Celebrate Mexico Now Festival 2021


October 30 to November 1, 2021 – All Shows Streaming Free Online 

18th Annual Celebration of Mexican and Mexican-American Culture 

Programs Focused on Dance, Music, History, Art, Film and Business 

9/27/21, NYC – For 18 years, Celebrate Mexico Now (CMN) has been the only independent festival in New York City devoted to spotlighting contemporary Mexican artistry. Every year, CMN disrupts the often narrow definitions of Mexican culture by exploring the way artists are reshaping, envisioning and reflecting on their identity in the ever-changing global context. With the COVID epidemic still sadly raging, 2021 will not allow for CMN to produce more than a single in-person event, but the organization is proud to continue an unbroken tradition of consistency with a 2021 season consisting of six free, digitally streaming and live events in October and November. 

This year’s CMN Festival includes explorations into contemporary dance, music, film, visual art, feminist history and arts business, all with a distinctly Mexican flare. The program includes a selection of dance films created during lockdown, orchestrated by a trio of prominent choreographers; an evening of live music with singer-songwriter Renee Goust; a discussion of the role of the Indigenous woman in Mexican history; a screening of two short documentaries on elders within the community and a conversation with their directors; a panel talk with the leaders of Mexico’s most active live performance venues on surviving COVID; plus more still TBA. 

Celebrate Mexico Now creator and lead curatorClaudia Norman says, “For our 2020 season, the first to be presented entirely online, we were pleasantly surprised to discover thousands of avid viewers of our streaming programming tuning in from Canada, Europe, Central and South America. While we all very much miss the live experience, the silver lining of an online festival is the opportunity to expand our audience beyond New York City. While CMN looks forward to future seasons returning with more in person events, the intention is to continue to explore streaming and hybrid programs in the future.” 

Norman continues, “It was important for us to continue presenting this festival even under extreme duress and a closed border. First and foremost, we must make sure that this vital cultural interchange continues in a way that prioritizes the safety of our participants and audiences. Equally importantly, we represent an necessary source of income, not just for the artists who make up our lineup but for our administrative staff. I am proud that we have been able to continue to provide support to the NYC and Mexican families that bring CMN to life.” 

As an independent festival, CMN is made possible thanks to private donations from the Howard Gilman Foundation and The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, alongside collaborations with our presenting partner: New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and The Mexican Studies Institute at City University of New York. Celebrate Mexico Now’s media partner for the 2021 season is PIX-11. 

All 2021 Celebrate Mexico Now events will be streamed free via the festival’s website at MexicoNowFestival.org and Facebook Live. The films Yolik (Despacio) and Tote/Abuelo will be available to view through October 31; all other programming will be fully available after the premiere date. 

Founded in 2004 by the award-winning curator and producer Claudia Norman of CN Management, Celebrate Mexico Now is New York City’s first and only independent arts festival spotlighting contemporary Mexican culture. Over the past decade and a half, Ms. Norman has brought literally hundreds of native Mexican artists – sculptors, musicians, poets, chefs, filmmakers, actors, painters, and directors – to perform and show at venues across New York City, including The Metropolitan Museum of 

Art, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York University, Columbia University and many more. Ms. Norman’s continuing goal is to share both the rich, ancient traditions and vibrant new ideas emerging in Mexico’s vital arts scene by showcasing Mexican and Mexican-American creators alongside US artists embracing Mexican traditions. In this way, she seeks to present Mexican artistry as a heavyweight player in global culture. 

The complete Celebrate Mexico Now schedule follows below. For more information about the lineup, for additional images, to schedule an interview with Ms. Norman or any of the participating artists or producers, or to request press tickets for any event, please reply to this email or contact John Seroff at John@GreenHousePublicity.com. 

