That’s A Wrap! Denver Chicano World Cinema Festival Provides Laughs, Tears and Lots of Fun!

Photos by Javier Almeida & Teddy Gomez …See photo galleries below…

By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

The 17th Annual XicanIndie Latino World Cinema Film Festival wrapped up Sunday evening after a weekend long series of films that left audiences laughing, crying and mystified.
Among the favorites were “Tapia” that left many in tears praising the movie as one of the best  documentaries they had ever seen. The film is the true story of 5-time world boxing, Johnny Tapia, from Albuquerque, New Mexico whose life turns to drug addiction brought on by the rape and murder of his mother when he was eight years old.  His wife, Teresa Tapia, was at Su Teatro for the showing of the documentary.


“Oscar” presented by director Ruben Gonzalez, won raves as a very funny movie as did “Fugly” starry John Leguizamo and Rosie Perez.

Several celebrities were on hand to mingle and take photos with everyone who wanted to know more about the films they represented.

Rising star Johnny Ortiz, of the ABC hit drama “American Crime”, and star of “Strike One” captured everyone’s hearts with his youthful charm.He was there along with film veteran Alma Martinez and director David Liauger-Meiselman for their film about how the judicial system criminalizes Chicanos from a very young age ultimately incarcerating them ruining any chance for a productive or successful life.

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“Strike One” had many in the audience reliving their own unjust encounters with police and the judicial system. Several shared their horror stories during the discussion period after the film praising the filmmakers for shedding light on this continuing dilemma. “I painted my first mural while incarcerated” said artist Manuel Martinez. Another in the audience talked about how he was arrested and charged with bootlegging for bringing a jug of water from a mountain springs resort. Johnny Ortiz told the audience how even now he is profiled in L.A. despite his celebrity stature. “They see me in nice car all freshed out and they pull me over and allege that I must be a leader of a gang. I was tired of that type of harassment every time I went to visit an old friend. I hired a lawyer, sued and had three officers fired. We need to stand up and challenge this type of injustice.” he told the audience.

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Actor, Carlos Ramzey Ramzey Ramirez, was quite the character throughout the festival with his flamboyant style and wit.


He was there with producer, writer & actress Jade Puga and director Richard Montes for their comedic production of Aguruphobia, the story of a woman afraid of the outdoors who with her friends seek spiritual enlightenment from an internet Guru who tries to kill her. It was by far the strangest film of the festival.

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Anthony Garcia, artistic director for Su Teatro, said he was pleased with the turnout but would have liked to see more people supporting Chicano Films. “There was a time, not too long ago, that we did not have any Chicanos making films at this level. Now there are several producing wonderful work and they need our support,” he said.

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The four day XicanIndie film festival was produced by Daniel Salazar who states in the festival program, “What could be better than celebrating Latino filmmakers, actors and characters on the big screen? Seeing them live in person, presenting their work and sharing their passion; especially in this contradictory moment in American film history, when Mexican directors are being recognized with Academy Awards but the overall presence of Latino actors and stories in Hollywood is at an all time low.”

Amica Mutual Insurance Company is a vital supporter of the XicanIndie Film Festival. Assistant Vice President Eduardo Naya was at Su Teatro throughout the four day festival. Latin Life Denver was proud to be a media sponsor.

Several Awards were presented in various categories Saturday at the XicanIndie Awards Ceremony.

And The Winner Are:

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio XicanIndie

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Ollin
Outstanding Feature
David Llauger Meiselman

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Tonatiuh
Performance by an Actor
Johnny Ortiz

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Ciuatzintli
Performance by an Female Actor
Jade Puga

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Ometeotl
Performance by a Supporting Actor
Carlos Ramirez

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Mictoc
Outstanding Comedy
Ruben C. Gonzalez

XicanIndie XVII 2015
Premio Chones
Outstanding Short Subject

Photos by Teddy Gomez, Xposer Photography for Latin Life Denver Media


Photos by Javier Almeida for Latin Life Denver Media

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