Westfield AMC Digital Gym
“Argentina, 1985,” one of the Spotlight Films at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, beginning Thursday. Photo credit: Screen shot, Prime Video Mexico, YouTube

The San Diego Latino Film Festival returns with both a look forward and a look back as the event marks its 30th anniversary.

The fest, which begins Thursday at the Westfield Mission Valley AMC – with additional screenings at Digital Gym Cinema in the East Village – has multiple special tracks, including the Legacy Series.

The screenings of three films from 2000-01, includes two from then-rising filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros). Both are now heralded Oscar winners.

The film fest, now a major contributor to the San Diego arts scene, started in 1994 as a student showcase to combat stereotypes about the Latino experience, while also empowering filmmakers to tell their own stories.

“We are immensely grateful for the ongoing support that has kept this event alive and we look forward to partnering on the journey toward another 30 years,” said Ethan von Thillo, the fest’s founder and executive director.

Mexican actor Joaquín Cosío also will be honored, with screenings of the films Lecciones Para Canallas, El Infierno and Matando Cabos. He will appear Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Some key films and showcases among the nearly 200 narrative works, shorts and documentaries being screened:

  • Opening weekend includes Sublime (8:45 p.m. Thursday, AMC), Amores Perros (9:35 p.m. Thursday, AMC), Amor y Matemáticas (8 p.m. Friday and 7:20 p.m. Monday, AMC) and Dearest Eva (2:15 p.m. Saturday, AMC).
  • The Frontera Filmmakers Showcase includes Contratiempo (7:20 p.m. March 15, AMC, and 5:10 p.m. March 17, Digital Gym), and Donde los Vientos Se Cruzan (5 p.m. March 18 and 11:30 a.m. March 19, both at AMC).
  • Fans of horror may look to the Mexican film, Huesera (7 p.m. Sunday, Digital Gym Cinema and 6:20 p.m. March 19 at AMC).

The fest includes several special events, from Sabor Latino, a Saturday food, beer and wine event, to the Arte Latino market, with live music, food and creations from artists and vendors. The closing night ceremony, on March 18 at UCSD Park & Market, includes a concert and festival awards.

Passes start at $120, with a five-ticket pack at $50. Individual screenings cost $12. Some screenings, in the ¡Tu Cine! series, are free.