Festival will present free film program online for 10 days and a special event at the Mello Center, Saturday March 12
The Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) will come full circle as it celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a special in-person event at the Mello Center for the Performing Arts, where it all started in 2012. The Festival will also present an outstanding virtual film program for free, from March 11-20. The 2022 Cine Se Puede Fellowship, which offers support and mentorship to local emerging filmmakers, will also be featured.
“We are excited and proud to celebrate a decade of the storytelling and artistry of the Latinx community in front of, and behind, the camera,” says Consuelo Alba, Director of WFF. “This year we are presenting an incredibly powerful selection of films, most of them directed by women. We will also honor Josefina Lopez, a trailblazer Latina and playwright and screenwriter based in Los Angeles.”
Under the theme 10 Years Cultivating Community Through Film, the WFF will present a virtual program featuring more than 30 award-winning, local and student films from March 11-20 via its streaming channel at watsonvillefilmfest.org
Highlights include Academy Award nominee The Mole Agent, double-Sundance winner Identifying Features, and Mexican Ariel Award nominee Things We Dare Not Do. Overall, the films shine the light on Latinx art, activism, resistance and community.
The Festival is collaborating for the first time with POV-PBS, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series, by presenting seven documentary films, including Fruits of Labor, a documentary following the life, dreams and challenges of a teenager and her family in Watsonville.
This year WFF is honoring Real Women Have Curves, a landmark American independent film on its 20th Anniversary, with an in-person screening at the Mello Center Saturday March 12 at 6PM. Josefina Lopez, who based the story on her own life as a child of immigrants in Los Angeles, will be the special guest. The film stars America Ferrera in her first feature film, which launched her career. It won the Sundance Audience Award, and was recently inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry. The event is free of charge, but people are encouraged to register on the WFF website.
Seven local emerging Latinx filmmakers who were selected to the inaugural WFF Cine Se Puede Fellowship will also be recognized at the March 12 event. Through this new program, the fellows will receive funding, tailored mentorship and ongoing support for 13 months.
“Our goal is to support early career filmmakers at a critical point in their professional journey, who are looking for sustainability to continue working and thriving in our region,” says Brenda Avila-Hanna, the WFF Cine Se Puede Fellowship lead and documentary filmmaker.
WFF will also screen several local films including fiction shorts Amor en Cuarentena and Disposable, experimental film Oda a los Frijoles and the documentaries Painter of Dreams, La Perla del Pacifico and The Work of Art (El Oficio del Arte), as well as student films. The screening of Disposable will be a world premiere.
“We are proud to present another great program this year. The outpouring of support to celebrate our 10th birthday has been amazing,” says Alba. “We are very grateful to the filmmakers, sponsors, donors, Amigos del Festival and our wonderful audience.”
Sponsors of the 2022 Watsonville Film Festival include University of California Santa Cruz / Arts Division, Ow Family Properties, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, California Arts Council, Packard Foundation, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, Annieglass, Arts Council Santa Cruz County and others.
Since 2012, the WFF has made a name for itself by programming thoughtful and provocative films, celebrating Latinx filmmakers and stories, supporting local storytellers, and opening spaces for Latinx audiences. The arts non-profit organization presents an annual festival, plus year-round programs, including the beloved Día de Muertos celebration at the Watsonville Plaza.
AT A QUICK GLANCE
WHAT: 10th Annual Watsonville Film Festival, presenting 30+ award-winning and local films online at watsonvillefilmfest.org
WHEN: Friday, March 11- Sunday, March 20, 2022
SPECIAL IN-PERSON PROGRAM: Celebrating 10th Anniversary of WFF with Real
Women Have Curves at the Mello Center Saturday, March 12, 6pm – 8:30pm
COST: Free, donations accepted. Register to reserve a seat at watsonvillefilmfest.org