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Cinema Tropical Awards: Fathers And Sons A Big Theme In Winning Films

An image of the Guatemalan movie Ixcanul, by Jayro Bustamante.Jayro Bustamante

It was a big night for fathers and sons at Cinema Tropical’s Annual awards show celebrating the best of US Latino and Latin American cinema.

Top honors went to Uruguayan film, “The Militant” (“El Lugar del Hijo,”) directed by Manuel Nieto Zas, whose film took home the nod for Best Latin American Film of the Year. Set in Uruguay in 2002 during a time of nationwide student protests that shut down universities, the movie is a sharp and thoughtful coming of age story that explores millennial activism and familial legacy. The film is a follow up to Nieto Zas’ celebrated debut, “La Perrera” (“The Dog Pound,”) which also tackles father and son relationships.

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Winning the prize for Best Director of a Feature Film was Argentina’s Gustavo Fontán for his visually rich and poetic film, “El Rostro” (“The Face,”) about a man in search of his dead father in a remote island off the Paraná River. Mexico’s “Coffee” (“Chants of Smoke”) by Hatuey Viveros was honored for Best Documentary. “Chants of Smoke” is a sweet film about an indigenous young man who is about to become his town’s first lawyer and is torn between continuing the legacy of his coffee farming ancestors and practicing law in the city.

Other winners included: Chile’s “The Quispe Girls” by Sebastian Sepulveda who won the award for First Time Director and the Chilean duo, Camila José Donoso and Nicolas Videla, who were recognized for Best Director of a Documentary Film for “Naomi Campbel.”

In a surprise twist, it was a tie for Best US Latino Film. Cristina Ibarra’s “Las Marthas,” a documentary about an odd celebration of Martha Washington in Laredo, Texas and Rodrigo Reyes who directed, “Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border,” a Dante-esque exploration of life along the US-Mexico border. The two won for Best US Latino films.

Winners were announced last night at a ceremony in The New York Times building. The prize-winning films will be showcased on February 6-8, 2015 at the Museum of the Moving Image.

--Sandra Guzman