By Luis Monteagudo Jr.
For many in San Diego, singer Chunky Sanchez was an icon who through his music brought voice to the daily struggles of Latino residents living in Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and other communities throughout the region.
His death two years shook the community and came before he had a chance to see the completed version of a film about his life.
That film, “Singing Our Way to Freedom,” will be one of the highlights of the 2018 San Diego Latino Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday at the AMC 18 Fashion Valley theaters and the Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
“Singing Our Way to Freedom” celebrates the music, career and life of Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, who died October 28, 2016.
The film looks at Chunky’s life, from his early days a farmworker in California to his incredible achievement years later earning the National Heritage Fellowship at the Library of Congress.
Former San Diego journalist and filmmaker Paul Espinoza has been working on the film for years, and had direct access to Chunky and his archive of music and photos.
The film will get special screenings Saturday March 24 and Sunday March 25 at the AMC 18 theaters.
“Singing” is just one of more than 160 films scheduled to be shown during the Festival, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year.
As the Festival continues to grow, it has expanded to include an Awards Gala, film talks, celebrity appearances and Sabor Latino, a food, wine and beer festival that will include live musical performances.
“It’s been an honor to premiere so many wonderful movies and to introduce audiences for the first time to such talented Latino filmmakers and stars for the past 25 years,” said Ethan Van Thillo, Executive Director and Founder of the festival. “This 2018 edition of our film festival is sure to be the best-ever and we’re excited to celebrate our history; but at the same time spotlight the new and innovative films and artists of today.”
The Festival runs through March 25. For tickets and information about the Festival, visit www.sdlatinofilm.com or call 619-230-1938.
Luis Monteagudo Jr. is a freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast who has attended Comic-Con for more than 20 years. He has written for The San Diego Union-Tribune, USA Today and numerous other publications.
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