South by Southwest (SXSW 2023) Film Festival starts soon, and the lineup is looking pretty good with Latinx representation, covering topics from religion, sisterhood, cultural assimilation, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. For those heading to the Lone Star State, here are seven films to add to your SXSW 2023 schedule.
Flamin’ Hot tells the story of Richard Montañez, the former Frito Lay janitor who claims to have created one of Latinos’ most coveted snacks, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Award-winning actress/producer/philanthropist Eva Longoria worked with Latinos both on- and off-screen for her directorial debut, including Linda Yvette Chávez, the co-creator of Netflix’s (canceled) series Gentefied. In 2021, the L.A. Times reported an origin story that’s different from Montañez, so it’ll be interesting to see how or if the film addresses any of the chisme.
Julio Torres, most known for HBO’s Los Espookys, directs, writes, and stars in his directorial debut that includes Tilda Swinton, RZA of Wu-Tang Clan and Isabella Rossellini. Torres plays an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who finds a job as an assistant in the art world in order to maintain his work visa. With Torres as the co-creator and Swinton, who is no stranger to the surreal and bizarre, this film is sure to provide quite the visual experience.
This biopic shows us the life of Colombian salsa and tropical musician, Joe Arroyo, sharing private moments that reveal who this prolific singer and composer was, who incorporated cumbia and porro with the musical styles from the African diaspora. Arroyo is considered one of the greatest musicians of Caribbean music and was named a recipient of the Latin Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award on the day he died in 2011. Rebelión explores Arroyo’s great love of music as well as his inner ghosts.
Co-director Cecilia Aldarondo takes us back to high school as she reconciles her awkward teen years. It may sound like the beginning of a high school movie trope, but You Were My First Boyfriend is a hybrid documentary that teeters between the past and the present as Aldarondo tracks down old foes and friends while exploring cultural assimilation and confronting the idea of getting older while making peace with it.
Director Theo Montoya tells the story of his past in Medellín, Colombia through Anhell69, another SXSW 2023 half-documentary, half-memoir. After the young, queer-lead cast in his first feature film dies of an overdose, Montoya processes his filmmaking experiences while remembering the friends he’s lost along the way. Anhell69 is a film without borders or genders as Montoya explores the generation of twentysomethings living in the violent and conservative city through his camera lens.
Argentinian director Tomas Gomez Bustillo draws from religion, magic, and folklore to tell stories from South America away from cliches and stereotypes. In Chronicles of a Wandering Saint, an elderly chapel keeper, Rita, seizes an opportunity to stage a “miracle” as part of some friendly competition amongst the women in her church group. Along the way, she discovers that her ticket to sainthood is not all roses and the world around her is already brimming with strange magic.
Two sisters, Marina and Luna, embark on a road trip from Costa Rica to Panama during their summer vacation in search for their absent father. The Panamanian cast includes Ariana Chaves Gavilán and Cala Rossel Campos, who are making their film debut to play the delicate complexity of sisterhood. This directorial debut for Panamanian-Costa Rican Kattia G. Zúñiga explores new relationships and changes during the formative teenage years in the urban tropics.