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Latinx Stories Take Over LALIFF’s 2019 Film Slate with World Premiere Screenings and Landmark Projects

Reflecting the Latino Film Institute’s commitment to championing and providing spaces for Latinx talent—those born and/or raised in the United States with Latino heritage—the recently announced slate of feature films, shorts, and episodic content to screen at the 2019 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) focuses predominantly on these experiences often neglected by film festivals and the industry at large.

Opening night will see the LA Premiere of the formally stunning and timely hybrid film “The Infiltrators” by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera, which combines fictionalized sequences with documentary footage to tell the incredible story of a group of undocumented youth who banded together against a for-profit detention center. Their clever tactics are a testament to the strength that comes from community, which is also a core notion of the messaging LALIFF is promoting.

New Latinx voices are poised to dazzle audiences with their powerful first features addressing diverse topics relevant to our people and beyond. Chelsea Hernandez’s documentary “Building the American Dream” dives deep into the precarious conditions faced by immigrant workers, Daniel Fermin Pfeffer’s “I’ll See You Around” is a drama centered on an African-American striving to improve his life against adverse circumstances, and Diana Peralta’s “De Lo Mío” deals with two sisters caught up between their life in NYC and the Dominican Republic, where their brother lives.

With more credits under their belt, seasoned Latinx talents are also bringing their latest works to LALIF. Rashaad Ernesto Green, who’s had a successful career in television over the past few years, will present his second feature, romantic Harlem-set tale “Premature.” Adding an edgy vibe to the festival, Daniel Garcia and directing partner Rania Attieh are having the West Coast Premiere of their new work “Initials S.G.,” which takes the duo to Argentina for a story about an aging actor with delusions of grandeur.

While Latinx stories are taking a big part of the spotlight this year, Latin American storytellers are also present at LALIFF via some of the most notable works to emerge from the region over the last year.

Entrancing Brazilian dystopia “Divine Love,” from acclaimed auteur Gabriel Mascaro, explores a future where religion has infiltrated secular society in disturbingly pervasive ways. It’s a thought-provoking vision of a country currently undergoing a peculiar political moment. On a more intimate scale, Uruguayan director Lucía Garibaldi’s debut feature “The Sharks” uses mass panic and unassuming danger to convey a coming-of-age narrative where a complex female protagonist discovering desire in a small town.

Highlighting Latinx and Latin American art, as well as the intersections between them, a trio of fantastic biographical documentaries will celebrate some of our greatest talents in multiple disciplines: “Raúl Julia: The World’s a Stage,” honors the Puerto Rican who left his mark in Hollywood, “Carlos Almaraz: Playing with Fire” dissects the complicated life of the Chicano activist and artist, while “Siqueiros: Walls of Passion” explores how the singular Mexican painter became a symbol for the Chicano movement.

Prolific globetrotting filmmaker Michael Flores spearheads the shorts programs with two distinct works, one is a bit-size biopic of late narcocorrido star Chalino Sanchez and the other, “The Bell,” takes Flores to El Salvador for a heartfelt drama about displaced people.

A variety of genres and stylistic approaches are featured across the two collections of shorts screening at LALIFF this year, all of which have in common the utter authenticity of the experiences portrayed that find universality in their specificity. From Jessica Mendez Siqueiros’ food-related dramedy “Pozole,” to Chicana filmmaker Lizette Barrera’s friendship story “Chicle,” Cuban-born director Gabriela Garcia Medina’s delightful period piece “Little Con Lili,” or Victor Hugo Duran take on masculinity in “Figueroa.”

As television becomes a major platform for stories by people of color to enter the mainstream, LALIFF’s episodic slate includes several pilots showcasing up-and-coming creators.

The Latino Film Institute’s very own Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez, who’s served as a mentor for the Youth Cinema Project, will debut his comedy project “Stoned Breakups” about a writer’s romantic mishaps. On a similar vein, writer-director David Tripler will present “South of Sunset: Fake Mexicans,” a narrative following a Mexican-American writer as he embarks on a journey to understand his own identity. Also notable, is the docu-series “Werq the World: Valentina,” following the Latina star who became a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” sensation.

As previously revealed, the organization LatinX in Animation, which recently joined the Latino Film Institute, will be present at LALIFF through a masterclass with important figures working in the animation industry: Pilar Flynn, producer of “Elena of Avalor,” Miguel Jiron, story artist for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Niki López, creator and producer of “Santiago of the Seas,” Silvia Olivas, executive producer and head writer of “Maya and the Three,” and Eric Robles, co-creator and executive producer of “Glitch Techs.”

Put together by seasoned Sundance programmer and LALIFF’s Director of Programming Dilcia Barrera, the film and episodic programs for the 2019 edition are bold, original, and above all true to the diverse voices that comprise the Latinx community.



LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2019 – Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos today announced the music program that will be featured at the 2019 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). Highlighting diverse and extraordinary Latinx artists for festival attendees, performances will take place Wednesday, July 31 – Sunday, August 4 at The Roosevelt Theatre in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Opening night, Wednesday, July 31, will feature salsa and cumbia with performances by La Mera Candelaria and Sizzle Fantastic at 10pm following the Opening Night gala screening of The Infiltrators at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Thursday, August 1 will feature drag, indie, alt R&B and disco with performances by Hummingbird Meadows, Gemma Castro, Loyal Lobos, August Eve and DJ Vick Jagger at 9pm.

Friday, August 2 will feature synth, electronic, booty shakin’ dance with performances by Walker, Alexis de la Rocha, Jarina De Marco and José Galván at 9pm.

Saturday, August 3 will feature hip hop, R&B and reggaeton with performances by Carlos Figz, Kablito, Jesse Baez, and TIMBALERX at 9pm.

Closing night, Sunday, August 4, will feature indie rock, reggae, afro Colombian, salsa and Cumbia with performances by Triangle Fire, Toni Tee & Liquid Wisdom, Yanga, Linda Nuves of Chulita Vinyl Club at 7:45pm.

