Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 7PM

CHAVELA by Catherine Gund & Daresha Kyi

Bronx Film Wednesdays – Independent films you will love.
CHAVELA

CHAVELA is the captivating look at the unconventional life of beloved performer Chavela Vargas, whose passionate renditions of Mexican popular music and triumphant return to the stage late in life brought her international fame.

Born in Costa Rica in 1919, Chavela Vargas ran away to Mexico City as a teenager to sing in the streets. By the 1950s, she became a household name in her adopted country, delivering her performances with a raw passion and unique voice. Just as influential were her cultural contributions; Chavela was a bold, rebellious, sexual pioneer who was known for having many female lovers at a time when being out in Mexico was dangerous.

CHAVELA centers around a 1991 interview—the singer’s first public appearance after 15 hard years lost to alcoholism and heartbreak. In the final years of her life, Chavela openly comes out as a lesbian and rises into her momentous third act, becoming a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, earning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and selling out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world.

  • WINNER! 2017 Frameline Fest—Audience Award
  • WINNER! 2017 Outfest—Audience Award

From director Catherine Gund: “Before cell phones put a camera in everyone’s pocket, I carried a video camera in my backpack everywhere I went. I begged my friends to help me create a face-to-face moment with Chavela. I wanted to ask her some questions in my broken Spanish, make her laugh her gorgeous laugh, feel her magnetism, hear her raspy tones, and squirm at the power of her promise. I asked her if I could videotape our conversation. She agreed and she did not disappoint.”

From director Daresha Kyi: “As soon as I saw Chavela, I was intrigued. She wasn’t even singing, just sitting around talking to some friends but I had that visceral, gut reaction where you just know. Even though I still didn’t know any of the details of Chavela’s powerful story, I recognized her too, as kindred. And I knew hers was a story worthy of my time, energy, fire, desire, and oh, so much love.”

CHAVELA. 2017. Mexico, Spain, USA. 93 min. Music Box Films.

7PM Film Screening and kick-off event of March Is Music 2020.

Q&A / Performance with Latinx neo-folk artist Renee Goust following screening.

Bronx Film Wednesdays (BxFW): Curated by film and media artist Melisa Ramos, this series screens new, little-seen, and standout indie films that you will love! Travel the world and open your mind to stories as wild and from as far as the imagination can go — romance, comedy, action, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, thriller, drama, music, sports, animation, documentary, and more! Carefully selected to illustrate cultural, aesthetic, and geographic diversity, each night includes specially selected features and winning films from our Bronx-based 21 Islands International Short Film Fest. BxFW is co-presented with Prime Latino Media, the largest network of Latino multimedia-makers and actors on the East Coast.

More About The Artists – Click To Open

CHAVELA VARGAS – Born Isabel Vargas Lizano in Costa Rica, Chavela Vargas (1919-2012) ran away to Mexico City in her early teens and began singing in the streets. By the 1950s, she had become a darling of the city’s thriving bohemian club scene. Challenging mainstream Mexican morals by dressing in pants, drinking tequila, and smoking cigars while singing love songs intended for men to woo women and refusing to change the pronouns, “She was chile verde,” remembers Elena Poniatowska, the grande dame of Mexican letters.

Although she lived out of the public eye for several years due to a long battle with alcoholism, Chavela was nursed back to health by a Huichol Indian family who also helped initiate her into Shamanism. For the rest of her life, Chavela was known as “La Cupaima,” (the last female shaman). Her amazing comeback began at the age of 72 when Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, who had featured her music in many of his films, played an instrumental role in elevating her career to international acclaim. Whenever he introduced her to the public, he would kneel down to kiss the stage before she performed at renowned venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall, Paris’ L’Olympia Theatre, and Madrid’s Plaza de España. Chavela also appeared in the 1967 movie La Soldadera, Werner Herzog’s Scream of the Stone and Julie Taymor’s Frida, and sang “Tú Me Acostumbraste” (“Because of You, I Got Accustomed”) in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel.

In her lifetime, Chavela was credited with recording 80 albums, received a Latin Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, and was the second woman to win Spain’s most prestigious artistic award, the Grand Cross of Isabel, the Catholic. She was close to many prominent artists and intellectuals including Juan Rulfo, Agustín Lara, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Dolores Olmedo, José Alfredo Jiménez, Lila Downs, and Joaquin Sabina. In 2012 Chavela passed away at the age of 93 after touring to support her last album La Luna Grande, a tribute to the poet Garcia Lorca, with whose spirit she communed daily.

