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Author: AJ Silva

Masterclass: Experimental Animation

Masterclass: Experimental Animation

Saturday, May 30th, 2020 at 1:00PM PT

Join LatinX in Animation as we host Latinx short animation filmmakers from LALIFF Connect 2020. Moderated by Simón Wilches-Castro (Creative Director, Titmouse) and José Iñesta (CEO, Pixelatl), we will discuss the inspiration and structure behind the experimental animated shorts, and explore the themes touched upon these shorts.


Simón Wilches-Castro

Creative Director, Titmouse

Simón Wilches-Castro is an award-winning animation director. He is originally from Colombia and currently based in Los Angeles, CA where he works as a director at Titmouse animation studios. His films have screened in the most important animation festivals around the world and have earned him various recognitions, including two Adobe design achievement awards, two student academy award regional finalist nominations, two annie awards nominations and six consecutive official selections in the Annecy International Animation Festival, among others. He recently directed the HBO Musical The Emperor’s newest clothes starring Alan Alda, Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill. Simón received his MFA from the John C. Hench Division of Animation at USC and is also a Fulbright Scholar.

José Iñesta

CEO, Pixelatl

Passionate about art, technology, and human nature. Co-founder of PIxelatl, a platform created to develop the animation industry in Mexico and Latin America. Currently hosts several events through the year: El Festival Pixelatl in September, Sublime in November, and bootcamps for animated project ideas in March and June.


Miguel Bohórquez

Miguel Bohórquez is a graphic designer and animator graduated from Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes. PHD in design from Universidad de Buenos Aires. Appointed lecturer at Universidad del Valle since 2003. Winner of the Colombian National Film Fund scholarship for animation. His films include “Routine” and “Limpy” broadcasted by Wired.com; “Mud sounds”, “M Cycle and Origem”, selected for festivals such as Clermont Ferrand, FICCALI, CineToro and others.

Mónica Bravo

Mónica Bravo is a filmmaker, graduated in Social Communication from Universidad del Valle, Colombia, with a masters in filmmaking from The London Film School, UK. Her work includes: “Invisible Tracks”, “I wouldn’t sit next to myself”, “How to kiss a dead girl”, “The Taste in Our Tongues” and others. Her films and projects have been selected for national and international festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand, Premier Plans Festival d’Angers, Bratislava Film Festival and the Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde and others.

Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea

Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian/Canadian Toronto-based animator, artist, and teacher. He specializes in digital animation, video installation, and drawing. His work explores psychedelia, plant biology, and Latin American stories. His work has been exhibited across North America including at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Glas Animation Festival, Art Spin Toronto, the Toronto Animated Image Society, the Niagara Artist Centre, Summerworks Festival, Pleasure Dome, Nuit Blanche Toronto, and Eastern Edge Gallery in St. John’s Newfoundland. He has also directed music videos for Lido Pimienta and Chancha Via Circuito’s “La Victoria” and “Jardines”. “Borrachero” (2019) is his latest short film.




Thursday, May 28th, 2020 at 5:00PM PT

We are excited to announce our new LALIFF Masterclass on the Art of Pitching in the time of COVID (in collaboration with Stage 13) on Thursday May 28th at 5pm PT!


Join us for an open and candid panel discussion with three trailblaizing executives: Pete Corona (Netflix), Diana Mogollon (Stage 13), & Flavio Morales (Endemol Shine)


Learn what they look for in a good pitch and discover how your project can stand out in the new reality of content creation during the pandemic


Find out how to submit your pitch for review after attending


Pete Corona

Pete started his entertainment career by interning for producers Gavin Polone and Judy Hofflund.  Then, like many in Hollywood, he cut his teeth as an agent’s assistant at CAA before working on A&E’s first scripted television series, THE CLEANER. After the series wrapped, Pete worked in development for producer Liz Goldwyn, granddaughter of Hollywood namesake Samuel Goldwyn. In 2014, Pete helped to build the scripted department for the newly consolidated American hub of UK-based all3media. After Discovery, Inc acquired all3media in 2015, Pete became the interim head of scripted development. Since leaving that position, Pete sold several projects to ITV Studios America and produced an Emmy® nominated series forYouTube Red. In his previous role as Executive Director of Development for Marvel Television Studios, he oversaw the development and launch of new series. As a content creative for Netflix he develops and produces English language genre and thriller original programming.

