentina.

   Both films, which are in Spanish with English subtitles, are the first in Cinema en tu idioma 2010, an annual series that presents some of the most popular films from the San Diego Latino Film Festival or that have not had much promotion in the U.S. but that have been hits in their countries of origin.

   The monthly film series will run through November. The screening schedule if the following: September, Cinco días sin Nora and Celda 211; October, El estudiante and Cuestión de principios; and November, Alamar and Contracorriente.

   “Cinema en tu idioma is a great chance to bring films that the San Diego audience doesn’t regularly get to see inside a movie theatre,” said Lisa Franek, special programs coordinator for the Media Arts Center San Diego, the organization behind the San Diego Latino Film Festival. “These films are an alternative to Hollywood cinema.”

   In fact, the series was created so that the San Diego audience could watch films that don’t have much promotion in the U.S., said Ethan Van Thillo, executive director and founder of the San Diego Latino Film Festival.

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   “The sad truth is, that even after all the success Latino Cinema has had over the years, 99% of these films (especially from countries other than Mexico) will not make it to the ‘big’ screen at local movie theaters here in San Diego,” he said. “We’re screening three films, because we want to give as many of these films and their distributors a chance to show their work to local audiences. We also want local audiences to have the unique opportunity to gather together under one roof and see films in Spanish, learn about these diverse Countries, and enjoy entertaining cinema on the big screen.”

   Since it was founded in 1999, Cinema en tu idioma has become a tradition among film junkies in San Diego.

   “In 1999, Media Arts Center San Diego began a new concept of offering mini-exhibitions in the region of the best of cinema from Latin America, Mexico, and Spain,” Van Thillo said. “Since then, the organization has screened more than 40 films that otherwise would never be distributed in local theaters.”

   Furthermore, when Van Thillo founded the festival some 20 years ago, it was almost impossible to know the diversity that exists in Latino cinema.

   When we first started the festival 17 years ago, Latino Cinema meant East L.A. and films like La Bamba and Born in East L.A.,” he said. “Since then, there has been an explosion of voices, genres, and stories from all over the Latino world.”

   Tickets for each film are $10, and $8 for students and seniors.

   To learn more about Cinema en tu idioma, visit

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