Full Festival Schedule 

October 30 at 5:00 PM EST – Film / Dance -Reencuentros: Works for the Screen in Times of Lockdown – Streaming Video and Live Streaming Q&A 

October 30 at 9PM EST – Music -Cantina Cuir: A Night with Renee Goust- Live In-Person and Streaming Performance 

October 31 at 6PM EST – Film -New Documentary Films from Mexico -Yolik (Despacio) and Tote/Abuelo + Conversation with the Directors: In This Family- Streaming video and Live Streaming Q&A 

November 1 at 11:00AM EST – History / Panel Discussion -Malintzin: The Indigenous Woman’s Role in the History of Mexico – Featuring Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil and Federico Navarrete – Live Streaming Q&A 

November 1 at 9:00PM EST – Business / Panel Discussion -Call for Action: Artists at the Helm – Live Streaming via Clubhouse (Link Forthcoming)

Reencuentros: Works for the Screen in Times of Lockdown 

Choreography by Gustavo Lara, Claudia Lavista, Stephanie Sherman 

Saturday, October 30 at 5PM EST 

Film and Dance – Online Program 


For dance, the pandemic entailed a sudden absence of spaces where the practice usually happens. Studios and theaters shut down to protect life, so artists were confined in their homes without the possibility of coming together. However, faced with an urgency to respond, choreographers, dancers, teachers, and students turned the situation around. Homes became theaters, studios, rehearsal rooms— 

encounter spaces for dance to keep going through the internet and its various platforms for connection. The works in this selection account for different processes at various moments in lockdown, which show how dance, in spite everything, continues to move. After the screening, there will be a live talk with artists Gustavo Lara, Stephanie Sherman, Claudia Lavista and the curator of this program, Hayde Lachino, to discuss the meaning of creating during these complex times. This live dialogue will be moderated by Stephanie Garcia. 

Elongación temporal (Temporary Elongation) 2020, by Gustavo Lara 

In this work, Lara and Marco Antonio Silva, choreographer and director of Mexico’s Centre of Contemporary Dance Production (CEPRODAC), reflects on the impact of the pandemic on creators.The film, mostly composed of material recorded on Silva’s phone, brings together the intimacy of a dancer with the context of the pandemic in Mexico. 

Donde brillas tú (Where You Shine) 2021, by Stephanie Sherman 

Sherman, an artist from the U.S. with ample work experience in Mexico, this piece presents a young woman dancing in an empty square in Oaxaca. The lyricism of the work harmonizes with a landscape that appeals to female solidarity and a state of tranquility, necessary during these times. Donde brillas tú also features music by Diana Gameros, a Mexican singer-songwriter based in the United States. 

Mar afuera (Off-shore) 2020, by Claudia Lavista 

This visual and choreographic experimentation piece was commissioned by Mexico’s National Dance Company within the framework of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. With choreography conceived through Zoom by Claudia Lavista, Mar afuera is a creative response to lockdown and the inability to work in person during the pandemic. 

Cantina Cuir: A Night with Renee Goust 

Saturday, October 30 at 9PM EST 

Performing Streaming and Live – Free to Attend at Terraza 7 in Elmhurst NYC Music – Online and In-Person 


A night of original songs about gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ experience, immigration and other social justice issues featuring surprise special guests hosted by and starring Mexican-American singer songwriter Renee Goust. Best known for her viral feminist hits “La cumbia feminazi” and “Querida Muerte (No nos maten),” Goust will be performing works from her most recent album Resister, a bilingual folk album by, for and about women and anyone who identifies as a woman.

New Documentary Films from Mexico: 

Yolik (Despacio) and Tote/Abuelo – Streaming Online 

In This Family: A Conversation with the Directors – Live Q&A 

Sunday, October 31 Starting at 6PM EST 

Streaming Film and Live Panel Discussion – Online 

At 6:00pm – Yolik (Despacio), 2020, 30 min. Directed by Epifanía Martínez Rosete 

The experiences Linda, well into old age, shares with those around her, keep her childhood memories alive: what her parents taught her and the places where she grew up. Linda shows she can age with dignity without letting go of her identity. Going slowly does not mean stopping. 

** Epifanía Martínez Rosete was born in 1992 in the Nahua community of San Gabriel Chilac, Puebla. She is a graduate of the Bachelor in Communication Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She has collaborated as a translator and narrator of stories in Nahuatl for various animated series for the Encyclopedia of Mexican Letters. In 2018, she was part of the sixth generation of Ambulante Más Allá, a documentary production workshop in the Training and Production area of 

Ambulante A.C., where she directed the short film Yolik (Despacio). Epifanía currently collaborates with Cine Inminente, a collective for the promotion and exhibition of cinema in Tehuacan, Puebla. 