Diana Mogollón

Diana Mogollón is a senior entertainment executive who has impacted and fueled critically-acclaimed, award-winning, multi-platform content. A leader in creating content for cross-cultural, tastemaker audiences, she is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Stage 13, an award-winning original content studio that is part of the Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group. With a curated team of creative executives, Stage 13 is the leader in creating award-winning premium scripted and unscripted programming for highly-coveted, multi-dimensional audiences. The brand’s series are available on the Stage 13 platform, Facebook, YouTube, as well as its distribution partners including Netflix, CW/CW Seed and HBO, among others.

Focusing on fearless original digital storytelling, Stage 13 showcases a new generation of talent and fresh creative voices, creating dynamic and unapologetic scripted and unscripted series, features and short-form content. Mogollón helped develop and incubate the brand, transitioning to Stage 13 after serving in Business Strategy and Development at the Warner Bros. Television Group, where she led a core business team as part of broader strategic initiatives for Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Previously, she served as a corporate executive at NBCUniversal as Executive Vice President and General Manager for the award-winning mun2 cable network, the leading lifestyle entertainment cable network targeting Latino millenials. In this capacity, she was responsible for developing and executing overall operational and P&L leadership for the business.  She spearheaded the brand’s unparalleled growth strategy across all business units, providing astute leadership within the Telemundo, NBCUniversal, and Comcast divisional portfolio, yielding major achievements with all stakeholders.

Mogollón has been recognized as an one of the “Industry Leaders, Top Women in Digital” by Cynopsis, a  “Woman of Impact” by Variety Magazine, one of the “Most Powerful Women in Cable” by CableFAX magazine, a “Wonder Woman to Watch” by Multichannel News, one of the “Most Influential Minorities in Cable” by CableFAX magazine, one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Latinos in Entertainment” by the Imagen Foundation, a “Top Woman in Music & Entertainment” by Billboard Magazine and a CableFAX Diversity Award nominee. 

Flavio Morales

Flavio Morales has served as Executive Vice President, Endemol Shine Latino, U.S. Initiatives, since November 2015.

Morales, an experienced programming executive and producer, develops unscripted, scripted and digital content aimed at the U.S. Hispanic/English-speaking marketplace. He’s currently serving as an executive producer on the second season of LOL: Last One Laughing for Amazon in Mexico and he recently was an associate producer on acclaimed drama series Nicky Jam: El Ganador for Netflix.

Morales is also working closely with award-winning actress and producer Kate del Castillo (“La Reina del Sur”) and her team at Cholawood Productions, which recently signed an overall development and production deal with the company’s Endemol Shine Boomdog production company.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine Latino, Morales was EVP at BIG VIDA Entertainment, where he oversaw production of the NCLR ALMA Awards, along with executive producer Eva Longoria and he produced the Gerardo Ortiz concert film Como Un Sueno.

Previously, Morales was a top programming executive at NBCUniversal’s Telemundo’s cable network mun2 (now NBCUniverso), where he spent nearly a decade developing the network’s bilingual/millennial programming mix of series including hits like I Love Jenni, Fugitivos de la Ley, and Larrymania. While at mun2, Morales helped lead the network to the top of the U.S. Hispanic cable network ratings, ending Galavision’s 30-year run.

In 2008, Morales was honored with a prestigious NAMIC Vision Award, which celebrates and recognizes the cable industry’s commitment to quality and diversity, and in 2009, he was selected as one of Multichannel News’ 40 Under 40 visionaries. In 2006, Morales won a Peabody Award for his work on the documentary, “For My Country? Latinos in the Military.”

