Qinceañera has claimed both the jury and audience prizes at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film, a coming of age story that takes place in the heavily Latino neighborhood of Echo Park, features a cast of newcomers getting some great attention for their acting. Among them is Jesse Garcia who plays Carlos (pictured), the lead character's gay cousin, whose father has kicked him out for being gay but leads a rough life which includes flirtations with local gangs (aparently it was a very gay year at Sundance).
Though some are comparing the film to "made-for-cable forgiveness melodramas of the Lifetime Channel and Oxygen Network variety," we hope that it reaches New York movie screens so we can judge by ourselves.
It is not the first time that an independent flick explores issues related to Latino thugness and gay identity. In 2003, Tadeo Garcia explored these themes more directly in "On the Down-Low" which was based in the Southside of Chicago instead of Los Angeles. My organization co-sponsored a presentation of that particular film at the 16th New York City LGBT Film Festival, NewFest, where it won Best US Feature honors.
What the Village Voice says about the film:
Wan and cutesy, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's QUINCEAÑERA is most notable for making explicit the slumming subtext of many an earnest Sundance crowd-pleaser. Shot near the directors' own Echo Park residence and focused largely on the neighborhood's Latino community (in particular a newly out, tough gay boy and his possibly immaculately pregnant cousin), it's less about culture-clash affirmation than gentrifiers' guilt.
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