Mexico Day and China Day will spotlight movies from those nations


By Staff Report

The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival will be a “virtual edition” when it launches next month, running from Wednesday, April 7, through Tuesday, April 20.

It will include 150 films from 38 countries focusing on inclusion, diversity and women empowerment and more. The online film festival will include Women, Industry and Visual Effects panel discussions along with Filmmaker, Community and Audience Awards that include local businesses, wineries and event spaces (all socially distanced.)

“We’ll offer a great assortment of family films, comedies and fantastic stories from our filmmakers from around the world and other fun surprises,” said Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Executive Director Mattie Scariot.

This year, ticketing for the films will be offered online through Eventive! Scariot encouraged South Valley residents to join the festival’s mailing list for updated ticket and program information. Go to www.pjiff.org to learn more.

The 2021 festival will highlight feature films, short films, panel discussions, and musical performances that provide a diversity of cultural viewpoint

This year’s festival will host China day April 10 and Mexico day April 11. China Day will feature Asian-themed feature films and short films, as well as panel discussions and musical performances. The films include features “Go with Your Gut” and “Unnamed Junior,” and short films “Pills and Joy,” “Family of Wusho,” “Left Behind Children,” “Underdog,” and “Angel’s Mirror.”

All films will be followed by Q&As with the filmmakers. Musical performances will include internationally recognized Chinese harpist Jieyin Wu as well as a Cheongsam fashion show showcasing traditional Chinese dress from Manchu Origin.

As part of Mexico Day, the festival will award the legendary Mexican American band Los Tigres del Norte with its Icon Award during a special celebration. The band which started in San Jose in the 1960s is one of the most popular bands in Norteño Music on both sides of the border. “La Puerta Negra,” “Golpes en el Corazón,” “De Paisano a Paisano” are a few of their hit songs that have resonated with audiences across the United States and Mexico.

In addition, the festival will also honor Luis Valdez, known as the father of Chicano film and theater for his work in film and theater, especially with the El Teatro Campesino nonprofit theater group based in San Juan Bautista. Valdez is best known for his play “Zoot Suit” and his unforgettable and world-renown film “La Bamba.”

Muralist and local visual artists José Ortiz will also be honored with an Icon Award for his work and positive impact he has had in the local community.

“We are thrilled to present a festival for our audience this year as we feel more than ever it is important for the film community to support one another,” Scariot said. “We look forward to showcasing the diversity of storytelling to an even broader audience this year.”

Tickets will be available on the PJIFF website and people from across the United States will be able to watch all the films in the comfort of their homes.

Robert Airoldi