Tickets for the Opening Night Celebration include the Opening Night presentation of Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s The Infiltrators, which won the Audience Award: NEXT and The NEXT Innovator Prize at Sundance, the post screening party featuring live performances from by La Mera Candelaria and Sizzle Fantastic at The Roosevelt Theatre at the Roosevelt Hotel. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased www.latinofilm.org.

Festival goers will be able to attend the nightly performances from Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4 for free with a screening ticket from that day or for those that only want to attend the music performances, all-access music series passes are available for $75 and individual passes for a single night entry are available for $20 before July 25.

“Our vision for LALIFF Music is to promote and celebrate brilliant Latinx musicians, DJs and artists,” said Alexis de la Rocha, Music Supervisor for LALIFF. “As the largest Latinx film festival to take place in Los Angeles, we are able to provide a tremendous platform to highlight diverse independent acts who are not only creating spectacular sounds, but who are changing the way the world views Latinx performers.”

For the LALIFF full programming slate and schedule please visit www.latinofilm.org.


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.

Follow LALIFF on social media:

Media Contact:
Johanna Calderon-Dakin
[email protected]

2019 LALIFF Sponsors:

Premiere Sponsor: Youth Cinema Project
Presenting Sponsor: Egeda, Premios Platino
Opening Night Sponsor: AltaMed

LALIFF Legacy Presenter: Creative Artists Agency (CAA), HBO COLLABS
LALIFF Legacy Sponsors: High Performance Learning Environments, Garcia Hernadez Sawhney Law, LLP

Industry Day Presenter: HBO COLLABS
Industry Day Sponsors: NBCUniversal, CBS, WarnerMedia

Presenting Media Sponsors: Univision, CNN en Español
Media Sponsors: LA Times en Español, Hoy Los Angeles, Remezcla

Official Sponsors: Coca Cola, Go Metro

Industry Sponsors: Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Official Airlines Sponsor: Delta Airlines/Aeromexico

Animation Masterclass Presenter: LatinX in Animation
Animation Masterclass Sponsor: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Sneak Peek: Latinx TV Sponsor: Stage 13

Official DCP Sponsor: FotoKem

LALIFF Music Tequila Sponsor: Ruiseñor Tequila

Guild Sponsors: SAG-AFTRA, WGAW

Community Partners: Hollywood & Highland, Final Draft, Poquito Mas, Gilbert’s El Indio, Fujifilm, Nabor Wines, Kabazon Premium Waters, LIMA, Pero Like





LOS ANGELES, CA July 9, 2019 – Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos today announced the program that will be featured at the 2019 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) which runs Wednesday, July 31 through Sunday, August 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatres.  As the largest Latinx film festival to be hosted in Los Angeles, this year the festival will shine a spotlight on US-born Latinx filmmakers. This year’s program includes 15 features, 17 shorts, five episodics, two special events and two Latinx podcasts live from the festival.

This year’s program will open with Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s The Infiltrators, which won the Audience Award: NEXT and The NEXT Innovator Prize at Sundance earlier this year.  The film, a mixture of documentary and narrative, focuses on a real-life rag-tag group of undocumented youth – Dreamers – that get deliberately detained by Border Patrol in order to infiltrate a shadowy, for-profit detention center. The film is a suspenseful telling of this high-stakes mission – a little-known chapter in American activism, and a rare insider experience of a for-profit immigrant detention center, an institution that is rapidly expanding across the American landscape.

The Infiltrators represents everything LALIFF aspires to be – a film for our U.S. community by our U.S. community with international ramifications,” said LALIFF co-founder Edward James Olmos.  “The film was made by a Latinx duo and focuses on the real-life story of undocumented youth that sacrificed everything to help others like them being held inside migrant detention centers. Nothing can be more timely.”

The festival program is comprised of 15 feature films including three World Premieres, with ten of the features helmed by women.  In addition to The Infiltrators, the section includes Building the American Dream (directed by Chelsea Hernandez), Carlos Almaraz: Playing with Fire (directed by Elsa Flores Almaraz and Richard J. Montoya), Councilwoman (directed by Margo Guernsey), De Lo Mio (directed by Diana Peralta), Divine Love (directed by Gabriel Mascaro), the World Premiere of I’ll See You Around (directed by Daniel Fermin Pfeffer), Initials S. G. (directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia), Midnight Family (directed by Luke Lorentzen), Pahokee (directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan), Premature (directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green), the World Premiere of Raúl Julia: The World’s a Stage (directed by Ben DeJesus), Sick Sick Sick (directed by Alice Furtado), the World Premiere of Siqueiros: Walls of Passion (directed by Lorena Manriquez) and The Sharks (directed by Los Tiburones and Lucia Garibaldi).

“This year’s program redefines what a Latinx story is,” said Dilcia Barrera, Director of Programming.  “The diversity in voice, aesthetic and vision propels our narratives beyond clichés and conventions.  I am certain that the next generation of storytellers can be found within this group of talented artists.”

The program also includes a shorts program comprised of 17 shorts including four World Premieres and five episodics, plus two special events, Latinx in Animation: A Masterclass and Sneak Peek: Latinx TVLatinx in Animation: A Masterclass will feature some of the most influential creators and producers of upcoming animated projects discussing their influences and how their unique perspectives help bring their projects to life.  The discussion will be moderated by Remezcla’s film and television editor, Vanessa Erazo.  Sneak Peek: Latinx TV will give the audience a preview of two highly anticipated TV shows, The CW’s Two Sentence Horror Stories and Netflix’s Gentefied.  Written in part by some of the most exciting new Latinx voices in television today including Stephanie Adams-Santos, Linda Yvette Chavez and Marvin Lemus, the event will be moderated by Gadiel Del Orbe from BuzzFeed’s Pero Like and is presented by Stage 13.

