Latino Film Institute Reveals 2024 Inclusion Fellows
Dec 19, 2024
The Latino Film Institute has selected 10 directors for the 4th annual LFI Inclusion Fellowship.
The 2024 class includes Sisa Quispe, Daniel Eduvijes Carrera, Stacy Pascal Gaspard, Gerardo “Gerry” Maravilla, Giselle Bonilla, Eric Ibarra, Ambar Navarro, Felix Martiz, Sylvia Ray and Gianfranco Fernandez Ruiz.
Each fellow will receive a $30k grant to produce a short film along with individualized mentorship and industry networking opportunities with the support of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity.
“We are thrilled to introduce our fourth class of fellows who embody the incredible diversity and untapped potential within our community,” shared Edward James Olmos, Academy Award-nominated actor and founder of LFI. “This fellowship reinforces our commitment to fostering underrepresented storytellers, and we are immensely grateful for Netflix’s unwavering support in this mission.”
The LFI Inclusion Fellowship aims to amplify the voices of diverse and largely underrepresented Latino filmmakers and provide a platform for them to create and share stories that enrich the fabric of society, according to the release. Alumni of the program have gone on to produce feature films, secure representation and continue to other fellowships.
“Being part of the Inclusion Fellowship was an amazing step forward in my career,” said Jalmer Caceres, Alumni of the 2022/2023 Fellowship. “The program models the studio system and provides the guidance and creative mentorship needed for us to succeed. It also creates space for the historically underrepresented to access high-level resources and opportunities. It was an experience that I will always cherish and be grateful for.”
Completed films from current fellows will screen at the 2024 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival held from May 29 to June 2, 2024.
Learn more about the projects that earned each fellow a spot in the Class of 2024 below.
Ambar Navarro, Bautismo
When an angsty punk Chicana, Lupe, is forced into a belated baptism, she encounters an unexpected challenge that upends her world. Despite family pressure to conform, Lupe staunchly remains true to her punk roots, leading to a surreal and nightmarish experience on the day of her forced purification, where she confronts eerie church hallucinations and the devil himself.
Daniel Eduvijes Carrera, Fiat Lux 5000
Former schoolteacher Manuel Espinoza’s life is upended when he becomes a full-time caregiver for his father who battles dementia, a situation that puts his relationship in jeopardy. An opportunity arises through a futuristic brain modulation device, promising a chance to connect with his homophobic father. Yet, as they reconcile, long-buried family secrets of revenge and violent masculinity resurface, threatening to shatter any hope of reconciliation.
Eric Ibarra, The Man with a Buffalo Head
In a border town, cousins Moi and Gabby become stranded in the woods, stumbling upon a benevolent shape-shifting Buffalo Man. Amidst a treacherous journey fraught with danger, they must confront their grief and mend their friendship. However, their escape hinges on outwitting an evil shape-shifter determined to ensnare them, testing their courage and loyalty in an unforgettable quest for survival.
Felix Martiz, Trending
Andres, disengaged and apathetic, spends his school days immersed in social media, disconnected from reality. When his brother, Miguel, attempts to halt a bullying incident during lunch, he suffers severe injuries. Instead of intervening, Andres documents the brutal altercation, capturing the harrowing event on his phone, revealing a stark reflection of his detachment from the world around him.
Gerardo Maravilla, Enseñame como morir
Following her grandmother’s passing, a grieving Mexican-American woman becomes fixated on experiencing the sensation of death, convinced it will forge a profound connection with her departed grandma that eluded her in life. In her quest to understand mortality, she embarks on an intriguing and deeply personal journey, seeking a unique closeness with her grandmother beyond the confines of life itself.
Gianfranco Fernandez-Ruiz, Cacao
An Afro-Latino couple struggles through infertility and divorce until cacao, an extinct seed, starts to magically grow in their backyard.
Giselle Bonilla, Rent Controlled
Seeking an escape from her mundane stable life, Vic decides to end her relationship, triggering a chain reaction of chaotic mayhem within her once tranquil apartment complex. As her actions set off a series of unexpected events, Vic grapples with the repercussions of her choices, unraveling the calm facade of the once-orderly community.
Sisa Quispe, Kusi Smiles
Kusi, a young, grieving Quechua woman mourning her mother’s loss, confronts her emotional turmoil at a traditional family gathering in the Andes of Ayacucho, Peru. In this deeply rooted ceremony, Kusi encounters a challenge to her understanding of death, leading her on a journey of self-discovery and transformation as she reevaluates her perception of loss.
Stacy Pascal Gaspard, Queen of Samba
When a young Afro-Brazilian dancer is pushed by her mother to enter a high-stakes Samba competition, she grapples with a profound identity crisis, questioning the significance of her skin color. As she navigates the demanding world of competitive dance and societal expectations, she is forced to challenge perceptions of identity, culture, and self-worth.
Sylvia Ray, The Vote
When faced with the agonizing decision of whether to sustain their mother on life support or release her, siblings Jessica and Robbie face a poignant family dilemma. Their conflicting emotions ignite a tense and emotionally charged family gathering, where diverse perspectives collide, forcing them to confront profound moral choices and deeply held beliefs about life, death, and the meaning of letting go.