OC Film Fiesta Celebrates Cinema, Music, Food, Latino Jews and Rita Hayworth in Santa Ana

A late summer-through-fall season of film festivals kicks off Saturday with the third annual OC Film Fiesta in downtown Santa Ana. Over three weeks, the Artists Village will be overtaken by a cinematic celebration that this year includes nods to “Tin Tan,” indie rockers, silent bonds, young farmers, lucha libre, non-toxic pottery, unbreakable artistic dreams, screen siren Rita Hayworth and Latino Jews (Or should that be Jewish Latinos?).

Presented in partnership with the city, The Road Less Traveled, Grand Central Art
Center, United Artists of Santa Ana, the Mexican Consulate, OC Weekly, MX Live, Stay Connected and Aztec
GoldTV, the
Film Fiesta includes free screenings at various downtown locations, with
live music and tasty food served up to accompany certain titles.

Indeed, there is so much deliciousness packed into director Sandra “Pocha” Peña Sarmiento's program, which runs in conjunction with downtown Santa Ana's massive annual Fiestas Patrias
Mexican Independence Celebration, that we won't dare try to present it all in depth here. Instead, you'll get the immediate highlights first, a brief overview of what else is coming to end this post and updates as the festival drags on with more specifics about events later in the program.

And away we go . . .


OC Film Fiesta kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday with live music by the Moan and the Tequila Worms in the Second Street Promenade, off Broadway, to properly usher in the 8 p.m. outdoor screening of Akira Boch's tragicomedy that “follows the ups and downs of the greatest band in the world …
that no one's ever heard of.” Set in Echo Park, the film stars Teresa
Michelle Lee
, Katie Hipol and Jeff Torres

From emerging director Stephen Crutchfield and acclaimed writer Stephen
(Pretty Woman, Mr. Holland's Opus) comes this 20-minute drama about an autistic boy who strikes up an unusual friendship with an elderly Mexican migrant worker. Film star Louie Olivos Jr. attends the 1 p.m. Sunday screening in the Orange
County Center for Contemporary Art
, 117 North Sycamore, Santa Ana.


See the work of tomorrow's directors today, at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix
's coming-of-age documentary about 15-year-old artist Inocente, who refuses to let homelessness and her tough life as an undocumented immigrant keep her from achieving her artist dreams. How tough? Her
father was deported for domestic abuse, and her alcoholic and defeated mother of
four once took her daughter by the hand to jump off a bridge
together. Inocente lived an endless shuffle through overcrowded homeless shelters while under the constant threat of deportation–and yet she will manage to make it to the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. Sunday screening, with Matt D'Arrigo of ARTS (A Reason To Survive) by her side.


Saturday, Sept. 8: Perdida, a documentary from a member of the Calderon family who explores stories she was told about her family making some of the worst films in Mexican cinema history, at 1 p.m. . . . Gilda, the 1946 King Vidor classic about a sinister South American casino
boss who finds out his new wife (Rita Hayworth) already knows his right-hand man (Glenn Ford), at 3:30 p.m. with an accompanying fashion show courtesy of Santa Ana's Mi Moda and
Elegante Boutique that is inspired by the 1940s' cinema sexpot. . . . Taste of Santa Ana, featuring food served by Artists Village restaurants, at 6 p.m. ($10). All events today are in the Santora Arts Building, 207 N. Broadway, Santa Ana.

Sunday, Sept. 9: Presented in association with the Anti-Defamation League are Tijuana Jews, a documentary about the European Jews who wound up settling in the border town, at 1 p.m. (with director Isaac Artenstein in attendance); the newly restored 1922 silent film Hungry Hearts, based on Anzia Yazierska's short stories about an immigrant Jewish family living in New York City's Lower East Side, at 2:30 p.m. (with composer and original score restorer David Spear in attendance), and a 4 p.m. Jewish Community Reception with
music and a Jewish-Latino fusion menu prepared by Pocho Catering. All events today in the Santora.

Saturday, Sept. 15: The Greenhorns, a documentary that explores the lives of America's young farmers that is co-presented by The Road Less Traveled and The Grain Project, at 1 p.m. . . . Tin Tan, a documentary on Germán Cipriano Gómez Valdés Castillo's famous titular character known for his “pachuco” style, use of Spanglish and rapid comedy improv, at 3 p.m. . . . Followed by an interactive Boogie Woogie dance demonstration, all in the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.

Sunday, Sept. 16: Brilliant Soil, a documentary on Herlinda, an indigenous Purepecha potter who uses alternative lead-free glazes unlike others in her community, in the Yost Theatre, 307 N. Spurgeon St., at 1 p.m. (and co-sponsored by the Yost, Grand Central Art Center and Bulbo of Tijuana and Los Angeles). . . . El Santo en el museo de
(El Santo in the Wax Museum), starring everyone's favorite masked lucha libre film star, at 5:30 p.m. . . . Tales of Masked Men, a PBS documentary on Mexican-style wrestling, at 7 p.m. The lucha libre films are at the Orange County Center for
Contemporary Art.

Visit www.ocfilmfiesta.org for more information.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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