Additionally, there will be two live podcast conversations from the festival, Latina Representation Podcast and Latinx Podcast.  The first on TV Latina representation features Locatora Radio, with hosts Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz, both who are podcast trailblazers in the Latinx community. They will lead a conversation on Latina representation on television with TV writer, Moises Zamora, Writer and Executive Producer of the up-and-coming Netflix series, Selena, and writer/director Aurora Guerrero.  The second, Latinx Podcast, is focused on media criticism by Espoilers Podcast, featuring hosts StephOH and Rubén Angel. They will lead a conversation on Latinx coming-of-age stories with TV and film writer, Eddie Gonzalez, co-creator of Netflix’s hit TV show, On My Block.

 LALIFF will also offer special screenings including Les Blank’s Chulas Fronteras (1976), marking the Los Angeles premiere of the 4K restoration, and a screening of Ascent of Weavers, 3-channel video piece a by artist, Rebeca Mendez as part of LALIFF Art.

 LALIFF Legacy, LALIFF’s student festival, returns for its second year.  LALIFF Legacy will feature films produced by students of the statewide, public school film program, the Youth Cinema Project, which was also founded by Olmos. This two-day event is presented by CAA and HBO COLLABS, and will feature 93 student produced short films, along with 30 student filmmaker panelists, who range from elementary school, middle school and high school students.

Youth Cinema Project is the Premiere Sponsor of LALIFF, Egeda and Premios Platino are the Presenting Sponsors and AltaMed is the Opening Night Sponsor, with additional festival sponsors listed below.


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 https://latinofilm.org.
For more information on the Youth Cinema Project visit https://youthcinemaproject.org.

Follow LALIFF on social media:

  • Instagram: @laliff_
  • Twitter: @laliff
  • Facebook: com/laliff

Media Contact:
Johanna Calderon-Dakin
[email protected]

LALIFF Program

Features (15)

Building the American Dream – Three immigrant families facing the deadliest working conditions in the USA, rise up to seek justice and equality in the Texas construction industry. Directed by Chelsea Hernandez (USA)

 Carlos Almaraz: Playing with Fire – This stunning documentary explores the brief, rich, and contradictory life of the artist Carlos Almaraz: a Chicano activist, sexual outlaw, and visionary painter of some of the most unforgettable images of southern California. Directed by Elsa Flores Almaraz & Richard J. Montoya (USA)

Councilwoman – A hotel housekeeper has won a City Council seat in Providence, RI. Energized to advocate for low-income workers, her stamina for politics is put to the test. Directed by Margo Guernsey (USA)

De Lo Mío – An achingly alive look at cherishing the past while learning to let go. Directed by Diana Peralta (USA)

Divine Love – Brazil, 2027. A deeply religious woman uses her position in a notary’s office to advance her mission to save struggling couples from divorce. Whilst waiting for a sign in recognition of her efforts, she’s confronted with a crisis in her own marriage that ultimately brings her closer to God. Directed by Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil/Uruguay, Chile, Denmark, Norway, Sweden)

I’ll See You Around – Lucas struggles to break the cycle of addiction gripping his family and risks losing everyone he loves if he can’t learn to forgive. Directed by Daniel Fermin Pfeffer (USA)

Initials S.G. – Down on his luck, an aging Serge Gainsbourg wannabe struggles with an acting career he can’t seem to get on track, an affair he doesn’t want, and a crime he didn’t mean to commit. Directed by Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia (USA/Argentina/Lebanon)

Midnight Family – In Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. Directed by Luke Lorentzen (Mexico)

Pahokee – In a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, hopes for the future are concentrated on the youth. Four teens face heartbreak and celebrate in the rituals of an extraordinary senior year. Directed by Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan (USA)

Premature – The summer before she leaves for college, Ayanna meets handsome and mysterious outsider Isaiah; her entire world is turned upside down as she navigates the demanding terrain of young love against a changing Harlem landscape. Directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green (USA)

Raúl Julia: The World’s a StageRaúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage examines the life and career of the inspiring entertainer, Raúl Juliá. The feature documentary is a revealing portrait of the charismatic actor, who earned recognition across the world for his versatility on stage and on screen before his life was tragically cut short. From his early days on local stages in Puerto Rico to stardom on Broadway and in Hollywood, Raúl’s story is one of passion, determination, and a bit of magic – all qualities for which his performances were known. Directed by Ben DeJesus (USA)

Sick Sick Sick – Silvia and Artur’s teenage-romance starts abruptly and ends up all of sudden after a serious accident. Silvia gets sick and her days turn into dark. Her mourning becomes an obsessive quest to bring him back to life. Directed by Alice Furtado (Brazil)

Siqueiros: Walls of Passion – A documentary film about revolutionary Mexican visual artist David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) and the resurrection of his Los Angeles mural AMÉRICA TROPICAL, located at the birthplace of Los Angeles and later championed by the Chicano movement as a symbol of its oppressed culture.  Directed by Lorena Manriquez (USA)

The Inflitrators – A rag-tag group of undocumented youth deliberately get themselves detained in order to infiltrate a shadowy for-profit detention center. Directed by Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera (USA)

The Sharks – While reports of shark sightings create panic in a small beach town, 14-year-old Rosina begins to circle her own prey as her intense attraction to an older co-worker grows. Directed by Lucía Garibaldi (Uruguay/Argentina/Spain)

Shorts (17)

And the Brave Shall RiseRooted in the newfound strength of a movement led by stay-at-home moms, one woman decides to run for office in a grass-roots effort to honor her son and family. Directed by Adam Schlachter.  (USA)

 Chalino Inspired by the life, music, and murder of Chalino Sanchez, an immigrant in Los Angeles becomes an international sensation as the King of Narco Music. Directed by Michael Flores.  (USA)

Chicle (Gum) An ill-tempered teenager attempts to find peaceful solitude on the day of her grandfather’s passing until an estranged friend pays her a visit.  Directed by Lizette Barrera.  (USA)

Cuco “Hydrocodone”Hydrocodone is a music video dedicated to the memory of our past selves and the longing of who we have yet to become as we grow older, visualized as an abstract journey through a young man’s (Cuco’s) experiences when confronting death. Directed by Jazmin Garcia.  USA.