CATHERINE GUND, the Founder and Director of Aubin Pictures, is an Emmy-nominated producer, director, writer, and activist. Her media work focuses on strategic and sustainable social transformation, arts and culture, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, and the environment. Her films —which include Chavela, Dispatches from Cleveland, American Rhapsody (in progress), Born to Fly (Emmy-nominated), What’s On Your Plate?, A Touch of Greatness (Emmy-nominated, Hamptons’ Starfish Award), Motherland Afghanistan, Making Grace, On Hostile Ground, and Hallelujah!— have screened around the world in festivals, theaters, museums, and schools; on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the Sundance Channel. Gund currently serves on several boards including Art Matters, Solidaire, Osa Conservation and The George Gund Foundation. She co-founded the Third Wave Foundation which supports young women and transgender youth, and DIVA TV, an affinity group of ACT UP/NY. She was the founding director of BENT TV, the video workshop for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. She was on the founding boards of Bard Early Colleges, Iris House, Working Films, Reality Dance Company and The Sister Fund and has also served for MediaRights.org, The Robeson Fund of the Funding Exchange, The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, and the Astraea Foundation. Gund’s most recent project, Dispatches from Cleveland, consists of five short films that look at the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and show how people joined together to vote out the prosecutor who didn’t have their backs. Her other film Born to Fly pushes the boundaries between action and art, daring us to join choreographer Elizabeth Streb and her dancers in pursuit of human flight. She lives in NYC with her four children.

DARESHA KYI is an award-winning filmmaker and television producer with over 25 years in the business. A graduate of NYU Film School, she also won a full fellowship from TriStar Pictures to attend the Directors Program at The American Film Institute (AFI) based on her multiple award-winning short film Land Where My Fathers Died, which she wrote, produced, directed and co-starred in with Isaiah Washington. She recently served as executive producer of the award-winning short, Thugs, The Musical starring David Alan Grier and Margaret Cho. She has also worked extensively as a television producer —most recently she was field producer on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, story producer on La Voz Kids (Telemundo’s The Voice for children), and writer for the weekend morning talk show Arise & Shine, hosted by Richard Pryor’s daughter, Rain. She is currently co-directing and co-producing Aubin Pictures’ Chavela and producing Dispatches From Cleveland.

Our Esteemed Funders – Click To Open

This program is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of Pregones/PRTT. For a full list of our funders, visit www.pregonesprtt.org.

Logos of funding agencies.

Directions To Pregones in THE BRONX – Click To Open

PREGONES THEATER
575 Walton Avenue 
(b/w 149 & 150 Streets)
The Bronx, NY 10451

Subway #2, 4, 5 to 149 Street & Grand Concourse
We’re just one short block away from the station!

For more information call us at 718-585-1202.

Free Event — Reserve Now!

Click to RSVP
Ingrese su primer nombre
Ingrese su apellido(s)

Event Details

  • Location

    Pregones in THE BRONX

  • Date & Time

    March 4, 2020 at 7PM

  • Bronx Film Wednesdays

    FEATURED DIRECTORS:

    Catherine Gund
    Daresha Kyi

CHAVELA is the captivating look at the unconventional life of beloved performer Chavela Vargas, whose passionate renditions of Mexican popular music and triumphant return to the stage late in life brought her international fame.

Born in Costa Rica in 1919, Chavela Vargas ran away to Mexico City as a teenager to sing in the streets. By the 1950s, she became a household name in her adopted country, delivering her performances with a raw passion and unique voice. Just as influential were her cultural contributions; Chavela was a bold, rebellious, sexual pioneer who was known for having many female lovers at a time when being out in Mexico was dangerous.

CHAVELA centers around a 1991 interview–the singer’s first public appearance after 15 hard years lost to alcoholism and heartbreak. In the final years of her life, Chavela openly comes out as a lesbian and rises into her momentous third act, becoming a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, earning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and selling out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world.

From director Catherine Gund: “Before cell phones put a camera in everyone’s pocket, I carried a video camera in my backpack everywhere I went. I begged my friends to help me create a face-to-face moment with Chavela. I wanted to ask her some questions in my broken Spanish, make her laugh her gorgeous laugh, feel her magnetism, hear her raspy tones, and squirm at the power of her promise. I asked her if I could videotape our conversation. She agreed and she did not disappoint.”

From director Daresha Kyi: “As soon as I saw Chavela, I was intrigued. She wasn’t even singing, just sitting around talking to some friends but I had that visceral, gut reaction where you just know. Even though I still didn’t know any of the details of Chavela’s powerful story, I recognized her too, as kindred. And I knew hers was a story worthy of my time, energy, fire, desire, and oh, so much love.”

CHAVELA. 2017. Mexico, Spain, USA. 93 min.

7PM Film Screening and launch event of March Is Music 2020.

Bronx Film Wednesdays (BxFW): Curated by film and media artist Melisa Ramos, this series screens new, little-seen, and standout indie films that you will love! Travel the world and open your mind to stories as wild and from as far as the imagination can go — romance, comedy, action, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, thriller, drama, music, sports, animation, documentary, and more! Carefully selected to illustrate cultural, aesthetic, and geographic diversity, each night includes specially selected features and winning films from our Bronx-based 21 Islands International Short Film Fest. BxFW is co-presented with Prime Latino Media, the largest network of Latino multimedia-makers and actors on the East Coast.

Free Event — Reserve Now!

Ingrese su primer nombre
Ingrese su apellido(s)