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Cinema Culturas Film Festival brings movies with impact to Moreno Valley

By in Press Enterprise on October 26, 2017

By Deanna Gomez

More than a dozen independent films, including animated shorts, dramas and documentaries, will be screened this weekend during the Cinema Culturas Film Festival at the Harkins Moreno Valley 16.

“We’re not going to be showing commercial films that you can just walk and see in your local theaters,” said Cony Martinez, the festival’s founder and general director.

In addition to the films — many of which are in Spanish with subtitles — there also will be an art element, with works by 15 local artist on display at the Moreno Valley Mall. Artists Jessica Cruz, Tony Lavall, Shaz Hunter and Maurice Howard will attend a festival gala on Friday night to greet guests.

Also part of the opening night gala will be a screening of “Esteban,” a film about a young boy in Cuba who works to help his single mother and dreams of becoming a pianist.

Martinez says the festival’s board selected “Esteban” in light of recent natural disasters and because of its message about hope and unity.

“You leave the theater thinking, ‘I can do things better,’” she said.

Also during Friday’s gala, a variety of traditional dishes from Oaxaca, including tamales, will be served. Martinez’s father was from the area, and this is a way to honor him. Also on the menu will be mini churros, agua de piña and more.

Student films also will be showcased during the festival. Students from Midland Elementary and Valley View and Val Verde high schools will have their work shown on the big screen. Martinez and festival organizers have been working with the Moreno Valley School District to have students attend film workshops in advance of the festival.

After the student film screenings, which are free to attend, the young filmmakers and their parents will be available to answer questions.

This year, the festival is partnering with several organizations […]    

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