Figueroa – When his younger brother loses a fight, a teenage boy tries to teach his little brother about manhood, only to face an event that threatens to shatter their world altogether.  Directed by Victor Hugo Duran.  (USA)

Little con Lili – LILI, is a 10-year-old Cuban-American girl who should be doing her homework, but instead, decides to enjoy a leisurely afternoon, home alone, eating all her favorite foods, and listening to her favorite band, Air Supply.  Directed by Gabriela Garcia Medina.  (USA)

Pozole When Maia sets out to reconnect with her traditional Mexican roots on her Nana’s 100th birthday, things go terribly wrong.  Directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros.  (USA)

Raptor Ariel gets involved in a teenager civil arrest of a guy is accused of stealing a phone. Directed by Felipe Gálvez.  (Chile)

Sebastian An emigrating father writes home to his son.  Directed by Sam Fragoso.  (USA)

Simon CriesSimon, wrecked by a love sorrow, overflows with sadness.  Directed by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento.  (Belgium)

Skaya Sergio Ramirez builds a basketball and academics program that empowers a generation of kids in the north western mountains of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Directed by Gabriel Noquez.  (USA)

Suicidrag The Mexican group of drag queens Suicidrag streak the streets and nightclubs of Mexico City to raise awareness about the gender stereotype imposed by the consumer society.  (Mexico)

The Bell A young woman in El Salvador wishes to hear the village bell before she joins a caravan to the US, but the antique bell hasn’t rung in 25 years and there is only one man left that can repair it: a drunkard that lives in the cemetery.  Directed by Michael Flores.  (El Salvador)

The Bony Lady – Arely Vazquez, an immigrant and transgender woman, overcomes prejudices and breaks tabus as she fulfills her vows to the Skeleton Saint.  Directed by Adriana Barbosa. (USA/Brazil/Mexico)

To Be QueenIn Luling, the “toughest town in Texas”, two Latina high school girls compete to be the next watermelon thump queen.  Directed by Farihah Zaman & Jeff Reichert. (USA)

Unlucky’s Luck – On his 63rd birthday, Pellito receives a ticket for the Fortune’s Raffle, an almost surreal lottery that comes into town. Directed by Felipe Holguin Caro.  (Colombia)

Water WarriorWater Warrior is a short film about Latina surfers and why seeing yourself in the sport you love matters. (USA)

Episodic (5)

South of Sunset: Fake Mexicans – After an Executive tells Mexican-American writer DJ Banks his writing isn’t authentic, and with the help of his comedic cousins, DJ sets his day on rediscovering his cultural authenticity by re-connecting with an old Mexican-American lady friend that ends up in disaster.  Directed by David Tripler. (USA)

Stoned Breakups – Writer Daniel f. Pérez gets really high and opens up about a tragic east coast romance and breakup as a group of sober comedians reenact it. Directed by Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez. (USA)

THE BIBLE: The Sacrifice of Isaac – An extremely Biblically accurate retelling of the Binding of Isaac. Directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp (USA)

Unimundo 45 – When the anti-immigrant candidate wins the presidency, a jaded Latina news producer sheds her cynicism and reconnects with her suppressed activist side—on live TV.  Directed by Thembi Banks.  (USA)

Werq the World: Valentina – Werq the World: Valentina follows the enigmatic Miss Congeniality (or fan favorite) of RuPaul’s drag race Season 9 as she tries to keep up with the fast pace and intense hustle of an international tour. Directed by Jasper Rischen.  (USA)

Special Events

 Latinx in Animation:  A Masterclass featuring panelists Pilar Flynn, the producer of Avalor, Miguel Jiron, the director of Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham and Story Artist for Spider-Man:  Into the Spider-Verse, Niki Lopez, the creator and producer of Santiago of the Seas, Silvia Olivas, executive producer and head writer of Maya and the Three and Eric Robles, co-creator and executive producer of Glitch Techs, moderated by Vanessa Erazo, film and television editor at Remezcla.  This animation masterclass will reveal the influences behind these talented artists, writers and creators, and how their unique perspectives help bring their projects to life.

Sneak Peek:  Latinx TV with Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chavez, the co-creators of Netflix’s Gentefied and Stephanie Adams – Santos, the writer for Two Sentence Horror Stories on the CW, moderated by Gadiel Del Orbe, the digital content creator of Buzzfeed’s Pero Like.  This panel is presented by Stage 13.

Latina Representation Podcast with Latinx podcast trailblazers, Locatora Radio, featuring hosts Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz.  They will lead a conversation on Latina representation on television with TV writer, Moises Zamora, Writer and Executive Producer of the up-and-coming Netflix series, Selena, and writer/director Aurora Guerrero.

Latinx Podcast focused on media criticism by Espoilers Podcast, featuring hosts StephOH and Rubén Angel.  They will lead a conversation on Latinx coming-of-age stories with TV and film writer, Eddie Gonzalez, co-creator of Netflix’s hit TV show, On My Block.

