Los Cabos, MEXICO – Backed by star power and the growing influence of the L.A.-Mexico City cultural corridor, the Ambulante Documentary Film Festival is preparing to make its L.A. debut in September 2014 on the heels of eight years of thriving growth and popular success in Mexico.
Thesp Gael Garcia Bernal co-founded the traveling festival Ambulante in 2005 with Diego Luna (pictured with Bernal) and Pablo Cruz, branching off of their leading Latino production-distribution house Canana. It has since grown, screening roughly 100 docs in 150 venues across the nation every year and drawing nearly 90,000 moviegoers in the last edition.
Running Sept. 21-Oct. 4 in 2014, Ambulante California is a significant step for the festival, moving outside of the government-coin backed infrastructure of Mexico and integrating crowdfunding and social media to fill the funding gap and organize screenings.
Garcia Bernal said the move is “an organic, natural evolution” for the festival, noting they started Ambulante to “bring documentaries to all parts of the country to create a sort of common dialogue, and, evidently, if we broaden this idea of taking them to all the cities of Mexico, well, Los Angeles counts as a Mexican city too.”
The Cali fun begins with special border screenings in Tijuana before heading to L.A. Other plans include using social media and the website to allow followers to vote on venues for screenings and calling on for Californians to submit their own short docs for festival play.
“L.A. is the ideal place to kickoff a mini Ambulante tour, given its sprawl, diverse populace and strong Latino rooted sensibility,” said Ambulante founding director Elena Fortes in a statement.
The newly hired director of Ambulante California, Christine Davila, pointed to MacArthur Park, the L.A. River and the Echo Park Film Center as ideal areas for screenings, sitting at nexus points for multicultural communities.
“Ambulante California will have all of what makes Ambulante radical; the mobile and social engagement aspect, focus on the local community and intervention of public spaces,” said Davila in a statement.