The majority of movies you’ll find at your local multiplex or even smaller theaters are high-budget Hollywood films. But there are exceptions, such as a new film festival debuting Thursday night.
Marcus Theatres presents its first-ever film festival in the area with CineLatino at the Marcus South Shore Cinema in Oak Creek. From April 27 through the 30, Marcus Theatres and Aurora Health Care are presenting films (both in English and Spanish) that celebrate all aspects of Milwaukee's growing Hispanic community.
The dozen films presented include a range of dramas, documentaries, comedy and others that highlight the many aspects of Hispanic life and culture, both here and abroad.
"This has been a dialog that frankly has been going on for years," notes Marcus Theatres president and CEO Rolando Rodriguez. "How do we help educate all segments within our community about a great culture? And in particular, how do you transfer that to the African American community, to the Asian community, to the Caucasian community? And there's no better way in my mind...than to do that through an art form like the movies."
Rodriguez notes that these movies are not your typical Hollywood blockbusters. Instead, the films being made in Central and South America deal with softer issues - such as comedy, drama and family centric themes. This allows for the acting and directing to be more focused, he says, such as with the film Truman:
"When you look at the films that we're presenting, they're not necessarily driven by the Star Wars effect...we looked at films that could help the community and in particular young men and women to aspire to do great things," Rodriguez says.
The four-day festival is in partnership with Aurora Health Care, and half of the proceeds from the festival will go to support local health and education efforts within the Hispanic community, including a cancer center.
"Health care is critical. We want to make sure that we have a healthy community, and equally as important, make sure that education barriers...are tightened up, or frankly done away with," he says.
Rodriguez also hopes that this event can be built upon to include more culturally diverse films in Marcus Theatres, as well as create more collaborative community efforts.
"We've tried at Marcus to introduce some of these Hispanic films over the course of the past year and a half, but its been kind of a hit and miss," he says. "We see this a kind of a launching pad to say it's not just a festival, we should probably be looking at these films on a more regular basis."