2019 LALIFF Sponsors:

Premiere Sponsor: Youth Cinema Project
Presenting Sponsor: Egeda, Premios Platino
Opening Night Sponsor: AltaMed

LALIFF Legacy Presenter: Creative Artists Agency (CAA), HBO COLLABS
LALIFF Legacy Sponsors: High Performance Learning Environments, Garcia Hernandez Sawhney Law, LLP

Industry Day Presenter: HBO COLLABS
Industry Day Sponsors: NBCUniversal, CBS, WarnerMedia

Presenting Media Sponsors: Univision, CNN en Español
Media Sponsors: LA Times en Español, Hoy Los Angeles, Remezcla

Official Sponsors: Coca Cola, Go Metro

Industry Sponsors: Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Official Airlines Sponsor: Delta Airlines/Aeromexico

Animation Masterclass Presenter: LatinX in Animation
Animation Masterclass Sponsor: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Sneak Peek: Latinx TV Sponsor: Stage 13

Official DCP Sponsor: FotoKem

Guild Sponsors: SAG-AFTRA, WGAW

Community Partners: Hollywood & Highland, Final Draft, Poquito Mas, Gilbert’s El Indio, Fujifilm, Nabor Wines, Kabazon Premium Waters, LIMA, Pero Like

LALIFF’s Volunteers Find Community and Inclusion While Supporting the Fight for Latino Representation

Since its inception, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) has thrived thanks to the support of countless individuals who believe in its mission as a bastion for Latino representation. LALIFF is an event powered by community, and as such the role of its volunteers carries immeasurable significance. In short, the festival wouldn’t function without them.

Last year, upon the festival’s return from hiatus, a new generation of cinema lovers, emerging artists, and committed supporters in general had the chance to be part of the LALIFF family as volunteers. Though their help in a variety of positions regarding the operations of the event is crucial, volunteers also benefit from the creative environment and inclusivity that define the festival.

Take the case of actress Graciela Campos, for example, who joined LALIFF’s band of volunteers in 2018 and was able to “meet many creative Latinx people, and also learned a lot about the business.” Her genuine dedication and openness made her an invaluable member of the team. Floating around multiple tasks, Campos soaked in the experience and engaged not only with other members of the staff, but also audiences, and guests.

“As an actor I love being in that atmosphere,” added Campos. “I learned that a good attitude will get you a long way. Just being genuine and helpful will work in your favor. It’s not about rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. It’s about community and people can see where your intentions are. Good intentions get you in doors.”

For Valentina D’Agostini, a student at Marymount Manhattan College, it was the vision behind the festival and all of the Latino Film Institute’s initiatives and the change they are trying to enact that enticed her to be a part of it.

“One thing I learned at LALIFF is how important it is that we continue to work on and be in discussion about the lack of inclusivity in the entertainment industry,” said D’Agostini. “On top of being a cool event to be involved with, LALIFF is about promoting culture and Latinx representation in media which is something I would consider myself passionate about. “

Following the fantastic and welcoming experience she had during her first year, D’Agostini is returning to volunteer at LALIFF 2019 this summer, and her continued involvement is proof that everyone in the team immediately becomes part of a likeminded group pushing forward for our collective advancement.

“The number one thing about the organization that made me want to come back and volunteer is the people! I got to meet so many incredibly talented and kind people that immediately made me feel at home. I felt like I was surrounded by family the entire time,” added D’Agostini.

Along the same lines, for student Randy Cruz, who’s starting this fall at CSUN, joining LALIFF’s volunteer force represented a sort of homecoming as she tried to navigate the ins and outs of the entertainment business. “Being a Latina trying to find my place in the film industry, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like or where to go, but I’m so happy to have found LALIFF and become part of the team and meet so many amazing people,” said Cruz.

LALIFF became an open space for Cruz to feel connected to a larger community of Latinos in the industry, so much that she didn’t think twice about returning once again to support the organization. “The feeling of inclusion is amazing at LALIFF and am happy to be coming back for my second year volunteering,” she added.

Beyond an astounding film program, unforgettable musical performances, and networking opportunities for career advancement, LALIFF stands as a unique intersection for all Latino creators and their patrons to engage not only with the art on the screens, but with the issues, yearnings, and shared experiences that concerns us as a community. No one embodies these sentiments of selfless dedication for the good of our people as a whole than the volunteers.

In her own words, Cruz summed it up nicely: “If someone wants to come in and help, allow them. It may seem silly but being in an inclusive place like LALIFF helps spread that sort of mentality. There is a place for everyone if we open up our doors.”

To become a LALIFF volunteer apply here.

LatinX in Animation Joins LFI and Plans Exciting Events for LALIFF 2019

LatinX in Animation Joins LFI and Plans Exciting Events for LALIFF 2019

Expanding its reach into the animation, VFX, and gaming industries, the Latino Film Institute (LFI) has partnered with LatinX in Animation (LXiA), an organization founded in 2018 by Magdiela Hermida Duhamel and Bryan Dimas with the goal of creating a network of Latinx professionals working in these fields.

Over the past few months, thanks in part to its monthly networking events, the group of talented individuals from across multiple studios and a variety of career paths has rapidly grown to become a major player in the fight for representation in media. LatinX in Animation is helping the collective career advancement of our community by building bridges with studios and providing spaces for creators and emerging talents to connect.

By championing and showcasing diverse voices, LXiA hopes to inspire a new generation of artists to pursue careers in animation and related areas.

 “The lack of Latinx voices and diversity in general steams from growing up in a world with only a few animated characters that look like us. Seeing yourself on screen is very powerful to a child and the child in all of us. Not seeing yourself on screen or on a creative, executive or production role subliminally tells your brain that you are not meant to play any of those roles,” said Duhamel regarding the significance of representation.

As their efforts solidified and their membership grew in numbers, Duhamel and Dimas reached out to Rafael Agustin, Executive Director of LFI, to lay out the ground for LXiA to be part of the LFI family. In March 2019, the young organization officially joined the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) and the Youth Cinema Project (YCP) as a Signature Program under the LFI umbrella.

“This opportunity will help our organization in several ways, most importantly becoming part of a non-profit organization that has strong leaders like Edward James Olmos, Rafael Agustin, and the rest of the Board of Directors of LFI,” said Dimas about the union that will enable LXiA to continue flourishing.

