In my struggle to balance my love of film with my need to eat, sleep, and pay these bills, there will inevitably be casualties. One of which would be the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center’s Latin American Film Festival 2011 in Silver Spring, MD, which I somehow managed to hear and read nothing about before this morning. Going through the list of films being offered, one in particular stood out to me, and I’m sorry I missed it.

Abner Benaim’s 2010 documentary Empleadas y Patrones (Maids and Bosses), according to, is “a revealing look into the lives of wealthy Panamanians and those they employ, this visually creative documentary explores the class divide in Latin America from both sides.

“Disheartened maids tell harsh stories of devilish children, ridiculously long hours and unfounded accusations of theft. Snobbish bosses complain about incorrect formal table settings, maids taking maternity leave and even the use of black magic. However, both sides attest that genuine affection can grow after working closely for so many years.” expounds on the documentary’s synopsis:

“Through the very peculiar relations between several live-in housemaids and their employers, Maids and Bosses evaluates human relations between social classes in Latin America. Rich and poor, under the same roof, share a big part of their life, and very complex emotional relations surge. Despite their physical proximity, maids and bosses are separated by an invisible socio-economical barrier.
In this creative documentary, the class divide and its implications is approached from an intimate, personal point of view, focusing on those who choose to, or not, look each other in the eyes and accept each other as equals.”

(The HTML code I found for the trailer refused to cooperate with my overly restrictive company computer. You can watch the trailer HERE.)

Empleadas y Patrones was screened at AFI back in September, so I’m out of luck. But for those of you who are interested, keep your eyes and ears open, as there’s always the possibility that the film may eventually come to a theater near you.

Although I managed to miss out on many of the other great films being offered by the AFI Latin American Film Festival, all is not lost. There are still a few more days left for anyone interested to check out the remaining screenings, as the festival’s closing night is on October 12. Click HERE for the film list.