LOS ANGELES LATINO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2023 LINEUP
LALIFF WILL OPEN WITH SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES’ FLAMIN' HOT, DIRECTED BY EVA LONGORIA, AND CLOSE WITH A24’S PROBLEMISTA, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JULIO TORRES
More than 80 films, 19 world premieres, 100 Youth Cinema Project student films, an expanded industry program, and 15 music performances will be part of the 22nd Edition of LALIFF.
Los Angeles, CA – May 10, 2023 – Academy Award®nominated actor Edward James Olmos, founder of the Latino Film Institute, announced today the full lineup for this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), which will take place May 31 – June 4, 2023 at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre and TCL Chinese 6 in Hollywood, CA. This year’s edition will open with the west coast premiere of Eva Longoria’s feature directorial debut Flamin’ Hot (for Searchlight Pictures on Hulu and Disney+) and close with the Los Angeles premiere of Problemista (A24), written and directed by Julio Torres and starring Julio Torres and Tilda Swinton. The full lineup includes feature films, short films, episodic works, animation, master classes, panels, networking sessions and musical performances. Tickets are now available to purchase through the festival’s site here.
“We kick off our 22nd edition of LALIFF convinced, now more than ever, of the importance of our mission. We are doubling our efforts to build infrastructure for the Latino community in the entertainment industry, while remaining focused on excellence”, said Edward James Olmos, Co-Founder of LALIFF. “At a time when our industry is faced with the responsibility of evaluating our commitment to fair practices, LALIFF is proud to offer a safe space for dialogue and the enjoyment of the work by the filmmakers and artists of our community.”
Flamin' Hot is based on the inspiring true story of Richard Montañez (Jesse Garcia) who as a Frito Lay janitor disrupted the food industry by channeling his Mexican American heritage to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from a snack into an iconic global pop culture phenomenon. Flamin' Hot brings a compelling story to the big screen, with outstanding performances from Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert and Emilio Rivera, among others. Flamin’ Hot will open the festival on Wednesday, May 31 at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, followed by a gala.
Problemista, from writer/director/actor Julio Torres is the story of an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream. The film also stars Tilda Swinton and will close the festival on Sunday, June.
This year's lineup features 44 female (representing over 50% of the program), 13 Afro/Black Latino, nine Indigenous and 16 LGBTQ+ directors, with 19 different countries represented.
The program is composed of 18 feature films from the U.S., Latin America and Canada, including Moe, directed by José Luis Valenzuela, about a man dying of AIDS who requests one last trip with his friends, and director Miguel Angel Ferrer’s feature film The Shadow of the Sun, which tells the story of a deaf young man who asks his estranged older brother to join him in a musical contest. Both films will be celebrating their world premieres.
Additional highlights include films that touch on subjects of self-discovery, forgiveness and freedom, such as Chronicles of a Wandering Saint directed by Tomás Gomez Bustillo, Èṣù and The Universe directed by Thiago Zanato, and Hope, Soledad directed by Yolanda Cruz.
Some of the films in the program having their Los Angeles debut hail from the world’s most important film festivals like Berlinale, Annecy, TIFF and Sundance, including Hummingbirds, a self-portrait documentary directed by young filmmakers Estefanía "Beba" Contreras and Silvia Del Carmen Castaños; Diego Guzmán’s animated feature The Other Shape; the darkly humorous Charcoal, directed by Carolina Markowitz; the eerily poetic Daughter of Rage, directed by Laura Baumeister; So Much Tenderness, written, directed and produced by Lina Rodriguez and The Eternal Memory, directed by Academy Award® nominee Maite Alberdi.
The lineup also features powerful documentaries Patria y Vida: The Power of Music from director Beatriz Lungo, based on the Grammy Award winning song that became an anthem of freedom in Cuba and The Team, by Bernardo Ruiz, about an unlikely meeting that changed the course of forensic science and human rights forever.
