Latin American film fest to hold first edition in Penang this December

Heidi Hsia
The 18th LAFF in Malaysia was launched in Kuala Lumpur yesterday evening.

7 Nov– The Latin American Film Festival (LAFF) returns to Kuala Lumpur for its 18th edition this year.

The film festival was officially launched yesterday evening, with a screening of the opening film, "The Distinguished Citizen", at GSC Pavilion KL.

The long-running film festival also reaches a new milestone this year as it is branching out to another state, namely Penang, for the first time.

Her Excellency Elsa Nury Bauzan Benzano, Ambassador of Uruguay to Malaysia, told Cinema Online that this was made possible thanks to H.E. Carlos Martins Ceglia, the Brazilian Ambassador to Malaysia, who worked with the Honorary consul of Brazil in Penang to bring the film festival to the island-state.

Her Excellency Elsa Nury Bauzan Benzano also gave the opening speech at the launch of LAFF 2019.

"We've always wanted to do [LAFF] in another city or state in Malaysia," said the Uruguayan ambassador, who added that it is, however, not an easy task as they need to have contacts in the places they aim to go to.

Speaking to H.E. Carlos Martins Ceglia, the Brazilian ambassador told us that he hopes to bring the film festival to more states but will not be rushing the plan, adding, "We'll start with Penang and slowly we will go to maybe JB, Sabah, Sarawak, and Ipoh!"

Mr. Lionel said that LAFF moviegoers will see Argentinian actor Oscar Martinez again in "The Distinguished Citizen", he was previously in "Inseparables" (LAFF 2017) and "Wild Tales" (LAFF 2018).

In his welcome speech yesterday evening, Mr. Lionel Loh, Senior Marketing Manager, GSC, said, "This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the diversity and richness of Latin American culture.

"With the 20th EUFF closing today, it's perfect timing for LAFF to continue what we've been doing with GSC's film festivals, which is to give Malaysians insight into the world through contemporary stories that are universally relatable."

He added that GSC has one more film festival this year, the Korean Film Festival, before they conclude 2019.

Guests had fun taking memorable photos at the LAFF 2019 opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

While yesterday evening's opening film was an Argentinian title, the film for the launching ceremony in Penang next month will aptly be the Brazilian title, "10 Seconds to Glory".

There are a total of 8 movies screening at LAFF 2019, inclusive of 7 Latin American movies and 1 documentary film from guest country Canada.

Aside from the abovementioned Argentinian and Brazilian movies, the list includes "Hadwin's Judgement" (Canada), "The Engineer" (Uruguay), "Old Friends" (Peru), "Bad Lucky Goat" (Colombia), "Why Do My Friends Cry?" (Cuba) and "Tear This Heart Out" (Mexico).

All movies are free to the public courtesy of the Group of Latin America and Caribbean Embassies (GRULAC).

LAFF 2019 in Kuala Lumpur kicks off from today until 10 November at GSC Pavilion KL, before holding its inaugural edition in Penang from 5 to 8 December at GSC Gurney Plaza.

Get the showtimes for the Latin American Film Festival 2019 right HERE.