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Watch the trailers: Watsonville Film Festival returns with an exciting 2023 line-up

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The Watsonville Film Festival is set to return for its 11th year and will run from March 3rd to 12th, featuring an exciting line-up of films about Latino art, music and inspiring stories.

The Watsonville Film Festival is set to return for its 11th year and will run from March 3rd to 12th. This year’s Festival will feature an exciting line-up of films about Latino art, music and inspiring stories about ordinary people overcoming great obstacles to achieve the extraordinary.

The Festival will roll out the Red Carpet on March 3rd in honor of actor Pepe Serna who has appeared in over 100 films and 300 TV shows. Serna will present his latest films, Abuelo and Life is Art, followed by a Q&A with Luis Reyes, the film’s director and author of “Viva Hollywood.”

The Festival will take place at the Mello Center and the Watsonville Public Library, with online viewing opportunities also available. This year’s festival will also be accessible to everyone on a “pay what you can” basis, thanks to the festival’s generous sponsors and supporters.

Festival highlights include the world premiere of Strawberry Picker, about the life and work of Juan Fuentes, a renowned Chicano artist who grew up in Watsonville. The Festival will co-host the opening of A Retrospective of Fuentes’s art “RESILIENCE: Works of Strength and Dignity” at the Porter Building on March 5 along with an art tour of the giant mosaic murals of Fuentes’s art in Downtown Watsonville.

Latin jazz lovers will enjoy Santos: Skin to Skin, a portrait of Bay Area legend and seven-time Grammy nominee John Santos whose music links the rhythms of his ancestors to contemporary struggles of identity and social justice. This screening on March 11 is co-presented by Kuumbwa Jazz.

Award-winning director Rodrigo Reyes will present his latest documentary film, Sanson & Me, a compelling story about two Mexican migrants, a young man serving a life sentence in prison and a filmmaker who was his court interpreter, who become intertwined through life and cinema. Co-presented with Reel Works Santa Cruz Labor Film Festival.

The Watsonville Film Festival will also present the world premiere of Historias de Cultura: Oaxaca in Santa Cruz, a series of three short films about how Senderos uses music, traditional medicine and food to uplift and heal the local Oaxacan community.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out the full list and calendar of events at our website.

This Year’s Program Includes:

Santos: Skin to Skin dir. Kathryn Golde & Ashley James

Santos: Skin to Skin

Sansón and Me dir. Rodrigo Reyes


Strawberry Picker dir. Eugenia Renteria

Have a glimpse of this inspiring story and click below to learn more about the project and ways to support this film.

Pepe Serna: Life is Art dir. Luis Reyes


Here to Stay

A first-generation woman runs for office in one of the most dangerous cities in America. Winner of a Student Academy Award (2022), Student BAFTA shortlist (2023). Visit us at for more.

Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)


Los Tigres del Norte: Historias que contar dir. Carlos Perez Osorio


Inventing Tomorrow dir. Laura Nix


The Last Out dir. Sami Khan and Michael Gassert


Tierra Fértil

Estamos muy emocionados de presentar un poco de Tierra Fértil, un cortometraje filmado en Zacatecas, México donde las sequías son tan intensas como el amor de la gente que ahí habita. We are very excited to present a teaser for Tierra Fértil, a short documentary filmed in Zacatecas, Mexico where the droughts are as intense as the love of the people who live there.

Matronas dir. Shara Lili and Noemi Delgado