LFI will provide LatinX in Animation with an operating budget each the year, which will allow them to implement programs and offer opportunities to its members and beyond that they simply didn’t have the resources to execute before.

As part of LFI, LatinX in Animation will interact with the institute’s other programs to build an ecosystem of mutual support and talent crosspollination.

Starting with LALIFF 2019 (July 31-August 4), LatinX in Animation will be present with two special events: a Q&A panel with an industry guest speaker and an animation workshop. In addition, the group is currently working with Youth Cinema Project to develop an animation curriculum to implement in their program, which provides access to visual storytelling to underserved communities across California.

Details about LXiA’s two programs at LALIFF will be announced in upcoming weeks.

In New Project “Instant Crush” Latinx Filmmaker Chris Carmona Keeps Putting South East LA on Screen

Last year at LALIFF, Chris Carmona, a young Latinx filmmaker from the city of Bell, experienced a powerful moment of validation and fulfillment when his debut feature, “Bad Labor” premiered at the festival in front of an enthusiastic audience.

The film made for just $700 with a group of friends showcases the people and places familiar to the Latino community in Southeast Los Angeles, which are rarely seen on screen. “It’s really humbling how moved people are by the fact that ‘Bad Labor’ got to play last year as part of LALIFF at the Chinese Theater,” said Carmona.

Representing people of color from places often ignored by the entertainment industry is a key part of what motivates him and fuels his storytelling decisions. Following the success of “Bad Labor,” Carmona embarked on an episodic project titled “Instant Crush” for Latino media company MiTú.

Though his idea was originally for another feature-length movie, Carmona adapted the story to MiTú’s preferred format: a web series to debut on their platforms that reach countless millennials. Centered on Cindy (Nisalda Gonzalez) and Andy (Emilio Garcia-Sanchez), the show emanated from the director’s own brushes with complicated romantic love.

The entire series was shot in seven days all over Southeast LA, and the cities of Torrance and Long Beach, remaining true to his philosophy of highlighting unseen places in the Los Angeles County. Originally, the series was supposed to be released as three long episodes, but then these were turned into 6 mini-episodes to facilitate its release.

This was the first time Carmona worked with a sizeable budget and a professional crew, a different experience than the scrappy project he’d made before. Still, while the task was undoubtedly overwhelming, it was equally empowering to know he didn’t have to be in charge of every aspect of the production.

Carmona admits that making “Bad Labor” wasn’t particularly enjoyable because of the level of ambition and limited resources. “The goal this time was to have fun,” he said. Whenever they encountered an issue his approach was to rationalize the problem as an opportunity. His mantra would be: “It’s great that this didn’t work because now we can find a new way to do it.” The prolific artist attributes this new professional outlook to his decision to meditate every morning.

For “Instant Crush,” Carmona brought along his two closest collaborators on “Bad Labor.” Tony Remigio returned as cinematographer, while Jose Martinez, who did sound in the feature, served as first assistant director on the series.

None of them had any formal filmmaking education, but Carmona believes that’s exactly what allows them to be less fearful of approaching the medium freely. They have built a community of likeminded people, just like many aspiring filmmakers do in film school, but don’t have adhere to any dogma. “I’ve become very comfortable with not having the film school limitations on my brain and just doing it,” he said.

Now that his career is starting to take shape in a more significant and professional manner, Carmona understands that his purpose should be to encourage other Latino creators and create spaces for them to be nurtured, just like many others have done for him. It’s not only about entering preexisting circles of power and opportunities, but also about creating their own.

“I don’t see white creators as any different than me, but it shouldn’t be my goal to try to be part of their circle. I got to form my own circle and start bringing people that are brown, that come from my hood, and that want to attain this thing so that they can know it’s real,” he emphatically explained.

Inspired by multi-hyphenates such as Donald Glover, Carmona is making his first professional foray into music this year with the upcoming release of an EP in the summer and a music video over the next few weeks.

Currently, he also co-hosts a podcast called “The Us Podcast” and is writing a lose remake of the troubled and virtually unseen production “Don’s Plum” that originally starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. His version will recast all roles with Latinx teenagers and is expected to begin shooting before the end of the year.

“Instant Crush” is currently available on MiTú’s YouTube Channel.


Festival Which Promotes The Advancement of Latinx Voices To Focus on U.S. Talent Returns July 31-August 4 at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood


CAA, Egeda And AltaMed Confirmed As Sponsors

**Submissions Now Open At LatinoFilm.org **

LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2019 –Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), the premiere international event dedicated to showcasing the entirety of human experience from the Latinx perspective, today announced it is set to return July 31-August 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Co-founded by Academy Award® nominee, Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Stand and Deliver”) and run by Executive Director Rafael Agustin (“Jane The Virgin”), the platform agnostic festival which showcases film, television, digital, music and art – will this year put a major emphasis on U.S. Latinx talent. CAA, Egeda and AltaMed return this year as sponsors.

“LALIFF has become the preeminent destination for Latinx storytellers and this year we want to spotlight our homegrown U.S. community of filmmakers, musicians, students, TV writers, visual artists, digital producers and podcasters,” said festival co-founder Edward James Olmos.

LALIFF is programmed by two leading women with distinct pedigrees: Artistic Director Diana Sanchez (who is an International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival®) and Director of Programming Dilcia Barrera (who is a Programmer, Feature Films at the Sundance Film Festival). Submissions are now open at www.latinofilm.org.

LALIFF returned in 2018 after a five year hiatus, during which the organizers invested efforts in the Youth Cinema Project (YCP), which evolved from the festival’s youth program. YCP produces competent, resilient, and real world problem-solvers and bridges the achievement and opportunity gaps by creating lifelong learners and the entertainment industry’s multicultural future. This year YCP established its first-ever scholarship, which comes with a paid LALIFF internship, for a high school student who has shown great academic improvement and displayed extraordinary filmmaking excellence. This year it will go to a Santa Ana High School student from the Santa Ana Unified School District.