Live-Action and Animated Shorts
The lineup includes 56 short films in a wide variety of genres, 33 of them by U.S. Latino directors. Highlights include the world premieres of “El Tesoro” featuring Academy Award® nominee Mexican actress Adriana Barraza, directed by David Rodríguez Estrada; “How To Lasso,” about a young girl’s dream of becoming a cowgirl, directed by Ambar Navarro; and “Detox,” directed by Dominican-American Frida Perez. Family dynamics are brought to the screen with “Pedacito de Carne” directed by Akilah "AK" Walker, “Prelude of a Story,” directed by Ashley Salman Herrera and "Translators,” directed by Rudy Valdez.
World premieres at LALIFF are “Brujas” directed by Adrian Sandoval, “La Curandera Cumbiambera” directed by Ivan Flores, and “Song of the Lake” directed by Carlos Sallas and Samuel Mendez. The program also includes animated shorts from around the world, including the U.S. premiere of “Lucky Brave’s Sunshine,” from illustrator and filmmaker Joseph Game, also known as Chogrin, and Andrés Aguilar as well as - “Ashkasha," by Lara Maltz.
“We are proud to present a robust program of films, TV series and music, that reflect important conversations happening around the world,” said Diana Cadavid, LALIFF’s Artistic Director. “Aside from ensuring that Latino storytellers have a world-class platform to present their works, we offer a space for artists to connect with a diverse audience and important players in the industry, in an environment conducive to empowerment and artistic growth."
This year the festival will screen seven episodics. World premieres in this category are the “Mexico” episode of De La Calle, a Paramount+ Original docu-series hosted by journalist Nick Barili that takes a journey into Latine diaspora to explore the evolution of Urbano music and the cultures that ignited the musical revolution of Rap, Reggaeton, Bachata, Latin trap, Cumbia and other sounds that influence music and culture worldwide. The event will also screen “Shari” episode of the Stoned Breakups series, where Shari Bisnaught gets high and retells the harrowing breakup from her gaslighting ex-husband as sober comedians reenact it.
The Best U.S. Latino Live Action Short and Best U.S. Latina Director of a Live Action Short awards will be presented by Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo. FotoKem will present the Best U.S. Latino Director of a Live Action Short award. The jury members for these categories are: Linda Yvette Chavez, Co-Creator, Co-Showrunner, Director, and Executive Producer of Gentified and Co-Writer of this year’s opening night film Flamin’ Hot; Writer/Director Aitch Alberto who has written on Duster for HBO Max and Little America for AppleTV+; and Kevin Shih, Manager, Creative Talent & Content, Global Talent Development & Inclusion for NBCUniversal.
The Best U.S. Episodic Short will be presented by FX and the jury members for this category are: Rossana Baumeister, producer of Daughter of Rage; Jorge Alfaro, former Director of Development & Production, Motion Picture Group at Lionsgate; and Summer-Joy “SJ” Main Muñoz, award-winning director, writer, and producer.
The Best US Animated Short Film will be presented by Latinx in Animation and the jury members for this category are: Natasha Kline, Creator and Executive Producer of Disney’s “Primo;” Octavio Rodriguez, Director at DreamWorks Animation and head of story on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; and Karissa Valencia, Showrunner and Executive Producer of Netflix’s Spirit Rangers.
The festival will feature four special screenings: The highly anticipated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse from Sony Pictures Animation; a sneak peak of the second season of With Love from Prime Video, created and executive produced by Gloria Calderón Kellett; Hip-Hop X Siempre, from Amazon Music, executive produced by Jessy Terrero and Primo from Freeve, a coming-of-age comedy co-created by Shea Serrano and Mike Schur. The screenings of With Love and Primo will be followed by cast Q&As, and the cast of Primo will present YCP LiveReads, a series of live readings of scripts written by public school students. The screening of Hip-Hop X Siempre will be followed by a panel with the executive producer.
YCP@LALIFF, the Youth Cinema Project’s student film festival, will feature more than 100 films shot and produced by public school students. YCP provides an equitable and accessible learning experience for students across California, by implementing a rigorous filmmaking curriculum that integrates socio-emotional learning and English Language Arts. The two-day event (June 3 and 4) will include film premieres, panels, Q&As and workshops led by industry professionals.
Warner Bros. Pictures will return to present the YCP Directors Challenge, led this year by Angel Manuel Soto, director of this summer’s much-anticipated action-adventure Blue Beetle. Sony Pictures Entertainment will present the YCP Writers Roundtable and the YCP Scene Showcase.