Morales, a Los Angeles native, began creating programming for bicultural Latinos in high school when he formed ILLEGAL Interns, a public access show in East LA, which showcased music, film, poetry, comedy and political activism. The show received critical acclaim and its programming was displayed at The Geffen Museum of Modern Art.



Tuesday, May 26th 7 PM PT



Huracán is a psychological thriller about an aspiring MMA fighter who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. Co-starring in the film are writer/director Cassius Corrigan as Alonso Santos, Yara Martinez (from Jane the Virgin) as his pioneering but troubled therapist, and UFC legend Jorge Masvidal as his final opponent.


Director(s): Cassius Corrigan
Year:  2020
Length: 105 min
Country: United States
Film Trailer: vimeo.com/273395868
Notable Festivals: Miami Film Festival, New York Latino Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival




Cassius Corrigan is a writer, director and actor from Miami. He is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. His debut feature film is HURACÁN, a psychological thriller about an aspiring mixed martial arts fighter who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. It was acquired for a September 2020 release, with the incredible distributor to be announced in July. A passionate martial artist who has created documentary content for Conor McGregor, Cassius is dedicated to creating breakthrough global content for the fast growing sport of MMA, and to empowering Latino voices and stories. A filmmaker with a deep love for production, Cassius recently produced and 1st AD’d the upcoming gangster film THE BIRTHDAY CAKE, starring Val Kilmer, Ewan McGregor, Luis Guzmán, Shiloh Fernandez, William Fichtner, Penn Badgely, and the Queen of Mob Cinema, Lorraine Bracco.



La Casita Rosa

La Casita Rosa

Program 3
Sunday, May 24th 5 PM PST



A documentary based on the humanitarian efforts of Las Patronas, a group of Mexican women determined in feeding countless immigrants riding on top of cargo trains heading north to the United States.


Director(s): Elvin Herrera
Year: 2019
Length: 13 min
Country: USA, Mexico
Notable Festivals: 2019 Hola Mexico Film Festival



Elvin Herrera is a documentary filmmaker and video editor based in Los Angeles, California. During his early college years, Herrera discovered his calling as a documentarian by filming cultural and social justice events around LA, while at the same time exploring his Chicano roots and overcoming the challenges of being a first generation college student.

As Herrera became involved with grassroots organizations, he grew passionate in capturing groups fighting for social justice in their communities. Till this day he often travels to L.A.’s Olvera Street and Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights for inspiration. Through the embrace of his Chicano identity and community involvement, Herrera developed a talent for filmmaking, by documenting the spirit of the people and advocating their struggle.




Program 2
Friday, May 15th 7 PM PST


Edgar, a high school senior in Brooklyn, gets good news.


Director(s): Jose Acevedo
Year:  2019
Length: 9 min
Country: United States




Jose Acevedo is a writer, director and producer who works as Head of Development at Phoebe Robinson’s production company Tiny Reparations. He makes short films under his own banner Angel’s Brother’s Productions. In his free time he looks for the perfect hairless cat to adopt.




SOUND DESIGN Masterclass

 SOUND DESIGN Masterclass Masterclass


Join LALIFF as Emmy Award winning and Academy Award Nominated Paola Magrans dives into the world of Sound Design and shares her philosophy, technique and approach to creating phenomenal soundscapes to our favorite stories. She will discuss her experiences as the Sound Editor of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and as Sound Designer of The Last Rafter, as well as her approach, concept and challenges of working within a large or small budget.


Paola Magrans

In 2013 Paola graduated with a B.A. in Sound for Film and Television from the University of Arts, Cuba. With two feature films under her belt, Paola moved to the U.S. first working as a live broadcasting mixer, receiving a Los Angeles EMMY AWARD for Kobe Bryant’s last game. She went back to sound postproduction in TV shows like BETTER CALL SAUL and OZARK, winning a GOLDEN REEL award with the latter. Under the mentorship of 9 times ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED Wylie Stateman, Paola integrated the sound team of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, earning ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS for both Sound Editing and Mixing. Paola’s most recent work as Sound Designer is the independent film The Last Rafter, that premiered at the Miami Film Festival.

