Media Arts Center San Diego is hosting its 22nd San Diego Latino Film Festival, which is running through Sunday, March 22, at AMC Fashion Valley 18 and the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park .
It all starts Thursday, March 12, with a full day of films followed by an opening party at Andaz from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., with music by Mr. Dee Jay and special guest celebrities in attendance.
Kate Del Castillo, star of numerous telenovelas and a past recipient of the "25 Most Influential Women" and "50 Most Beautiful" by People en Español magazine, and fellow star Raúl Méndez are slated to attend the opening function in support of their movie "Visitantes."
Other actors whose films will be showing, as well as celebrated Mexican comedian Adal Ramones, are also expected to take advantage of the opening night festivities.
"That opening night is just filled with stars," said Phil Lorenzo, exhibitions director of Media Arts San Diego. "Also, the other thing that's interesting is that it's at the rooftop of the Andaz downtown, which the Latino Film Festival has never done before. I don't think we've done an opening night where it's outside and it's under the stars. It's a little different for sure."
More than 160 films ranging from features to shorts will be showcased during the run of the festival, including works from all across Latin America as well as the United States. The majority of the films are new releases, but there are a few vintage and short films that will be featured as well.
"There's a film called 'Spanish Dracula' that is a throwback from 1931, and that's playing on the second Sunday of the festival," Lorenzo said. "That's exciting because when they shot the original 'Dracula' they shot a Spanish version as well with Mexican actors. It was done at the same time, and is recognized by some critics as the better 'Dracula.' "
One U.S. production to be highlighted is "Lake Los Angeles," by Mike Ott, who studied at the California Institute of the Arts. The film is the third in Ott's Antelope Valley Trilogy and Lorenzo says it is not to be missed.
"It actually stars a young girl named Johanna Trujillo who is from San Diego," Lorenzo said. "She's an amazing actress. She's 14 years old and a local talent."
On March 21, the last full day of the film festival, attendees will once again have the opportunity to meet and greet in high style with a special closing party.
"The closing party is also going to have celebrities as well," Lorenzo said. "Again, it's at Andaz. And also we have a few surprises that I can't say, that will be at the party. It will be another great night under the stars capping off the festival. It's all about this new way of the Latino Film Festival; the style, the fashion and expanding our idea of the festival in the future."
Lorenzo said he sees the San Diego Latino Film Festival as a big draw not only for the Latino community, but for anyone who loves film, a festival environment and fashionable parties. Films screening in Spanish are also subtitled for the English-speaking audience.
For information on the opening and closing parties, tickets and the lineup of movies, visit fest.sdlatinofilm.com/2015.