HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — As he walks down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and into the Montalban Theater, Arturo Montenegro recalls when he fell in love with movies as a child. He’s now a director and remembers as a child acting out scenes inside his home with his brothers and sisters.
“I just dreamed about it, all the time, so it was natural to me to be involved with cameras as a playground,” Montenegro said.
Now he’s showcasing his latest project Todos Cambiamos — in English, Everybody Changes. It's the true story of a Panamanian couple with three children as they cope with the father’s decision to come out as a transgender woman.
“At the moment we are still fighting for LGBTQ rights, civil and human rights for LGBTQ communities in our country,” said Montenegro.
Right now Panama is under massive constitutional reforms. Among the proposals is to incorporate into the constitution the definition of marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
Everybody Changes is one of 14 movies being showcased this week at the Montalban in Hollywood as part of the first Latin American Nomination Screening presented by the Hola Mexico Film festival. The goal is to bring more awareness to Latin American films, especially those being considered for Oscar nominations.
Samuel Douek is the founder and director of the Hola Mexico Film Festival.
“These are films that every country has selected to represent them for a potential nomination for best international film at the Oscars," said Douek. "And many of these films were not going to show in L.A. and we now we have a week of screenings of all these films.”
But for Montenegro, getting his movie exposure is important because it gives the world a look at the issues the LGBTQ community is facing in Panama.
“To have this message go to the world, because this is about justice, we for need to fight for our rights. We are not monsters, we are human beings” said Montenegro.
Whether he gets nominated for an Oscar or not, he’s happy to help shed light on issues the LGBTQ community faces in Panama.