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Our Mission

Latino Film Institute + LALIFF

Latino Film Institute (LFI) showcases, strengthens and celebrates the richness of Latino lives through the audiovisual event. We develop, activate, and support artists, creators, and executives through pathways and platforms for the expression and appreciation of their work.

LALIFF is a premier 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 was founded in 1997 when Edward James Olmos, Marlene Dermer, Kirk Whisler and the late George Hernandez joined forces with the City of Los Angeles to form the first-ever Latino-focused international film festival. Recognized for its discovery of emerging Latino talent, LALIFF has been home to first films by Academy-Award winning directors, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Iñarritu, and Pablo Larrain, as well as home to the first films by Golden Globe-winning actresses, Gina Rodriguez and America Ferrera.

Throughout its history, LALIFF has bestowed the Gabriel Figueroa Lifetime Achievement Award to such industry icons as, Raul Julia, Pedro Almodovar, Carlos Sauza, Maria Felix, Anthony Quinn, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Federico Luppi, Rita Moreno, Ricardo Montalban, Antonio Banderas, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Gustavo Santaolalla and, of course, Gabriel Figueroa himself.

The LALIFF Youth Program, a screen education program that took place at the festival, set the groundwork for what would eventually become the statewide, public school educational film program known as, the Youth Cinema Project.

The Academy Film Archive houses all of the past LALIFF Collection.

Executive Director's


The Latino Film Institute is proud to produce LALIFF (Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival). I began my career as a volunteer at LALIFF, which is why I’m committed to creating career-pathways into the entertainment industry for our community. Similarly, it is important I acknowledge that the foundation of everything we do – the heart of LALIFF – are the public school students we work with around the state via the Youth Cinema Project. After all, our mission is to pave the way for Hollywood’s multicultural future.

LALIFF brings with it two programming giants to Hollywood. First, is Artistic Director, Diana Sanchez. Diana is the new appointed Senior Director, Film for TIFF and is the Artistic Director of IFF Panama. Joining Diana is our new Director of Programming, Dilcia Barrera. Dilcia is a Senior Programmer, Features Films at the Sundance Film Festival. Like myself, Dilcia was also a volunteer at LALIFF.

Showcasing the very best Latinx films is what LALIFF has always been known for. But in its return, LALIFF has become the home of Latinx content. While global Latin American films are better than they have ever been, we cannot turn a blind eye to the platforms where Latinos and Latinas are actually thriving: TV and digital content. That is why creating a space where Latinx content creators can co-exist with our very best national and international talent – in front and behind the camera – is our ultimate goal. In our return, we also create LALIFF Music, our new live Latinx music showcase, as well as LALIFF Art, an art exhibition highlighting undocumented artists that will take place in the lobby of the Chinese 6 Theatres.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this year we launch, LALIFF Legacy: the first-ever statewide student film festival highlighting the final films of the students of the Youth Cinema Project.

At the end of the day, my team and I pose one very simple question: which LALIFF are you?

Rafael Agustín
Executive Director, Latino Film Institute | LALIFF