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The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Announces the Five Visionary Afro Latino Recipients of their Inaugural LatinX Inclusion Fellowship Series

LOS ANGELES, CA – December 1, 2020 – The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) announced today the five visionary Afro Latino directors that were selected for their inaugural Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series, sponsored by Netflix. The fellowship was created to develop extensive and inclusive opportunities for underrepresented groups within the Latinx community.

Award-winning filmmaker Lorena Durán; writer and director Justin Floyd; award-winning filmmaker Kase Peña; director Monica Suriyage and artist, director Tamara Shogaolu are the inaugural fellows.

“The time is now for diverse voices to have their stories told and we are proud to be able to offer our fellows the platform to have their voices heard,” said Academy Award®-nominated actor and co-founder of LALIFF and the Latino Film Institute, Edward James Olmos. “We know that our first group of fellows will make a lasting impact on the industry and help to open doors for our future fellows.”

Each fellow will be awarded a $20,000 grant to produce a short and each will receive individualized mentorship, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders and various networking opportunities. Their completed films will premiere as part of the 2021 version of LALIFF, where the fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in the festival’s Industry Week, to further develop their careers and gain industry access needed to succeed as working artists. Netflix will also offer support to the selected group of fellows throughout the development of their films.

This year’s mentors include executive producer Alicia Marie Agramonte; director, producer, and writer Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza; director, producer, and writer Diana Peralta; producer Cisely Saldana and writer, producer Oscar Torres.

About the Fellows

Lorena Durán is an award-winning filmmaker born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic. She received an MFA from the NYU Graduate Film Program and was selected for the 2019 Film Independent Project Involve Fellowship for emerging filmmakers. Her latest short film as writer/director, “The Fisherwoman” was featured at multiple film festivals, including Palm Springs ShortFest and Atlanta Film Festival. Her work as a cinematographer has been screened in many international events and platforms, from Tribeca Film Festival to Vimeo Staff Pick, and has received the 2019 ARRI Volker Bahnemann Award for Outstanding Cinematography. Instagram: @loreduranj

Justin Floyd is an Afro Latino writer and director from Los Angeles, CA. The Inner-City Filmmaker Alumnus landed on stage at The Academy Awards in 2015 as part of Team Oscar for his short “The Center”. Floyd is a 2016 Sundance Ignite fellow and was named a Warner Bros. 2017 Emerging Film Director. His short “Resurrect” was acquired by HBO. Floyd’s most recent short “Fotos de Blancas” was filmed in Valle De Chalco, Mexico, and is expected to premiere in 2021. Instagram: @justinxfloyd; Twitter: @justinxfloyd

Kase Peña is an award-winning New York City born filmmaker. She’s a trans woman of color, the offspring of working-class parents from the Dominican Republic. Kase is currently developing a project with legendary trans icon Carmen Carrera and Stephanie Beatriz of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “In The Heights” fame. Her feature screenplay I Love Hate, the recipient of The Sundance Institute Launch Grant, is being produced by Angel Lopez. HBO has picked up distribution rights for two of Kase’s short films: “Full Beat” and “Trabajo.” Instagram: @kase_pena

Monica Suriyage is a biracial, blasian, first generation, Afro Latina whose directing work features bold color, strong women, and sometimes blood. Her first short film “Black In Red Out” screened at over twenty film festivals across the US, and she was featured in the documentary “Horror Noire” about the history of black horror alongside icons like Jordan Peele, Tony Todd and Rachel True. She is a founding member of the all-female filmmaking collective Body Checker Productions. Instagram: @harmonicablues; Twitter: @monicatweetsnow

Tamara Shogaolu is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures. With a track record in featuring her work at film festivals, galleries, and museums worldwide, such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Indonesia, her innovative approach to storytelling has led to sources like The Guardian, Forbes Magazine and Vogue naming her as a leader in the field of new and immersive media. She was a 2018 Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Fellow, a 2019 Gouden Kalf Nominee, a 2020 Creative Capital Award Recipient, and a 2020 Sundance New Frontier John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grantee and much more. Instagram: @tutataytay; Twitter: @tutafilm

About the Mentors

Alicia Marie Agramonte was born in Oakland, California and grew up in a military family. She has lived in Japan and England as well as various states in the US but ultimately credits Baltimore, Maryland as her hometown. Agramonte is a proud HBCU Alum of Morgan State University. She got her start on set of Netflix’s House of Cards during her sophomore year of college. She continued to work in production for over 6 years, having worked in various capacities on projects such as “Creed”, HBO’s “Show Me a Hero” and “VEEP” before moving on to BET Networks as Production Coordinator. Alicia currently serves as the Director of Development of Film at Revelations Entertainment.

Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza is a film director, writer and producer born in Quibdó, Chocó (Colombia). Jhonny gained international recognition with his feature directorial debut Chocó (2011), that premiered at the 62nd edition of the Berlinale. His filmography as director also includes Saudó (2016) and Candelaria (2017), awarded Best Director at the Giornate degli Autori section of the Venice Film Festival and was part of the Official Selection of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival the same year.

Diana Peralta is a filmmaker, producer, and writer from New York City. Her debut feature De lo Mío (2019) had its world premiere as the closing night film of BAMcinemaFest and it was an Official Selection of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival the same year. The film was acquired by HBO. De lo Mío was awarded Best Narrative Feature at IndieMemphis Film Festival and Best Film at Riverrun International Film Festival. Diana was featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. Her work as a producer on the short documentary “La Feria Concreta” was screened as part of the Dominican Republic’s first pavilion installation at the 2014 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Cisely Saldana is co-founder of Cinestar Pictures. She has outstanding experience as a Production Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. Cisely is skilled in film production, television, film, social media marketing, and entertainment. Strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) focused in Business Administration and Management, General from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus.

Oscar Torres is the writer and producer of Innocent Voices, a film directed by Luis Mandoki, that went out to win over 70 National and International Awards including Mexico’s official submission to the 77th Academy Awards and the Berlin International Film Festival’s Best Picture award. He was also a writer, creative and script consultant on the runaway hit Instructions Not Included starring and directed by Eugenio Derbez, which became the most successful Spanish Speaking film of all time. His latest work 7th & Union starring Mexican star Omar Chaparro which was shot during the pandemic in July 2020 in Los Angeles is currently in post-production. His production company Mango Tree is in development of several projects including Te Adoro (I Love You) a modern-day musical, and last but not least the long awaited “Innocent Voices – The Series” which tells the story of Chava arriving in the United States, currently in negotiations through CAA.


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 nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to showcase, strengthen, and celebrate the richness of Latino lives through the audio-visual event. LFI develops, activates, and supports artists, creators, and executives through pathways and platforms for the expression and appreciation of their work.

For more information and updates on LALIFF visit www.latinofilm.org.
For more information on the Youth Cinema Project visit www.youthcinemaproject.org.
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