LALIFF and YCP are programs of the Latino Film Institute (LFI), which this year added Dr. Ana-Christina Ramon (co-author of the highly influential Hollywood Diversity Report) to its Board of Directors. She said: “As the largest minority group in the U.S. and one whose buying power outpaces other groups, Latinos are still severely underrepresented in film and TV. My goal is to provide the data necessary to enact meaningful change and motivate those in the industry to make content that is authentic and representative of how the majority of Latinos and other people of color live and work in America.”

To further expand efforts to be in the forefront of our industry, LFI this year has added LatinX In Animation as one of its signature programs. Championing the growth of diversity in animation, the LatinX in Animation team will continue monthly networking events as well as take on developing an Animation curriculum for YCP and building out LALIFF Animation at this year’s festival.


The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) was founded in 1997 by producer, director, actor and activist Edward James Olmos and independent producers, Marlene Dermer, George Hernandez, and Kirk Whisler. LALIFF is a non-profit 501c (3) organization with the mission to support the development and exhibition of diverse visions by Latinx creators. LALIFF brings awareness to the richness and diversity of Latin cultures, artistry and countries through film and other mediums. The festival brings together filmmakers, buyers and distributors serving as a springboard and catalyst for the promotion locally, nationally and internationally. LALIFF also offers industry workshops, panels, labs, networking receptions, educational programs, and hosts some of the best Galas in tinsel town.

For more information and updates on LALIFF visit https://latinofilm.org

For more information on the Youth Cinema Project visit https://youthcinemaproject.org

Follow LALIFF on social media:

Instagram: @laliff_

Twitter: @laliff

Facebook: facebook.com/laliff

Media Contact:

Emily Spence, [email protected]

Taking Stock of LALIFF 2018 as We Set Sights on the 2019 Edition

With an expanded vision aimed at highlighting even more Latinx and Latin American talent than ever before in multiple artistic fields, 2018 marked the stellar return of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF)—an indispensable platform for the appreciation, exhibition, and development of our community’s artistic ambitions at a time when positive representation is truly imperative.

Enhancing the highly-curated film program, new sections including LALIFF Music, featuring emerging acts performing in an intimate setting, and LALIFF Art, which provided a space for creators in other visual disciples to showcase their works, helped the festival evolve into an even more inclusive event with a fresh voice.

Calling LALIFF the Home of Latinx content is no overstatement as it brings together an array of diverse experiences under one roof: from undocumented youth, to local directors, as well as celebrated auteurs from across Ibero-America. Looking at the trajectories of LALIFF 2018 alumni, it’s clear that what the festival is investing in is talent with the potential to reshape the global cinematic landscape, but perhaps more importantly, the way Hollywood represents the Latino identity here at home.

Since last year’s festival, U.S. Latino creators who shared their work with LALIFF’s audiences have gone on to receive incredible recognitions and to participate in even more prominent projects.

Rudy Valdez’s deeply moving documentary The Sentence went on to have a theatrical release in October and later premiered on HBO. This portrait of a family enduring separation because of excessive punishment is at once hopeful and devastating. The Sentence won the Cinema Tropical Award for Best U.S. Latino Film back in January.

Actress and filmmaker Rosa Salazar screened her short film Good Crazy at LALIFF following success at Sundance. Earlier this year she graced screens around the world as the star of Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel, a sci-fi fantasy that has defied box office expectations stateside and has become a significant success in China. Salazar is a trailblazing Latina lead setting an example for the industry

Young filmmaker Chris Carmona, a proud Southeast LA native, stunned festival attendees with his debut feature, Bad Labor, a genre story about a day laborer in peril, which he produced for $7000 in the spirit of Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi. Carmona just completed a romcom web series for Mitú titled Instant Crush. Its six episodes will debut online  

Lastly, writer-director Gigi Saul Guerrero was recently named one of Variety’s 10 Latinxs to Watch in 2019. Guerrero premiered the feature-length version of her web series La Quinceañera at LALIFF. The gritty revenge story proved her outstanding directorial abilities ready to take on even more ambitious ventures.

Additionally, several Latin American titles that played at LALIFF last year found a home at HBO Latino reaching a mass audience in the U.S. Uruguayan soccer story Home Team, Colombia revenge drama Killing Jesus, Paraguayan adventure tale The Gold Seekers, Dominican biopic Veneno, The First Fall, and the Salvadoran short film My Treasure, are now available on HBO’s Spanish-language channel. Lastly, the Spanish documentary Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle by Gustavo Salmerón had a theatrical release stateside in the fall of 2018 and went on to win the Spotlight Award at the Cinema Eye Honors Awards, which recognize excellence in documentary filmmaking.

While LALIFF will continue to celebrate outstanding features and shorts from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, a significant focus going forward is to provide even more spaces and opportunities to U.S. Latinos, those born stateside with Latin American heritage, who still terribly underrepresented in the entertainment industry. U.S. Latinos are often lumped together with their Latin American counterparts creating a deceiving perception that progress has been made.

Whereas filmmakers in Latin America have access to government subsidies and incentives to finance their projects, U.S. Latinos struggle to break into an industry that doesn’t understand the subtitles of their experiences and how these are distinct from those of Cuarón, del Toro, Iñárritu, and other major names that have emerged from the region.  

To that end, LALIFF will continue to support the Youth Cinema Project (YCP) through its LALIFF Legacy section. YCP brings filmmaking into Southern California schools presenting the craft as a plausible and exciting career path for kids in the Latino community and beyond who may have otherwise never contemplated the possibility of working in entertainment. Their work then finds a home at LALIFF Legacy in a special screening event that demonstrate the relevance of the LALIFF ecosystem for filmmakers working professionally today and those that are coming behind them.

