Sunday, June 22, 2003

'Matador' first film in series focusing on Latin culture


By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati's appetite for richer culture has spawned a welter of grass-roots efforts in recent years, from pub crawls to gallery walks.

No area has benefited more from the trend toward do-it-yourself events than film, where movie lovers have organized several programs aimed at special tastes, including Cincinnati World Cinema and Reel Justice.

The latest innovation is CineArte, a newborn plan to bring Spanish-language films to the Tristate. Its first feature, The Matador, screens Thursday at the Madison Theater, 728 Madison Ave., in Covington. A cocktail hour from 6-7 p.m. will kick off the evening; at 7 p.m. comedian Alex Reymundo will perform; the movie starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10; no one under 18 may attend.

Hector Moreno, an EPA scientist who moved to Cincinnati from Puerto Rico 14 years ago, hatched the idea of bringing more Latino entertainment to town with other friends frustrated at the limited choices available.

"Not much has been happening in the Latin scene here" outside of some popular local bands and dance clubs, he said. "For the big cultural events, you had to go to Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis."

When the friends hit on the idea of a film festival, he enlisted Terry Alvarado of the Cincinnati International Film Festival to book films. Organizers expect to show films monthly for awhile to build an audience, then expand to a two- or three-day film festival.

Eventually, Moreno said, the plan calls for adding outdoor movie screenings at area parks, complete with Latino music, food and art. The group is also talking to local corporations about sponsoring big-name music concerts.

The aim, he said, is to reach both the growing number of Hispanic people in the Tristate and non-Hispanic audiences who enjoy diverse entertainment and culture.

On tap is a Salsa Cruise on Friday. Tickets are $15, online at

Moreno said his motivation is simple: "There are things I used to do (in Puerto Rico) that I missed," he said. "Now, this is home, and I would like to change the environment around me a little bit."


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