Running through March 17 at DigiPlex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, located at 7510 Hazard Center Drive, the event features 100-plus movies (along with shorts, documentaries and narrative entries), an opening gala and several parties.
According to festival organizers, "The selected films blur the line between reality and fantasy, explore ideas of love and friendship, and delve into pertinent social and political topics such as poverty, memory and state violence."
Twenty-thousand are expected to attend. Martha Cardona, festival marketing and public relations coordinator, said that "everything is new this year."
Well-known actors, directors and writers will make appearances at the festival, including Oscar-nominated actress Adriana Barraza, actor Lou Diamond Phillips and "Selena" director Gregory Nava.
"After all, we are presenting a new set of films [and] are also one of the few, if not the only, truly bi-national film festival," she added. "We will also be screening film in the Centro Cultural de Tijuana [Mexico]."
In addition, "we are bringing four films that have a touch of science and following up with a short talk by [local scientists]," Cardona said.
As part of the "Science on Screen Showcase," scheduled to speak will be Pat Abbott, emeritus professor from San Diego State University; Eduardo Macagno, a biology professor, University of California San Diego; Jon Rebman, botany curator, San Diego Natural History Museum; and Lisa Will, astrophysicist, San Diego City College.
Special segments are many, including "Cine Mexicano," "Drive-In Movies," "Para La Familia" and "Docu-Mania!"
The festival will also run 10 groundbreaking Latino films, as part of a special showcase sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Those films are"Nostalgia de la Luz" (Chile), "Cronos" (Mexico), "Fresa y Chocolate" (Cuba), "Desperado" (Mexico), "Abre los Ojos" (Spain), "Central do Brasil" (Brazil), "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" (Spain), "Amores Perros" (Mexico), "Y Tú Mamá También" (Mexico) and "Ciudade de Deus" (Brazil).
The opening night party starts at 9 p.m., March 7 at Cafe Sevilla, 353 5th Ave.
in San Diego, while the closing night fete will be held at 9 p.m. March 16 at San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park.
The festival pass is $190, while individual ticket prices are $10.50 (general admission) and $8.50 (for student/senior/military and MACSD members).
For more information on the festival, happenings, other locations and a full schedule, go to www.sdlatinofilm.com.