Music Composition Masterclass

Music Composition Masterclass

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Join LALIFF Connect as we host Music Composers, Producers, and Songwriters currently working in the Film and TV landscape. This panel will discuss the influence behind these talented musicians and artists and how their unique perspectives have influenced their music and projects. We will cover their inspirations and music creation process, and how they work closely with productions to craft unique sounds that supports the storytelling.


Alexis de la Rocha

LALIFF Managing Director

Alexis de la Rocha is a first generation Latinx artist, musician, director, music supervisor and proud advocate of the arts. Whether she is directing and curating Latinx talent as the Managing Director of LALIFF and LALIFF Music, songwriting and creating visuals for her music, bringing life to inanimate objects with Viva La Puppet, performing at community workshops for Center Theatre Group, or creating events like MorrisseyOke (featured on CNN, NPR, New York Times), Alexis consistently generates exciting platforms for artistic expression. She is known for hosting, producing, reporting and writing for national networks such as LATV, SiTV and Live Nation. She has received critical acclaim from the LA Times and the LA Weekly for her standout theatrical performances with the Latino Theatre Company and has been praised by Consequence of Sound, The Bay Bridged and Rolling Stone for her dynamic musical displays at SXSW, Snow Globe Music Festival, Pride (Los Angeles & San Diego), KABOO, Treefort and more. As a proud woman of color, Alexis believes in the importance of sharing her art, music and story and is fired up to continue bringing people together to celebrate our human experiences through our art.

Elik Alvarez


Elik Álvarez is a Venezuelan-born composer based in Los Angeles. He has managed to capture audiences worldwide with his unique sounding compositions for over 70 films, televisions series, and documentaries. A dynamic artist molded by traditional concert music, modern styles, and Latin-inspired rhythms, he is committed to bring exciting innovations to each and every project he works on. Elik has scored several of the latest Sir DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’s groundbreaking mini-series, including the LUMIERE Award winner and BAFTA nominated CONQUEST OF THE SKIES 3D, IMAX GALAPAGOS: Nature’s Wonderland and KINGDOM OF PLANTS 3D, which won Best Documentary Score at the 2013 INTERNATIONAL FILM MUSIC FESTIVAL PROVINCIA DE CORDOVA. His many episodic TV credits include, the 2019 International EMMY Awards Nominee AL OTRO LADO DEL MURO, ROBERT REDFORD’s AMERICA. THE BEAUTIFUL, INTO ALASKA, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and THE YUGIOH ANIME SERIES.

Some of Elik’s recent film scores include the anime film YUGIOH!: THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS, both installments of PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS (PAPITA, MANI, TOSTON), one of the biggest box office films in Venezuela (only third to Titanic and Maleficent), the documentary feature LIFE IN THE DOGHOUSE released in the US theaters in Fall of 2018, and the documentary feature HARRY & SNOWMAN described by IndieWire as “A cinematic boutique to the world…” released in theaters in Fall of 2016.

Elik has written music for many TV specials featured on the Discovery Channel, such as Shark Week Special OCEAN OF FEAR narrated by RICHARD DREYFUSS. In addition to his others film and TV works, Alvarez wrote the music for the BUNDESLIGA official 2015 season opener at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which was performed in front of more than 67,000 people. He has also composed music for video games and theatre.

Elik attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music where he received several scholarships and awards, including the Georges Delerue Awared, for his outstanding achievement in Film Scoring Major. In 2000, Elik graduated with the highest honor, Summa Cum Laude, and was chosen to compose and conduct his own music with a 48-piece orchestra at the awards ceremony for the Professional Writing Division.

