Dia de los Muertos Festival to feature new film festival

DOWNEY – This year’s Dia de los Muertos Festival in Downey will feature a film festival, organizers announced.

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Presented by Cinema Culturas, “From Indo to Downey” will feature short, entertaining films relevant to Mexican society, family and culture.

Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is an age-old tradition in Mexico and Central and South America. The day celebrates the spirits of the dead, who are said to return to earth for one day to rejoin their loved ones.

Families welcome the spirits by building altars (ofrendas) that include mementos and reminders of the deceased, such as photos, favorite foods, hobbies, music, etc.

Customs include eating sweet bread (pan de muertos), decorating sugar skulls (calaveras), face painting, and decorating doorways with colorful papel picado.

City officials are anticipating 30,000 people to attend Downey’s Dia de los Muertos festival, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in and around the Downey Theatre.

The event will feature continuous ballet folkorico and film inside the 738-seat theater, along with facepainting and arts and crafts in the theater patio.

Also planned:

  • A sampling of Mexican music formts on the Zocalo stage in the theater courtyard

  • Variety acts on the Community stage, including ballet folklorico, mariachis, and singers

  • A fine art exhibit in the theater lobby, curated by the Downey Arts Coalition

  • An “urban art alley” featuring 20-ft. tall “found art” sculptures and the “Parade of the 10-ft. Cantinas”

  • The Casa Calaveras Experiences, a multi-media exhibit

  • “Car Altar Avenue,” the merging of Southern California car art and traditional altars

  • Papel picado demonstrations by renowned artisan Aurora Sanchez. Festival goers can also make a papel picado luminaria to take home

  • The Mercado, approximately 50 vendors selling Dia de los Muertos themed merchandise

  • Calaveras decorating

  • 20 booths for local merchants selling their products and services

  • Food trucks and food carts

The festival officially opens when a troupe of 35 Aztec dancers imbue the area with good spirits.

Entertainment, NewsStaff Report