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Made in LASpread the Word

MADE IN L.A. wins Special Mention of the Jury in Valladolid!

We JUST returned from Valladolid International Film Festival (Seminci), Spain's most important festival after San Sebastian.

Besides the extra kilos we're bringing back (the festival gives you TONS of meal vouchers for the BEST restaurants in town...), we're also bringing back a wonderful award -a rare Special Mention of the Jury, which we were assured, last happened 30 years ago! It was indeed quite a blast: a red carpet for the winners and an awards ceremony broadcast life on national TV, with Sofia Loren, who was sitting just 5 feet from me backstage... The jury recognized Made in L.A. "because through its treatment of a specific story it ultimately deals with a universal conflict -that of immigration and cross-cultural relations- and with an eternal struggle -the exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful- as well as with personal dignity and its power to transform human beings."

It was beautiful to return to Spain with the film and close the circle. Funnily, a few of my family members dispersed throughout Spain got to meet Robert for the first time when they saw us giving our acceptance speech on TV... I also keep thinking that my PhD advisor, with whom I haven't had contact in two years, might have seen me on TV and might have found out why I haven't turned in my dissertation yet... (I came to the US to work on my PhD on border docs, and instead I ended up making... border docs!). Here're some photos of the Awards Gala (many of them courtesy of Cesar Minguela):

Besides the awards gala, the festival itself was beautiful and meaningful ( and delicious, if I may add). As we did at Silverdocs and at the Los Angeles Film Festival, we made a special effort to reach out to the immigrant community and 6 different organizations came to the screenings . This, which may seem easy, proved to be quite a task, since most of them are not regularly on e-mail... so while some filmmakers where taking naps after the long lunches, I spent hours on the phone locating the right people and making a point in having a diverse audience (read the press release, in Spanish). Our screenings were packed, and once again there was a thundering applause and an incredibly emotional response . Some people couldn't contain the emotion and cried during their questions. It was all very moving, and a testament that the film can cross borders and reach out to those of us who believe in the right to fight for human dignity.

Luckily, for the first time, a friend took a video during the Q&A, and we're working to put it up. Stay tuned for more info or join our list. In the meantime, here are some more photos of the festival...



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