This is to be the 11th year that Festivalissimo (festival of Iberian and Latin-American culture) is going to bring in sun, warmth and fun during the last weeks of our long, cold winter here in Montreal. It is the biggest festival celebrating the Iberian-Latin-American culture in Canada. The festival goes a long way to showing us how important film, dance, music, and art are to these vibrant cultures. Each of the different components of the festival is well worth checking out.
The film section is full of shorts, feature lengths, documentaries, and any other type of film you could imagine. We are blessed by having premieres, classic films and a special section of the festival will celebrate the films of the three Mexican directors whose films were nominated for Oscars this year. Golden Mexico will screen films of Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) and Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth). Their Oscar nominated/winning films will be shown as well as a couple of their older films. What a treat! The film "El Camino de San Diego" by director Carlos Sorin will open the festival. There are films from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Uruguay, and Brazil. The short films section is getting bigger every year with over 60 shorts being screened this year. Within the In Competition category, the films will compete for the Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, and the TV5 Public Prize. All the films will be screened at Cinema du Parc.
ArtFeria is the art section of the festival and will be happening at various locations around town. It will focus on the different types of mediums and subjects typical of Latin-American and Iberian culture. The artists featured hail from Spain, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, Columbia, and Honduras.
Finally there will a variety of concerts or shows happening during the 2 weeks. There will be free daily lunchtime shows at Plaza Alexis Nihon between March 6-9. These shows will present a different dance each day between noon and 2:00. The Flamenco, Tango and Salsa will be highlighted the first three days and a concert by the Robert Lopez Project will occur on the 9th. On March 7th at Place des Arts the Mexican songstress Tonana will put on a show. She does a fusion of traditional and contemporary Mexican music. On March 11th will be the annual Noche Loca at Kola Note. It is a fiesta featuring music by Le Gran Orquesta Cubana. To kick off the festival in style on March 3rd in association with the Montreal Highlights Festival La Movida de la Nuit Blanche will be happening. It is an all-night party with music and food. Plan to get there early as last year there were long line-ups to get in. Last but not least, dance is another component of the festival. La Fuerza is a contemporary dance show that will demonstrate traditional dance, Vertigoes is put on by the Blue Ceiling Company from Toronto and Les Soeurs Papins uses flamenco to tell the tale of a crime.
When the festival was started in 1997 by Elisa Pierna (director general of the festival) it seemed like a crazy idea. But with the help of friends and some private money it was made to work. Eleven years later it is largest of its type in Canada. This year's Festivalissimo promises to be a virtual piñata of talent, so make sure you don't miss out!
-Films: Cinéma du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc)
$10 per film or $40 for a book of 5 tickets
-Shows: Tonana – $29 + taxes (Place des Arts)
Noche Loca – $20 + taxes (Kola Note – 5240 Avenue du Parc)
La Fuerza – $20 + taxes (Mainline Theatre – 3997 St. Laurent)
All Three Shows – $45 + taxes