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Los Angeles Film Festival makes room for Ambulante

May 5, 2009 |  8:05 pm

Three films from the traveling documentary film festival will be screened.

As their on-screen achievements have multiplied, the Mexican actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have become frequent fliers, jetting from film sets to news  conferences to premieres. Now the peripatetic pair are bringing their traveling documentary film festival with them to L.A. for the first time. Three films from the actors’ 4-year-old Ambulante festival will be screened as part of this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival.

Ambulante (the Spanish word means "itinerant") is the brainchild of García Bernal, star of such films as "The Motorcycle Diaries," and his longtime friend and "Y Tu Mamá También" costar Luna, who recently was seen in "Milk." At Tuesday’s LAFF news  conference, the actors said they’d started Ambulante to support more documentary filmmaking and viewing, especially in their native country. A particular goal was to bring quality documentaries to Mexico’s provincial cities, where they rarely are screened in theaters.

Luna said it was "pathetic" that Mexico, a country with a population of more than 100?million, had such limited venues for cinema that it "makes you think and makes you reflect on your reality."
The three movies that will be screened at LAFF, which has announced an added emphasis on Mexican films this year, are: "Born Without," a portrait of a Mexican street musician and father of six who was born with no arms; "El General," a "poetic essay" dealing with a former Mexican president; and "Rehje," about a Mexican Indian’s bittersweet return to her hometown.

In addition to Mexico, Ambulante films have been screened in England, Canada, Tanzania and other countries, the actors said. "It’s great that the festival has come up to here," García Bernal said of Los Angeles, joking that, "This is perhaps the second biggest city in Mexico."

-- Reed Johnson

Related:

2009 Los Angeles Film Festival: Bullets, bees and bananas

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