Who would have guessed it would have taken a gringo playing a Spaniard nicknamed fox who was introduced in a 1919 story set in San Juan Capistrano to save the effed-up Santa Ana City Hall from itself?
And yet, Douglas Fairbanks will be on the big screen again tonight, in his classic 1920 silent film The Mark of Zorro, kicking off the second annual, 16-day--and, most important--FREE OC Film Fiesta.
Through Sept. 18, OC Film Fiesta aims to enrich Latino and cultural pride in Santa Ana with events and screenings at the historic Yost Theater, Santa Ana Public Library, Calacas, Original Mike's and Santa Ana Senior Center.
The Mark of Zorro will be shown downtown and outdoors, in the lot next to 120 W. Civic Center Drive, where in addition to the swashbuckling there will be a display of vintage 1920s automobiles and music from the Roaring '20s. Why, it's almost like Santa Ana's white again! The fun begins at 7 p.m., the movie at dusk.
This year's OC Film Fiesta will be rounded out by more classic films, family screenings and insightful documentaries. In the interest of full disclosure, OC Weekly is a sponsor, as are MXLive, The Yost, the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, Original Mike's, Robert Escalante's Custom Auto Service, Top Finish, VAALA, Stay Connected, OCGente.com, Calacas, Espacio Alternativo, Chapter One and Aztec Gold. It's produced by Pocharte, directed by Sandra Peña Sarmiento and presented by the city in conjunction with the massive Fiestas Patrias celebration.
Speaking of credits, cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa's work will be honored 4 p.m. Sunday with a screening of the Mexican Golden Age classic Bugambilia, which stars Dolores del Rio and Pedro Armendariz, at Fourth and French streets. Figueroa, del Rio and Armendariz's talents are also on display in John Ford's 1947 thriller The Fugitive starring Henry Fonda. It screens with The Mark of Zorro Sept. 17 at The Yost.
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This year's documentaries include John J. Valadez's Imagen Award-winning civil rights examination The Longoria Affair ; Ray Telles' epic about the Mexican Revolution, The Storm that Swept Mexico; Anayansi Prado's exploration of gentrification in Panama Paraiso for Sale; and Harlistas: An American Journey, Alfredo de Villa's tribute to Latino Harley Davidson riders that gets two Film Fiesta screenings.
But for this second year, the event has expanded beyond Latino culture, partnering with the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association to expand screenings to include short films from the Vietnamese International Film Festival and Minh Duc Nguyen's award-winning feature Touch.
For the complete schedule, visit www.ocfilmfiesta.org.
OC Film Fiesta concludes Sunday, Sept. 18, with a free red carpet screening at The Yost of the new comedy White Knight, which stars Saving Private Ryan's Tom Sizemore as a jailed Ku Klux Klan leader who learns lessons about tolerance from his Mexican farm labor organizer cellmate played by Nacho Libre's Hector Jimenez. Director Jesse Baget is scheduled to join Jimenez and co-star Olga Segura on the red carpet. Or should I make that carpet de rojo?