Programmer’s Picks

VLAFF head programmer, Christian Sida, has chosen a list of films which to him are especially relevant for their time and artistic vision.

Christian Sida
VLAFF’s Artistic Director

It is always difficult to choose a few films, because we take pride in all the films selected at VLAFF, as our Festival indeed has not a large number of films, all of them are recommended, but at this moment of my day (that could change at any time) my 5 recommendations are:



Director: Violeta Ayala

This film is for me the discovery of the year. I watched this film looking for more Bolivian content for our lineup, but it went far beyond my expectations. No more important than its brilliant way of filmmaking, COCAINE PRISON also comments directly on the inane and useless war on drugs, in an intelligent and compelling way.

Costa Rica
Director: Alexandra Latishev Salazar

MEDEA takes an intimate look into a young woman’s decision to not tell her family and friends about her unwanted pregnancy. The tremendous young actress (Liliana Biamonte) who is in almost all of the shots, takes us along her harrowing journey of handling her pregnancy that goes beyond any moral decision. Especially in a region where in most countries abortion is still considered a crime punishable by incarceration. 

DEVIL’S FREEDOM – La libertad del diablo

Director: Everardo González

González is probably one of the best documentary filmmakers in the world and his latest film is one more example of a rigorous filmmaker who keeps on building a tremendous and already significant body of work. DEVIL’S FREEDOM gives voice to those who typically have not had a voice in the war against drug cartels in Mexico, the perpetuators, who along with the victims (all wearing the same colour masks during the interviews) allow the audience to hear the testimonies of two extremely opposed groups of people who share a painful and horrific history.

TWO IRENES – As duas Irenes 

Director: Fabio Meira

Newcomer director Fabio Meira builds a beautiful story about two teenage girls who find out an enormous coincidence that they share. Beautifully filmed and narrated, TWO IRENES shows a different face from a typical Brazilian storyline, making the audience leave the cinema with a big smile after watching a playful film that also puts a new director in the directors to watch.

Director: Marcela Said

Our Closing Night Film is one of the most impressive films from 2017. It won the Horizontes Latinos award at the San Sebastián Film Festival, which is one of the most important international awards in Latin American cinema.

Chile’s legacy of injustice looms large over the film, and the sadomasochistic intrigue is all the more chilling for its connection to past outrages. Dark, upsetting and erotic, this is a romance unlike any you’ve seen. -VIFF