At 6:30pm – In This Family: A Conversation between Directors 

For this live event, Maria Sojob – the documentary director ofTote/Abuelo – andEpifanía Martínez Rosete – director of Yolik (Despacio) – will be in conversation with Concepcíon Suárez, a gender and Indigenous peoples specialist. In both of this evening’s films, audiences can feel the love, hardness, and persistence of the feminine. Sometimes this is due to absence, sometimes because of the shadow cast by machismo, and other times you can credit resilience. In two distant ethnic settings from intimate spaces, we meet María’s artisan grandfather and Epifanía’s great-aunt, the eponymous slow-living garlic planter. Their 

presence and words connect us with meaningful, traditional visions, where family and affection still have much to teach us. Program and moderation by María Inés Roqué. 

** Concepción Suárez Aguilar is a mother and a woman of Afro-indigenous and Chiapaneca descent. Concepción seeks to contribute to the fight for life through her work as a public educator, filmmaker and social researcher with a theoretical and political feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-racist background. In her work and political career, she has worked with indigenous and peasant women from different First Nations and organizations in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guatemala. Additionally, she is a communication scientist, the director of the renowned short documentary Koltavanej (Liberation) and has a Masters degree in Women’s Studies for which she wrote an award-winning dissertation entitled “We Are Those Who Walk.” She is currently pursuing a PhD in Feminist Studies and Intervention. 

** María Inés Roqué is a documentarist and teacher. She started her career as a photographer and, until the early nineties, participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions. María Inés has a Bachelors in Film from Mexico’s Cinematographic Training Center (CCC), a Bachelors in Communication Sciences from the Metropolitan Autonomous University and a Masters in Cultural Development from the Autonomous University of Coahuila. María Inés has directed the documentaries Dad Ivan, Villarias Coffee 

and One More Day, in addition to co-directingBlind Steps, Cavallo Behind Bars and Zapatista Women. She has collaborated in the production of fiction feature films and documentaries in Mexico, Spain, Australia and Argentina. She directs the Ambulante Training and Production Area, which hosts the Ambulante Más Allá, a training program that has produced 60 documentaries between 2011 and 2021, and trained over 165 participants. She is currently collaborating with Piso 16, a cultural initiatives project by the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 

At 7:30pm – Tote/Abuelo, 2019, 80 min. Directed by María Sojob 

In her deeply personal debut documentary feature, Tzotzil filmmaker María Sojob documents an unexpected encounter between an old man who is going blind and his granddaughter, who has a limited memory of her childhood. As the grandfather weaves a traditional hat, the threads of family history are untangled. Between the silences, it becomes possible to understand the meaning of love in Tzotzil. A deceptively simple film, Tote/Abuelo is a complex portrait that contrasts the point of view of a younger generation with a traditional world that was largely marginalized. 

** María Sojob was born in the Tsotsil town of Chenalhó, Chiapas, Mexico. She has a Bachelor in Communication Sciences from the Autonomous University of Chiapas and a Masters in Documentary Film from the University of Chile. Her documentaries have been presented in festivals around the world, including Berlinale, Ficvaldivia, Edinburgh International Film Festival y FICMAYAB’. In 2016, she won the 

Morelia Indigenous Film and Video Festival (Mexico) with her documentary Bankilal (Older Brother). Both in her research and documentary work, María explores narrative and aesthetic forms from the Mayan Tsotsil worldview. Tote/Abuelo is her directorial debut. 

Malintzin: The Indigenous Woman’s Role in the History of Mexico 

with Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil and Federico Navarrete 

Monday, November 1 at 11:00AM EST 

History and Live Panel Discussion – Online 


Within the framework of the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlan – the former capital of the Aztec Empire – linguist and writer Yásnaya Elena A. Gil and historianFederico Navarrete will discuss the role of the Indigenous woman in Mexico’s history. Navarrete and Gil will explore the importance of approaching the stereotyped figure known variously as Malintzin, Malinalli, doña Marina and “La Malinche.” 

