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Ism, Ism, Ism: A Cinema of Passion: Films and Videos by Willie Varela

Ism, Ism, Ism: A Cinema of Passion: Films and Videos by Willie Varela

Willie Varela, Becky's Eye (1977)

Los Angeles Filmforum and REDCAT present

Ism, Ism, Ism: A Cinema of Passion: Films and Videos by Willie Varela

At REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

In Person: Willie Varela!

Having completed over 100 films and videos made since the early 1970s, El Paso-based, Chicano media artist Willie Varela is one of independent cinema’s most passionate and unbridled social critics. A still-to-be-discovered gem of Chicano cinema, Varela’s visceral, layered work, produced in semi-isolation in the Texas border town, constitutes personal responses to events in his domestic life, local rituals, political issues and the ongoing flow of popular culture. This long-overdue overview ranges from Varela’s early Super 8 visual pieces to a more recent, more pungently political body of work.

Included are: Becky's Eye (1977, 3:21’), March 1979 (1979, 3:30’), The Last Look (1981,1:53’), Recuerdos De Flores Muertas (1982, 6:58’), In Progress (1985, 12:30’), His Hidden Presence (1998, 10:10’), The Extraordinary Day (2003, 16:21’) and This Burning World (two-screen projection)(2002, 31:57’).  (Subject to change)

Los Angeles Filmforum is pleased to launch Ism Ism Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America (Ismo Ismo Ismo: Cine Experimental en América Latina) at REDCAT. Ism Ism Ism is an unprecedented, five-month film series —the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s through today. Revisiting classic titles and introducing recent works by key figures and emerging artists, Ism Ism Ism takes viewers on a journey through a wealth of materials culled from unexpected corners of Latin American film archives. This marathon opening weekend includes a panel with curators and scholars and six film programs: Latin American surrealist shorts; films made in Southern California by Latinas and Latin American women; a solo presentation by veteran Chicano filmmaker Willie Varela; “camera-less” films by artists from several countries; documents of diverse countercultural movements; and revelatory shorts regarding revolutionary icon Che Guevara.  The panel is free. 

Ism Ism Ism is accompanied by a bilingual publication (from University of California Press) placing Latino and Latin American experimental cinema within a broader dialogue that explores different periods, cultural contexts, image-making models, and considerations of these filmmakers within international cinema. 

Ism Ism Ism is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. 

The film series will continue through January 2017 at multiple venues, organized by Filmforum.

Explore more at,, and

Major support for Ism Ism Ism is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Significant additional support comes from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Jack H. Skirball Series

Tickets: $12 general; REDCAT members $9; CalArts students and Filmforum members $6.  Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at or at the door.


is located at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 - at the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and at adjacent lots. Unless otherwise specified, tickets are $12 for the general public, $9 for members. Tickets may be purchased by calling 213.237.2800 or at or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of 2nd and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box Office Hours: Tue-Sat | noon–6 pm and two hours prior to curtain.


For more information: or 323-377-7238