Presented by Paramount+, LALIFF Music is back for its sixth edition with a lineup of exceptional talent. The music program will be kicked off on opening night by “La Misa Negra,” a seven-piece band from Oakland known for their unique blend of heavyweight cumbia and high-energy Afro-Latin music. “J Güero,” an electronica project founded by Los Angeles based chilean producer Juan Covarrubias, will close the festival with world beats and latin psychedelic electronica. The lineup also includes “Niña Dioz,” “Changüí Majadero,” “La Mera Candelaria,” “La Junta Collective,” “LoCura,” “El Haru Kuroi,” “Qiensave” and “Deuce Eclipse (Bang Data).”
LALIFF Industry facilitates connections during the festival for filmmakers, creators, artists, executives and other industry professionals. This comprehensive program allows participants to acquire new insights, learn new skills, gain industry access and expand their networks. The program includes in-person and virtual events: masterclasses, “cafecitos,” networking hours, panels, workshops, and one-on-one meetings.
This year the program includes multi-day masterclasses on visual storytelling and distribution, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo and panels presented by Amazon Music, Disney Television Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Warner Brothers Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, Instituto Cervantes Los Angeles and Popflick.
Panelists include Academy Award nominated filmmaker Carlos Lopez Estrada as well as producers Frida Torresblanco and Jamie Gonçalves in a conversation hosted by Nalip and presented by Popflick on the challenges of producing for a global and digital age; Casting Director Carla Hool, in a conversation about the importance of casting to the filmmaking process; and Diana Sanchez, former Senior Director of Film at TIFF, in a discussion on festival strategy.
LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship
Sponsored by Netflix, the LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship is an ongoing program focused on building a more inclusive and equitable industry for Latino filmmakers. Every year the fellowship champions underrepresented groups. The shorts created by this year’s Indigenous and Afro-Latino cohorts will premiere at the festival.
LALIFF Works in Progress
Sponsored by Amazon Studios, LALIFF Works in Progress, is a finishing fund that supports independent U.S. based Latino filmmakers in the completion of a feature film. Funds will be allocated to films in the final stages of production with a unique directorial voice, cultural significance, and commercial viability. The recipients of the inaugural awards will be announced at the festival.
Youth Cinema Project Fellowship
Sponsored by Amazon Studios, the Youth Cinema Project Alumni program will premiere the film “Sol Supernova,” created by the inaugural YCP Fellowship cohort. The program provides college bound students with mentorship and resources to make a high-quality short film as a team to strengthen their film school applications and scholarship opportunities.
LatinX in Animation Spark Animation Grant
Sponsored by Netflix, the Spark Animation Grant is designed to uplift Latinx animation filmmakers. The selected filmmakers receive a $10,000 USD grant towards the production of an animated short film. The completed films have a special screening at LALIFF.
LALIFF 2023 Sponsors, Grantors and Partners include the Youth Cinema Project, Los Angeles Times, Netflix, Amazon Studios, Paramount+, Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo, Amazon Music, Warner Bros. Discovery, FX, Freevee, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation, Nickelodeon, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Discovery Access, Cartoon Network Studios, Disney Television Animation, National Geographic Documentary Films, United Talent Agency, FotoKem, Variety, CNN en Español, Egeda Us, Perrier, High Performance Learning Environments, Fever-Tree, Popflick, Instituto Cervantes de Los Ángeles, Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP., Golden Globes®, Universal Global Talent & Inclusion, NBCU Launch, Fuse Media, TVCortos, Go Metro.
For the LALIFF full programming slate and schedule please visit www.laliff.org.
Download LALIFF 2023 Poster here.
Download Film Stills here.
The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is a premiere international event dedicated to showcasing the entirety of human experience from the Latino perspective, whether through film, television, digital, music, art, or any other vehicle, regardless of platform. LALIFF is presented by the Latino Film Institute (LFI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating infrastructure for equity, diversity, and excellence for the Latino community in the entertainment industry. LFI houses three signature programs: the Youth Cinema Project (YCP), the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) and Latinx in Animation (LXiA). For more information and updates on LALIFF visit www.laliff.org
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Kim Gutierrez / MPRM Communications