Elik is the co-founder, owner and lead composer of MusicMind, a fast growing music company that offers exceptionally handcrafted music tailored specifically for film, television, and other visual media. MusicMind’s music has been linked to multiple successful TV series, films and documentaries shown all around the world MusicMind offers easy access to more than 15,000 tracks from “MMT Music Library”, ensuring high quality and usability of the music. Even with tight turnarounds and high volume demands.

Tony Morales


Tony Morales is an EMMY®-nominated composer who has traversed the worlds of drama, animation, comedy and documentary for both television and film. He is known for his music on the Netflix original series ‘Bloodline’, Disney’s ‘Elena Of Avalor’ for which he received multiple Daytime EMMY nominations as well as an Annie Award nomination and the hit CBS show ‘Scorpion’.

Morales began his career as a composer within Hans Zimmer’s Media Ventures in 1998. As an additional music composer & arranger, he soon found himself working with and learning from some of the top film composers including Harry Gregson-Williams, John Debney and Brian Tyler, contributing to such scores as “Iron Man 3”, “Fast Five”, “Unstoppable”, “The Town”, and “The Change-Up”.

In 2012 Morales earned his first Primetime EMMY nomination for the mini- series “Hatfields & McCoys” (co-composed with John Debney). 

Recent projects include the 30 For 30 documentary “The Dominican Dream,” which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, and the independent feature film “Wish Man.” His upcoming projects include “The Fugitive” and “Benedict Men”, both set to premier on Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi later this year.

Carl Thiel

Composer & Producer

Carl Thiel is an award-winning composer and producer who splits time between Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

Born into a European family and raised in Mexico City, he was exposed to a wide variety of cultural experiences and musical styles from a very early age. Immersed in the huge metropolis, it was impossible for young Thiel to escape the colorful variety of Mexican music present at every corner, ranging from songs of traditional artists to all the folk and pre-Hispanic sounds and melodies that live at the heart of Mexican culture.

Thiel studied music beginning at age six, earning high honors in high school and later attending the University of Texas where he pursued a degree in Radio, TV & Film. During this time he also took courses in electronic music, collaborated with pop/ rock bands, and worked as a commercial composer.

By the early 2000s, Thiel’s work attracted the attention of film director Robert Rodriguez, who hired Carl to produce the theme song for his second Spy Kids film. This marked the beginning of a unique musical journey and creative collaboration that continues to this date. Robert’s ‘outside-the-box’ approach to production has had a significant influence on Carl’s creative process.

Thiel’s recent projects include: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, the highly acclaimed independent feature The Teller and the Truth, Rooster Teeth’s sci-fi comedy Lazer Team 2, and Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy. He was recently honored with an Annie Award nomination for his score for Seis Manos, an exciting new Netflix original Animé series, created by Viz and Powerhouse Animation, the same team that brought you Castlevania.

Maria Vertiz

Composer & Producer

Maria was born in Mexico City to a family of musicians. Her dad introduced her to the world of scoring from a young age at his studio, where she scored her first gig at 13 with a song for the film The Greatest Miracle. After that, her career started taking off.

She is a composer, producer, and songwriter who creates music filled with ethnic sounds, atmospheric ideas, and structural concepts from different eras. She believes in creating parallel universes through music, using a combination of world music and ethereal sounds. She was awarded best composition at the GEMS Film Scoring Workshop by composer Chris Young (The Grudge, Spiderman, etc), Gary Schyman (Bioshock, Torn, etc) and orchestrator Pete Anthony (Us, The Hunger Games, etc). Maria graduated with honors from the Film Scoring Program at Berklee College of Music.

She was invited to collaborate on upcoming feature John Henry, starring Ludacris and Terry Crews, by Will Forbes and Carlos Morales. She later joined Illuminating Music Group, which is a ground-breaking team of seven award-winning female music composers with whom she continues working.

Aside from her film-scoring career, she has also placed music and worked with renowned artists such as Monsieur Perine, Vazquez Sounds, Nicole Zignago, Camila Fernandez and Peche.