LALIFF 2019 will build on the foundations set into place last year to continue to become not only the epicenter for our creative endeavors to shine and be shared, but a key participant in the year-round conversations around meaningful inclusion and access.  

LALIFF’s Short Films Tell Hugely Relevant Stories in Bite-Size Form

Audiences seeking to explore bold and inspiring content created by Latinx filmmakers beyond the great selection of features at LALIFF, will find a treasure chest of stories and idiosyncratic visions in the festival’s Short Programs. Experimental works, hard-hitting dramas from rarely seen regions, and even animated narratives, comprise a curated compilation of the best short films created by or about Latinx talents in the last few years.

Through this selection of standout bite-size creations with hugely relevant stories, LALIFF is bridging the gap between its last edition and its return. Many of the short films included were made during LALIFF’s hiatus, thus this programs allows the festival to share them with audience and showcase some the best work Latinx filmmakers completed in this intermission.

One of the festival’s invaluable partners to bring incredible short form content to this year’s festivities is the Borscht Corporation, a non-profit redefining the way cinema is produced in a Miami. Borscht also puts together its own film festival every couple of years, an even that has garnered a cult following for their audacious programming and creative approach to production. For LALIFF, having Borscht be part of this new journey was a perfect match.

“It was so important to include Borscht Corp in LALIFF’s comeback year as they continuously represent Latinx creators and Latinx perspectives in prestigious film festivals throughout the world,” says LALIFF’s Senior Programmer, Dilcia Barrera.” Their ingenuity and approach is admirable and I hope their journey inspires other Latinx filmmakers to take chances, be bold and created art true to their own stories.”

Borscht is represented at the festival with a stunning lineup in a program titled Borscht Diez: 10 Year Anniversary Program. Apart from including Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins’ hypnotic short Chlorophyl, this look at a decade of Borscht-produced works also presents two animated gems by Brazilian-born Miami-based director Bernardo Britto. Both Yearbook and Glove premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and have cemented Britto as a singular force in multiple mediums.

Outside of the Borscht Diez package of wonders, one of the most anticipated directorial debuts playing at LALIFF is the short Good Crazy directed Rosa Salazar. The actress who’s had an immensely successful career in both film and television takes her first stab at writing and directing in a complex piece. Later this year Salazar will star in the title role of Robert Rodriguez’s new feature Alita: Battle Angel.

Distinct areas of Latin America are also present at LALIFF via award-winning shorts like Michael Flores’ My Treasure (Mi Tesoro), a touching tale about the aftermath of war from El Salvador; Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz’s Hombre, sharp take on masculinity from Chile; Carlos Morales’ Symphony of a Sad Sea (Sinfonía de un Mar Triste), centered on a young Mexican man escaping violence in his homeland; and João Paulo Miranda Maria’s Ant Killer (Feminas Formicida), a provocative look at a teenage girl’s personal battles.

Similarly, shorts from a Latinx points of view include the Boyle Heights-set The Town I Live In directed by Guadalupe Rosales & Matt Wolf; two documentaries on issues around immigration, Anna Barsan’s Libre and Lorena Manriquez & Marlene McCurtis’ Here I’ll Stay; and a hilarious comedy Diet & Exercise by Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez.

Undoubtedly, shorts at LALIFF are a sample platter of ides, techniques, and perspectives that complete an already balanced program.


Alih Jey and Cunao - LALIFF

Latinx Bands and DJs to Score the Festival as Part of LALIFF Music Series

Picture Credit: JC Olivera (Instagram: @jcolivera)

For the first time in its long history of championing emerging talent, LALIFF will include a new section focused on Latinx musical acts that are pushing boundaries and reinventing traditional genres with modern sensibilities.

Each night during the festival, the Hollywood Roosevelt will transform into the perfect stage for an eclectic collection of bands and DJs to share their culturally complex creations with eager attendees. This new addition to LALIFF’s rich program encourages discovery and aims to connect artists with potential audiences in order to build a supportive community for them to thrive.  

“Our vision for LALIFF Music is to advocate and celebrate brilliant Latinx Musicians, DJs and Artists,” says Alexis de la Rocha, LALIFF Music Programmer. “It is important for us to highlight diverse independent acts who are not only creating spectacular sounds, but who are changing the way  the world views Latinx performers.”

Opening Night guests will dance to the rhythm of psychedelic Cumbia courtesy of the East L.A.’s whimsical Tropa Magica, as well as the bilingual and comedic tunes of The Mexican Standoff and Eastside Luv’s resident DJ: Bsyde. To call it an unmissable lineup would be an understatement.

With film screenings now in full swing, Thursday night’s performances by Grammy-nominated Dominican singer-songwriter Alih Jey, accompanied by South American-inspired folk group Cuñao, and globally-minded Cumbia fusion band We the Folk will set the tone for the rest of the festival.

Weekend vibes kick off on Friday thanks to Sin Color, an ambitious South L.A. duo crafting electronic beats grounded on old school Latin musical styles, and Salvadoran-American DJ and singer Linda Nuves of Chulita Vinyl Club.

Prominent DJ José Galván, who is currently an on-air DJ at radio station KCRW, will be spinning Saturday night delighting listeners with his distinct brand of mixes. The utterly idiosyncratic Soul Jazz band Brainstory and Chicago Batman’s multinstrumentalist É Arenas will also join the party.

Straight from Mexico City, the Closing Night act, El Conjunto Nueva Ola is sure to bring dance-inducing tracks to cap off the LALIFF’s return with revitalized interpretations of classic songs on Sunday night.

As part of LALIFF’s evolution into the epicenter of Latinx entertainment, the new musical component is a revolutionary idea to open the platform beyond cinematic works. It’s a bold move on the organizers part, but one that wholeheartedly aligns with the inclusive mantra the festival preaches. The LALIFF Music Series will provide a soundtrack to the five-day celebration of the multitude of Latinx identities, interests, and influences.


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