Spain takes 4 top awards at Latino Fest


Spain proved the big victor at this year's 11th annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival winning awards for best picture, best documentary, best opera prima and best screenplay at the event's closing ceremony Monday night in Hollywood.

Winning for best picture, Spain's "El Corazon de la Tierra" tells the story of mounting tensions between local Spanish workers and their British employers in an Andalusia mining town. Directed by Antonio Cuadri, the Spanish film stars Catalina Sandino Moreno.

Spanish actor Javier Bardem accepted the award for best documentary for "Invisibles," which was directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Javier Corcuera, Mariano Barroso, Wim Wenders and Isabel Coixet. The film marks Bardem's debut as a producer with support from the humanitarial organization Doctors Without Borders.

Other winners of the evening's event, which took place at ArcLight's Cinerama Dome, included Spain's "Ladrones" for best opera prima, Spain/Cuba's "Madrigal" for best screenplay, Paul Leduc for best director for Mexico's "El Cobrador" and from the U.S., "The Grass Grows Green: Life and Death From Behind the Recruiting Office Desk" directed by Jesus Beltran for best short.

The event also included a screening of Antonio Banderas' second feature film "El Camino de los Ingleses."

Sponsored by Farmers Insurance, the LALIFF was founded in 1996 by independent producers Marline Dermer and George Hernandez and actor Edward James Olmos.

Festival jury members include Cheech Marin, Maria Conchita Alonso and Gaston Pauls.