** Federico Navarrete is a writer, historian and promoter of the history of Indigenous peoples. Among his publications are ¿Quién conquistó México? (Who Conquered Mexico?, 2019); Historias mexicas (Mexican Stories, 2018); Alfabeto del racismo mexicano (The Alphabet of Mexican Racism, 2017); and México racista. Una denuncia (Racist Mexico. A Denunciation, 2016). He currently coordinates the platform Noticonquista, and is a research professor at the Historical Research Institute at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM) and a tutor at the Mesoamerican Studies Postgraduate Degree. 

** Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil is a member of COLMIX, a collective of young Mixes doing research and promotion of the Mixe language, history and culture. She studied Hispanic language and literature and has a Masters in Linguistics from Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM). She has collaborated with various projects about linguistic diversity promotion, grammatical content development for educational materials in Indigenous languages, and documentation and literacy of languages at risk of disappearing. Yásnaya has also been involved in activism for the linguistic rights of Indigenous languages speakers, the use of Indigenous languages in the virtual world and literary translation.

Call for Action: Artists at the Helm for ANTI 

with Fernando Lopez Mateo, Raquel Araujo and Jessica Sandoval 

Monday, November 1 at 9:00PM EST 

Business and Live Panel Discussion – Online at Clubhouse 


Call for Action is a spirited conversation among Fernando Lopez Mateos, Raquel Araujo and Jessica Sandoval, three members of the Asociación Nacional de Teatros Independiente (ANTI) Mexican National Association of Independent Theater, created in April 2020 as a necessary response to the total shutdown created by the Pandemic. In this expansive panel discussion, we will learn the extraordinary strategies that the 30 independent Mexican venues that constitute ANTI have relied upon to continue operation, generate new artistic collaborations, maintain spaces of reflection, and otherwise continue their missions to provide space for interdisciplinary artistic projects. 

** Fernando Lopez Mateo, Founder of LOFT- Espacio de Creación in Tijuana, Baja California Fernando Lopez is an actor, theater director, cultural journalist and radio producer. In 2007, he founded LOFT- Espacio de creación, a space dedicated to present and produce independent theater in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico 

** Raquel Araujo, Director of Teatro de la Rendija Mérida in Yucatán 

Raquel is the director and general manager, in collaboration with Oscar Urrutia Lazo, of Teatro de la Rendija, an arts lab and artist residencies space. In 2016, she received the Terry Award, the Xavier Villaurrutia Medal in 2018, Festival Internacional de Teatro de Almagro, and the Villanueva Critics Award among many other recognitions. She has been part of the National System for Creators Grant/ FONCA, recipient of the IBERESCENA, and was the founder director of the school of performing arts at Escuela 

Superior de Artes in Yucatán, México. 

** Jessica Sandoval, Founder of Un Teatro in Mexico City 

Jessica Sandoval is a dancer, choreographer, producer and cultural manager. In 2006, she founded and directed “Realizando Ideas AC,” a production house of performing arts, and in 2011 she inaugurated her current working space and cultural center, “Un Teatro: Alternativa escénica.” That space generates, 

promotes and diffuses contemporary theater and dance. She has been awarded via FONCA, UNESCO ASHBERG, received the support of IBERESCENA, EPRODANZA, and has been a consultant for different cultural agencies in Mexico. Her productions have been presented at forums and festivals in Mexico, Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Finland. 

About Celebrate Mexico Now 

For eighteen years running,Celebrate Mexico Now has invited audiences to experience the creativity, heritage, and heart that contemporary Mexican artists bring to every artistic field. Showcasing the wide range of arts expression from across the Americas, Celebrate Mexico Now’s expansive repertoire disrupts narrow definitions of Mexican culture by exploring the way contemporary artists are reflecting, reshaping, and reimagining Mexican identity in an ever-changing global context. For Celebrate Mexico Now’s 18th Annual season of arts presentation, award-winning curator and producer Claudia Norman of CN Management has assembled an eclectic line-up of featured projects, including US debuts and cross cultural collaborations. As an independent festival, CMN is made possible thanks to private donations and collaborations with our presenting partners, New York University’s Center for Latin American and 

Caribbean Studies and The Mexican Studies Institute at City University of New York. Celebrate Mexico Now’s media partner for the 2021 season is PIX-11. 

Follow Celebrate Mexico Now 

Website: MexicoNowFestival.org 

Twitter: @MexicoNowFest 

Instagram: @MexicoNowFestival 

Facebook: facebook.com/MexicoNowFestival

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