Ambulante California, the first-offshoot of free travelling docu film fest Ambulante Mexico, kicks off Sept 21 with an outdoor screening of “Bronx Obama,” Ryan Murdock’s funny and insightful portrait of Puerto Rican Obama impersonator Louis Ortiz.
Ortiz and Murdock will attend the film’s premiere in L.A.’s MacArthur Park along with Ambulante co- founders Pablo Cruz and Elena Fortes.
Launched in 2005 by Canana founders Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Cruz, along with the non-profit’s executive director Fortes, Ambulante Mexico has since then raised public attendance by 610%, said Ambulante CA director Christine Davila, who points out they are working with top-of-the-line projectionists to ensure quality screenings.
“L.A. is the perfect place to organize our first U.S. tour because it is in itself a microcosm of the cultural diversity thriving all across the country,” said Fortes. Ambulante California emerges as part of Ambulante Global, and is the first official attempt to establish a long-term presence outside of Latin America with the aim of implementing future models across the U.S.
A curated selection of 22 docus predominantly from Mexico and the U.S. will screen in 13 different venues across Los Angeles, from the iconic Pershing Square to Long Beach. Some of the free screenings will be held in open spaces while others will screen at university and community theatres as well as cultural centers.
Festival culminates Oct. 4 at the Bowtie Project in the restored L.A. River State Park with the aptly chosen “Yakona,” Paul Collins and Anlo Sepulveda’s visual essay on the San Marcos River in Texas, which casts a light on the delicate balance between public use and natural resource.
Ambulante CA is backed by a host of sponsors that include the venue hosts, HBO, the Ford Foundation, Time Warner Inc., California Community Foundation, La Fetra Foundation, Canal 22 International, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the California Endowment and the Bertha Foundation. Media partners include Remezcla, Alegria and Canal 22 International.
This year’s tour will become an annual program of the newly established Ambulante USA non-profit, which is planning to program free monthly screenings year round and expand its activities within and outside of California. Ambulante recently ended a successful Kickstarter campaign over the summer with almost 600 backers raising over $55,000.