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A Celebration of Contemporary Colombia Cinema, May 23-26

May 12, 2011

New York University’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) will present Colombia Zoom In, a four-day program with the most recent productions in Colombian cinema. A variety of formats including features, documentaries, animations and short films in genres such as comedy, thriller, drama, musicals will highlight the innovation and creativity of talented contemporary Colombian filmmakers. The festival runs at the KJCC auditorium from Monday, May 23 to Thursday, May 26, 2011. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles.

Since the launch of the cinema law, the film industry in Colombia has experienced a boom characterized by the production of more than 10 movies a year, invitations and awards from the most important international film festivals and a growing audience going to movie theaters. This rise in production is also due partially to a new whole generation of Colombian filmmakers who attended film schools in Colombia, the United States, and Europe.  A national cinema has slowly and surely started. A cinema which is as distinct as it is diverse.

Colombia Zoom In, a program coordinated by KJCC’s Associated Director Laura Turégano and curated by programmer Diana Vargas, opens on Monday, May 23, 7:00 p.m. with the New York premiere of Karen llora en un bus / Karen Cries in a Bus (Gabriel Rojas, 2011).  The movie, that made its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival, tells the story of Karen who has left her slimy but successful husband Mario after ten years of marriage. She needs a fresh start to find out who she is and who she could be. She walks out into Bogotá with no job, no friends, and hardly any money, but catches a break when she meets a hairdresser named Patricia. With her younger and seemingly stronger friend by her side, Karen takes her first steps towards independence and self-discovery. Zoom In will also pay tribute to “The Poe” Ricardo León Peña-Villa who passed away recently in New York City with the short documentary Portrait of Ricardo León Peña-Villa (Sebastian Gutierrez). A reception sponsored by Empanadas Café will follow.

The festival closes on Thursday, May 26, 7:00 p.m., with the presentation of Retratos en un mar de mentiras / Portraits in a Sea of Lies (Carlos Gaviria, 2010). Actress Paola Bandión, winner of Best Actress at Guadalajara Film Festival will be present for Q&A. After the death of their grandfather in a mudslide, Jairo, an itinerant photographer, and Marina, his young amnesic and mute cousin, decide to go back and try to recover the land from which she was displaced years ago. They travel from Bogotá to the Caribbean coast in an old beat-up Renault 4. During the trip the story of her traumatic past starts to unfold.

Colombia Zoom In is made possible with support from Colombian Film Institute, Latino Fusion, Film Movement, Apertura Films, MakingDocs.Org, Luis Alberto “Peto” Restrepo, Empanadas Café.

Here is the Columbia Zoom In Line-Up:

Monday, May 23 @ 7:00 p.m.


Gabriel Rojas. 2011. Colombia. Fiction. 98 min.

After ten years living in a golden cage and devoting herself to her husband, Karen realizes what she has left behind. Sick of it all, she decides to leave-off. With her savings, she rents a room in downtown Bogota and tries to get a job, but her age and inexperience makes it impossible. Soon she has to decide between going back to her stable life and risking her new gained freedom or, for the first time, facing the cruelties of life on her own.  RECEPTION TO FOLLOW.  SPONSORED BY EMPANADAS CAFÉ.

Preceded by the short film Homage to “The Poe”  / Homenaje a El Poe (1961-2011)


Sebastian Gutierrez. 2008. Colombia-U.S. Documentary. 8 min.

Homage to “The Poe”, Ricardo León Peña Villa, who died recently. Almost 20 years ago, a group of artists and community leaders began living in the dilapidated buildings of the Lower East Side of New York. Poet Ricardo Leon-Peña Villa was one of those called “squatters”.

Tuesday, May 24 @ 6:00 p.m. 

MAMÁ CHOCÓ - NY Premiere

Diana Kuellar – Andres Giraldo. 2010. Colombia. Documentary. 60 min.

Mamá Chocó is the fictional journey of a uprooted woman from Cali to the land she left. A permanent evocation of what was her home; a desire and struggle to regain a place worth living.  She had 26 children and almost a hundred grandchildren.  With songs and tales, in the streets of Aguablanca district, Mamá Chocó evokes her dear Chocó, a desolate and abandoned town because of the war.

 Tuesday, May 24 @ 7:15 p.m.


Ciro Guerra. 2009. Colombia. Fiction. 112 min.

For most of his life, Ignacio Carrillo traveled the villages of northern Colombia, playing traditional songs on his accordion, a legendary instrument said to have once belonged to the devil. After the traumatic death of his wife, he vows to never play the accursed accordion again, and embarks on one last journey to return the instrument to its rightful owner. On the way, Ignacio is followed by Fermín, a spirited teenager determined to become his apprentice. Ignacio will try to discourage Fermín but destiny has different plans for them.

 Wednesday, May 25 @ 6:00 p,m.


Luis Alberto Restrepo. 2009. Colombia. Fiction. 92 min.

An energetic young priest, Father Gabriel, tries to make a difference in the lives of his poor parishioners in the Colombian jungle. Pragmatism trumps tradition when Gabriel tries to engage both sides of the ongoing civil war, the army and the FARC guerillas.

 Wednesday May 25 @ 7:40 p.m.


Abner Benaim. 2009. Panama-Colombia. Fiction. 90 min.

Chance is a fun tropical comedy that takes place in the luxurious mansion of the Gonzalez-Dubois, an aristocratic Caribbean family, where Paquita and Toña are employed as domestic workers. Fed up with the abuse and lack of respect they get from their employers, Paquita and Toña decide to make justice on their own hands and kidnap the Gonzales Dubois’ in their own home. They will ask for a large ransom. What no one imagines is the great secret behind the family...

Thursday, May 26 @ 6:00 p.m.


El corazón de la mancha by Rubén Mendoza. 2010. Colombia. Fiction. 23 min.

Magnolia by Diana Montenegro. 2011. Colombia. Fiction. 15 min.

Esto es un revólver by Pablo González. 2010. Colombia.  Fiction. 21 min.

Thursday May 26 @ 7:00 p.m.


Carlos Gaviria. 2010. Colombia. Fiction. 88 min.

Actress Paola Bandion present for q&A

After the death of their grandfather in a mudslide, Jairo, an itinerant photographer, and Marina, his young amnesic and mute cousin, decide to go back and try to recover the land from which she was displaced years ago. They travel from Bogotá to the Caribbean coast in an old beat-up Renault 4. During the trip the story of her traumatic past starts to unfold.

 Preceded by the short animation EL TROMPETISTA/ THE TRUMPETER

Miguel Rueda. 2011. Colombia-U.S. Animation. 6 min

The trumpeter is the story of a lonely musician with a lot of passion but lacking talent. He has not been successful and is what we call "a loser". Everything changes when our lonely loser meets a woman while riding the subway. He will discover that being a musician with no talent not only will save his life, but will conquer a beautiful woman's heart.


Here are further details about Colombia Zoom in:

 When: Monday, May 23 to Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hours: Monday at 7:00 p.m., Tues-Thurs., from 6:00 p.m.

Where: King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, NYU.

53 Washington Square South (btw. Sullivan and Thompson Streets)

Trains:  A, B, C, E, F, y M to West 4 and 1 to Christopher Street.

Price: Free

More Info at:

All films in Spanish with English Subtitles.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Around the Square, Events and Traditions

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Robert Polner | (212) 998-2337

A Celebration of Contemporary Colombia Cinema, May 23-26

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