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You'll find the San Diego Latino Film Festival's digital program book here. Turn to festival founder and director Ethan van Thillo's welcoming remarks. The first words written do not befit someone who has been in the festival business for 20 years. Where is the perfunctory list of self-congratulatory laurels and accolades? True to form, Ethan opens with a nod to the "hundreds of amazing volunteers, festival staff, and family members" who have helped to make SDLFF the annual event one of the major cultural events in our community.

That's the way Ethan rolls. Every screening is like a family affair and it's been that way since I first attended the festival in 2001.

How do I know that this year's festival will be one for the record books? Because festival programmers Glenn heath and Lisa Franek were kind enough to ply me with a stack of screeners. With 10 festival features under my belt, I'm delighted to report that the hits-to-misses ratio is blessedly high. There's even a chance that Kenya Marquez's stylish black comedy, Fecha de Caducidad (Expiration Date), will crack my year-end top ten.

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In addition to the dozens of new films being screened, there will be a 20th Anniversary Showcase highlighting 10 influential films that debuted locally at SDLFF. (City of God, Amores Perros, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Cronos all made the cut, but no Tony Manero? Ay, chihuahua!) Presented in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, many of the films will screen in 35mm.

For the first time in its history, the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS) is partnering with a local film festival. Two of the films screened during the final weekend (Fecha and Father's Chair) will screen under the auspices of SDFCS. I'll be on hand Saturday March 16 to introduce the 5pm screening of Fecha. Brian Lafferty and Yazdi Pithavala will join me after the show for an audience discussion and Q&A.

The festival runs March 7 - 17. Screenings are held at Digiplex Mission Valley (the theatre in Hazard Center that keeps changing hands while remaining faithful to local film festivals) and the Digital Gym, the Media Arts Center's new screening facility located at 2921 El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego.

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Matthew and I will have much more to say about the films in the coming days. Until then, why not pick up a program book and a pack of Sharpie Accent yellow highlighters and map out what you'll be doing between March 7 - 17.

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Comments

Danny Baldwin March 5, 2013 @ 2:18 p.m.

We know SDLFF is good, but this is when we find out, is Digiplex?

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Colonna March 6, 2013 @ 5:56 a.m.

In this post, you exclaimed "¡Oy, Caramba!"... now here, it's "Ay, chihuahua!".

You thinking about converting, Scott Markez?

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Scott Marks March 6, 2013 @ 7:59 p.m.

I've been listening to some old Charo LPs.

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