Film Fiesta returns to Civic Center tonight

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Film Fiesta returns to Civic Center Park tonight, sharing the sights, sounds and flavors of Latino culture through film. On Wednesday, July 24, and Wednesday, July 31, respectively, Luminarias and NO (2012) will be accompanied by live performances and panel discussions with actors, writers and directors. The events run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the McNichols Building -- and they're entirely free.

See also: - Life, death and the infinite universe collide at Su Teatro's Film Fiesta kickoff - The Pirate Signal invades Sundance. Takes no prisoners. - Chrissie Hynde and JP Jones on foreign films and making honest music

Luminarias, from 2000, tells the story of four women who meet at an East Los Angeles restaurant to share their secrets about careers, family life and love. The movie dives deep into the daily lives of hard-working women.

NO is a historical drama about an ad executive coming up with an idea to defeat Augusto Pinochet in Chile's 1988 referendum, a time when many Chilean people were persecuted by the dictator. NO was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012; it won a total of five awards at ceremonies around the world, including the Cinema for Peace Award.

The city puts on Film Fiesta. "We've found that film is a very inviting and accessible way for people to learn about other cultures," says Dan Rowland, spokeman for Denver Arts & Venues. "People generally really like watching movies, so the Film Fiesta has this great educative effect that we might not get with other events. After ending the Latino Rhythms program, we worked with focus groups and the community to find an event that would bring people together, and so Film Fiesta was born and debuted in 2011."

The city works with organizations in the Latino community to put this on. "We have great partners in Su Teatro, KUVO and the Mexican Cultural Center that help us plan and execute this event," he continues. "We work with Su Teatro to discover films that represent different Latino countries and cultures. We look for ones that have been critically acclaimed and/or played at Latino film festivals."

Putting on such events is part of the city's role. "We feel like the city has a responsibility to provide a fun, free event that focuses on Latino culture," Rowland continues. "An event that brings Latinos together and also educates others about their culture is a great way for us to engage with such an important part of our city."

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