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What you need to know about Cine Las Americas' 2021 film festival in Austin

Eric Webb
Austin 360
"La Fortaleza" is on the lineup for the 23rd annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.

Brace yourself: The film festivals aren’t just coming. They’re here. 

Last year, Austin’s celebrations of cinema were mostly sidelined or forced into virtual versions because of the coronavirus pandemic. With vaccinations comes hope, and the first few film fests of the spring and summer are dipping their toes into the water with hybrid events: part virtual, part in person.

One of those is Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, which holds its 23rd annual edition on June 9-13. The Austin event spotlights films about and made by Latino and Indigenous people from across the Americas, as well as from Spain and Portugal.  

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s Cine Las Americas. 

Colombian film "La Frontera" will compete in the narrative feature contest at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival 2021.

Is Cine Las Americas happening in person or online? 

Both! In April, Cine Las Americas announced a combination of in-person and virtual programming for their June event. Like last year's edition, Cine Las Americas will include virtual film screenings from the comfort of home.  

However, the party kicks off opening night with a screening under the stars at a field next to Meanwhile Brewing Co. (3901 Promontory Point Drive). Attendees can bring a blanket or lawn chair, and there will be food trucks.

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"We're excited at both the prospect of returning to in-person screenings, in a safe and responsible manner but also at the idea of expanding our reach beyond the Austin city boundaries through virtual events," Cine Las Americas lead programmer Ernie Quiroz said in a statement earlier this year. "Both have their place and both help fulfill our mission in supporting Latinx and Indigenous filmmakers.” 

What films are on the Cine Las Americas lineup? 

That opening night film will be Mariem Pérez Riera’s documentary "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It." The film, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of the legendary performer's career.  It also will be available to watch online June 10 and 11 only. 

More in-person film programming: a drive-in showing of "Beans" at 8 p.m. on June 10 at Community First Village; "At the Ready" at 2 p.m. on June 12 at St. Edward's; a music video party at 8 p.m. on June 12 at Nepantla, USA; and a closing mixer at 7 p.m. on June 13 at Spider House Ballroom. The films also will be available to view online. Capacity at public screenings is limited.

The still-active Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner Rita Moreno gets the tribute treatment in the documentary "Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It."

Cine Las Americas’ centerpiece film in this year's Hecho en Tejas track will be documentary "Missing in Brooks County," which tells the stories of two families living on the border, both with members who went missing in the titular Texas county.  

In addition to the festival’s narrative feature, documentary feature, short film, music video and youth film competition lineups, there will be a number of showcase selections free to view. Those films are "Oaxacalifornia: The Return," "Home From School: The Children of Carlisle," "The Struggle Continues (La Luche Sigue)" and "Juan." 

"A vital part of our efforts are to do what we can to make our film festival available and accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it," Quiroz said in a statement. 

In addition to online viewing, "Oaxacalifornia: The Return" will also have a limited-capacity screening in person at 2 p.m. on June 13 at St. Edward's University.

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Other films on tap for Cine Las Americas include "Fearless," "Vecinos: Love Thy Neighbor," "Fortitude (La Fortaleza)," "The Last Matinee," "The Wanderer (La Viajante)," "The Border (La Frontera)," "Nudo Mixteco," "Overnight (De la Noche a la Mañana)," "The Journey of Monalisa (El Viaje de Monalisa)," "Negra" and "Rez Metal." 

How do I attend Cine Las Americas? 

Badges to the festival cost $40 and include access to all virtual screenings. If you prefer a la carte, individual film tickets cost $8. Cine Las Americas members get a 20% discount on badges and tickets, as well as access to more programming around the year. 

The opening night screening at Meanwhile Brewing costs $60 per four-person spot and $30 per two-person spot. There are a limited number of spots available. 

Go to cinelasamericas.org/film-festival to purchase passes and to find the full film lineup.