OAK CREEK - The goal is to celebrate Hispanic culture with a variety of audiences, but Marcus Theatres' first CineLatino Milwaukee Film Festival also wants to include "something for everyone," says the chain's corporate head.

The festival runs from Friday to Sunday, April 28-30, at Marcus South Shore Cinema, 7261 S. 13th St., Oak Creek, featuring 12 films whose selection was no quick or easy matter, according to Rolando Rodriguez, Marcus Theatres chairman, president, and CEO.

Rodriguez said the selection process included “a lot of hard work from a lot of great people.” Overall, it was a collaborative discussion with many Hispanic leaders, he added.

The movie lineup includes family films, soccer films and other subjects. Movie titles include "How to be a Latin Lover," "Truman," "Lowriders" and "Everybody Loves Somebody." Some movies will only be shown in Spanish with no English subtitles but will have an English version shown at a different time.

For a complete list of movies with showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit the Marcus Theatres website at www.marcustheatres.com/cinelatino. Individual tickets are available as well as group passes or a four-pack. (Half of the net proceeds from the event will go toward health care and scholarship programs.)

Community interests

The discussion to have such an event has been ongoing for years. It was a report from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which highlighted the “incredible growth of the Hispanic community in the Milwaukee metro area” with an “interest in culture and entertainment” that partially led to it finally happening, Rodriguez said.

Most film festivals choose one theme, he noted, but this one addresses three key components: comedy, family and health care. He said when considering the theme of the festival, it was important to “celebrate the Hispanic culture, educate generations of Hispanics, and educate non-Hispanics.”

One of the biggest challenges is education. Within the Hispanic community there is a gap in education, one that has to be filled, Rodriguez said.

Healthy screenings

Also, with Aurora Health Care serving as the primary sponsor for the event, the focus naturally shifted in part to health care. Rodriguez also noted health concerns within the Hispanic community, especially diabetes, reinforced the idea for a health-care theme.

Rodriguez said he worked with a number of people to “mix in cultural understanding and also to speak to the healthcare aspect.” Overall he said there’s a nice variety of comedy, sports, healthcare, and family-oriented films.

Aurora will be holding various "talkback" sessions throughout the weekend. One will be held after an 11 a.m. showing of "Truman" and will feature Dr. Federico Sanchez, Aurora Cancer Care Spanish speaking founder, as part of the panel.

In addition to the regular showings, a VIP event will take place April 27 to raise money for Aurora Health Care's Cancer Care Spanish Speaking Clinic and for a family day, Dia de los Ninos, on April 30. The movie "Sing" will be shown in Spanish to celebrate.

Marcus Theatres is considering holding other ethnic film festivals in the future. Rodriguez said the firm is currently looking at an African American film festival and possibly something for the Asian community, as well.

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