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By Courtney McCullers

The Independent Picture House is proud to host the third edition of the Cine Casual Film Series, an award-winning Latin American movie showcase, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 16. 

This year, the films take viewers on journeys of personal discovery, societal upheavals and a deeper dive into the diverse facets of Latin American identities. They’re from Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guatemala and Colombia. Plus, a special screening will be held of short films by creators from North Carolina’s Latino community.

Series curators Giovanna Torres and Alexander Piñeres noticed that many Latin American films, despite their acclaim, often went unseen due to limited distribution. Committed to enriching the Queen City’s cinematic landscape, they curated this series to “make sure folks here in Charlotte get a taste of everything,” Torres says. All the films, which are in Spanish, Portuguese or an Indigenous language, feature English subtitles “because we want the whole community to experience this.” 

All screenings are at IPH, except for La Pecera (The Fishbowl), which will have a free screening at the Mint Museum Uptown. Here is the lineup:

Medida Provisória (Executive Order)

Aug. 25. In a sci-fi drama from Brazil, an unsettling executive order relocates Brazilians of African descent, leading to chaos and the rise of resistance. This gripping narrative draws you in with its political tension and challenges notions of identity and belonging. 

El Castigo (The Punishment)

Aug. 26. Set in Chile, two parents search a forest for their lost son and confront sobering truths about their relationship and choices. The suspenseful timeline and emotional depth make this film a captivating exploration of consequences.

La Pecera (The Fishbowl)

Aug. 30. Facing advanced cancer, a woman returns to her native Vieques, Puerto Rico. This film highlights personal struggles and societal issues, offering an intimate and thought-provoking watch.

Hecho Aquí: Local Shorts Showcase

Sept. 8. Four short films made in North Carolina tackle themes of immigration, identity and resilience in the U.S. The raw portrayal of real-life issues and compelling storytelling make each film evocative. Following the screening will be a panel discussion with filmmakers and film subjects.

El Viaje Extraordinario de Celeste García (The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García)

Sept. 9. This Cuban comedic tale centers on Celeste, a former teacher and current planetarium guide, whose yearning for change becomes a symbolic story of the universal desire for transformation and the unknown.

El Silencio del Topo (The Silence of the Mole)

Sept. 15. This is a gripping account of a journalist’s daring infiltration into a Guatemalan dictatorship to expose heinous human-rights abuses. The thrilling narrative and historical depth make for a fascinating watch.

Regreso a Escalona (Back to Escalona)

Sept. 16. In this Colombian story, the quest to find a musician’s lost notebook becomes a compelling journey of discovery, music and a deep respect for culture. After the screening, special guest Beni Marquez, an Afro-Venezuelan filmmaker, will share a preview of his new documentary, Salsa, A Caribbean Flow!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see on the big screen the rich and diverse work of Latin American filmmakers!


Courtney McCullers, a North Carolina native, finds joy in sun salutations among the trees and the continuous quest for indie cinema’s next gem.
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