ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s premier Latino film festival kicks off this weekend for its ninth year. Cine Magnifico is hosting a hybrid event with events and screenings both in-person and online.

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The festival will show 20 films that are New Mexico-premieres, all of which are directed by Latino filmmakers. According to their website, the festival prides itself on its mission to raise awareness of the Latino culture.

Instituto Cervantes de Albuquerque, which oversees the festival, offers Spanish courses, courses on art and culture, business, teacher training and more from within the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Silvia Rodríguez Grijalba, executive director of the Institute, said they’re focusing on the local film industry this year calling New Mexico the “New Hollywood.”

The festival will host panels with local and international Latino and Hispanic filmmakers in the industry. “We thought it was more interesting if it is online because then everyone could see it. That’s a way of promoting Albuquerque all over the world,” said Rodríguez Grijalba.

Films from numerous other Spanish-speaking countries will be shown in addition to four films produced by Albuquerque filmmakers. Besties, Happy Anniversary, Millennium Bugs, and Scary Finger are films made in New Mexico that features local talent.

Happy Anniversary Director DeAngelo Bethea said he was on a mission to create meaningful cinema. “It’s important that the Albuquerque community supports and highlights our local Latino/Hispanic filmmakers because our voice is uniquely different. The stories that we have to tell, as Latinos, are what make our Hispanic heritage so unbelievably poetic,” Bethea said. “As a Latino, I say, this is our time to shine. American-based Latino filmmakers and actors have become outspoken advocates for the need of inclusion and opportunity. Whether it’s in front of the camera or behind the scenes, Latinos are paving the way for filmmakers and others who are fighting to be heard, seen, and understood.”

Christina Gopal served as her crew’s executive producer on Besties, a short film centered on a group of teenagers coming of age in the modern world. She said she is proud to be a part of something so integral to the community. “As a female Hispanic filmmaker, I think it’s perfect. I’m glad that they’re able to bring films and showcase them here because they’re not only promoting us Hispanic filmmakers but they’re also showing the world what we have to offer as filmmakers,” Gopal said.

Alejandro Montoya Marin is no stranger to filmmaking and has been doing it for 10 years in Albuquerque. For his feature-length film Millennium Bugs, which centers on a group of friends in the days leading up to the year 2000, Montoya Marin wanted to capture the authenticity of the Duke City.

“I love working with local talent. I love working and highlighting everything that’s local because I feel with the expansion of all the companies coming to Albuquerque. It’s crucial to keep some sort of authenticity and local ability in all the productions that are done to show others about Albuquerque so it’s something that people from other places can take and learn and get familiar with,” Montoya Marin said.

Films will play at the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. For a full list of virtual and in-person events and films, visit