L.A. Latino festival prizes ‘Paradise’

Immigration drama nabs Rita, audience awards

Simon Brand’s Colombian immigration drama “Paraiso Travel” (Paradise Travel) clinched the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival’s Rita award for best film as well as its aud nod.

Fest’s 12th edition wrapped Friday at the Egyptian with a sneak preview of Alfredo de Villa’s “Nothing Like the Holidays,” starring John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina and Freddy Rodriguez. Overture Films will release the family drama before the end of the year.

Brand’s pic has drawn at least three domestic distribution bids. Brand is attached to helm Screen Gems’ Colombian hostage rescue drama “Operation Checkmate.”

Mexican Horacio Rivera’s gay teen drama “Limbo,” exec produced by Julio Bove, drew an honorable mention in the features competish.

Chile’s Shawn Garry took the Opera Prima award for newcomer with drama “Desierto sur” (Southern Desert), while a special mention went to Mexico’s Israel Carteras for his road movie “Cochochi.”

Screenplay nod went to Issa Lopez of Mexico for her laffer “Casi divas” (Road to Fame), and Lucia Murat of Brazil won for directing “Mare, nossa historia de amor” (Mare, Our Story of Love), her “Romeo and Juliet”-inspired drama set in a Rio slum.

Fest, which ran Sept. 12-19, returned to the Egyptian after two years at the ArcLight.

COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS:

RITA AWARD FOR BEST FILM

“Paraiso Travel,” Simon Brand, Colombia

SPECIAL MENTION

“Limbo,” Horacio Rivera, Mexico

SCREENPLAY

“Casi divas,” Issa Lopez, Mexico

DIRECTOR

Lucia Murat, “Mare, nossa historia de amor,” Brazil

AUDIENCE AWARD, FEATURES

“Paraiso Travel,” Simon Brand, Colombia

AUDIENCE AWARD, DOCU

“Fraude: Mexico 2006,” Luis Mandoki, Mexico

SHORTS

“A Day’s Work,” Roger Dassani, U.S.

SPECIAL MENTION:

“Catharsis,” Daniel Chamorro, Spain

SPECIAL JURY AWARD MENTION: SHORTS — ANIMATION

“Sebastian’s Voodoo,” Joaquin Baldwin, USA

DOCUMENTARY

“The Promise of Music,” Enrique Sanchez Lansch, Germany

SPECIAL MENTION

“Cafe de los maestros,” Miguel Kohan, Argentina

“La Americana,” Nicholas Bruckman, U.S.

“13 Peoples, Defending Water, Air and Land,” Francesco Taboada Tabone, Mexico

OPERA PRIMA

“Desierto sur,” Shawn Garry, Chile

SPECIAL MENTION

“Cochochi,” Israel Carteras, Mexico

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