The Community Programming component of the Institute is to support the development and further education of school children from elementary to junior college in the United States via the audio visual arts. In turn the programs will continue to elevate standards of Latino audio visual story development and presentation of our culture; and to preserve our cultural cinematic history in the most impactful medium of the world today, the audio visual.
The Latino International Film Institute (LIFI) Youth Program was initiated in 1998 to promote literacy and to improve high school graduation rates utilizing the creative arts.
As a part of LALIFF’s Mission to inspire and promote further education through film, 2,000 youth from Los Angeles Unified School District and surrounding schools participated in the 2008 festival’s Screen Education Program. Diego Luna, the celebrated Mexican actor, producer and director, presented his documentary of Mexican Boxer J.C. Chavez and then moderated discussion with the students. The Colombian director, Maria Camila Lizaro and Spanish director, Enrique Sanchez Lansch of the documentary “The Promise of Music” who resides in Germany were also present in the presentations to the different grades participating in the program.
The Youth Program is one of the highlights of the Festival. It was started in 1998 with the goal of promoting literacy, higher education and cultural harmony. The first year, 250 students participated in an essay contest. Since then, it has developed into a thriving, exciting program that has served over 15,000 students from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and surrounding districts. The primary goal is to engage students in reading, and writing in all three levels of education—Elementary School, Middle School and High School.
This program is conducted as an interactive, hands-on experience that includes classroom activities such as reading, developing, and writing stories and field trips such as screenings of films and on-location filming.
Screenings afford the students an opportunity to interact with filmmakers, writers, actors, and celebrities and engage in a cultural event that celebrates diversity and exposes them to viewing diverse films often with subtitles that they otherwise would not see. Most importantly, they learn first-hand about the hard work, persistence and education needed to achieve their dreams. The youth programs have demonstrated a positive impact in the lives of the participating students.