Maria currently resides in Los Angeles, where she works with and is mentored by 8-time OSCAR nominee and Emmy winner James Newton Howard (King Kong, Batman, etc.) and Chris Westlake (Castle Rock, Before we go, etc.).

Nightlife Curation in the Latinx World Masterclass

Nightlife Curation in the Latinx World Masterclass

Saturday, May 9th at 1PM PST

Cumbiatón is an integral cultural movement which utilizes music and art as a vessel to heal and uplift oppressed hood communities. Join Cumbiatón as they share their collective experiences, inspirations, and what it takes to create dynamic events unlike any other for our community. We will dive into the influence behind these talented musicians, artists, and activists and how their unique lenses have shaped their nightlife curation in the Latinx world.


Founded by Dj Sizzle Fantastic and Normz la Oaxaqueña, Cumbiatón has rooted itself in the beautiful barrio of Boyle Heights, CA and has branched out to cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. Cumbiaton’s vision in all 4 cities is to center womxn and queer people of color both on the dance floor and in the Dj booth. We center our collective experiences to create events by us, for us. We do this because la Cumbia es Cultura.


DJ Sizzle Fantastic

Director, Resident DJ

Sizzle Fantastic is a DJ and event curator, born en la Costa de Guerrero, MX and raised in Boyle Heights, CA. Dj Sizzle Fantastic holds residencies all throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. You can find her on Instagram and Soundcloud to say up to date with her shows

Julio Salgado

Resident Illustrator

Julio Salgado is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift.com and project manager for CultureStrike. His status as an undocumented, queer artivist has fueled the contents of his visual art, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act and migrant rights movement. Salgado travels around the country working on various visual art projects and giving art lectures about his work. Salgado is Cumbiaton’s house illustrator and creates all the colorful artwork for the flyers.

Songwriting Masterclass

Songwriting Masterclass

Friday, May 29, 2020 at 6:30PM PT

Join LALIFF Connect as Jarina de Marco takes us through her songwriting process, her inspiration, and what it takes to get placement on hit shows like VIDA. She will let us in on her tips of the trade, lessons learned throughout her years of experience,: and how you too can create fantastic compositions.


Jarina de Marco

Artist, Musician, Songwriter

Jarina De Marco is of Dominican and Brazilian descent and her sound embodies the multi-ethnic future. Her work defiantly transcends categories and borders. She is a creative visionary who sings in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French) and spearheads all aspects of her project: songwriting, production, visual design and video direction.

Her music has been supported by the STARZ breakthrough hit series VIDA. The trailer featured her song “Release The Hounds” which was written in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock. Episode 3 of VIDA starts with De Marco’s “Tigre” playing full blast during a highly publicized Latin queer sex scene, as covered by Vulture among other outlets. The new HBO series, Euphoria, also has also featured Jarina’s music in their first season. Her debut 6-song EP, Malcriada, was released in August of 2019.

As an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and human/gender equality, Jarina’s music is a unique blend of global consciousness and global rhythms. She simultaneously supports the message of resistance, while creating a colorful sound entirely her own.

Say You Will

Say You Will

Program 1
Sunday, May 10th 5 PM PST



Following his release from the juvenile hall at fourteen, Jeovany “Jeo” Salgado finds out he is subject to a gang injunction – a secretive law enforcement tool that will follow him for the rest of his life. Fast forward to fourteen years later, his mother and youngest brother unveil Jeo’s chronicle and how their three lives were shaped by the enduring abuse of the criminal justice system in the United States.


Director(s): Mariel Sosa
Year: 2019
Length: 18 min
Country: United States





Mariel Sosa is a Peruvian Director and Photographer. She completed a Bachelor degree in Film Production and Art History at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Her experience as a woman in the industry has allowed her to dig deeper into portraying stories that encircle marginalized and underrepresented communities. “Say You Will” (2020) is her latest short film.