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Festival to showcase variety of international films by next generation Latinx filmmakers including Alan Palomo and Guadalupe Rosales

Five-day music series and CultureStrike art installation to coincide with festival, along with first-ever student film festival – LALIFF Legacy

LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2018 – Academy Award-nominated actor Edward James Olmos today announced 2018 festival programming for the long-awaited return of LALIFF, the largest Latinx film festival to be hosted out of Los Angeles, presenting at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood June 20 – 24.

The festival returns with expanded programming, including both short and long form films created, directed, starring or produced by the next generation of Latinx entertainers. Filmmakers and casts alike will come together to present their award-winning work from across the globe: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Spain and North America.

“LALIFF has long been the most important Latino film festival in the U.S.. But this time around, with the launch of LALIFF Art, LALIFF Music and LALIFF Legacy, we are making sure it becomes the Mecca of Latino content,” said Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF. “LALIFF is a celebration of having our voices heard beyond the film screen, and we felt it crucial to bring the festival back to the place where it started– Los Angeles.”

LALIFF, aimed at showcasing Latino perspectives through art will kick-off opening night with the Los Angeles premier of “The Sentence,” winner of the “Audience Award – U.S. Documentary” at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Drawing from hundreds of hours of footage, filmmaker Rudy Valdez shows the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend—something known, in legal terms, as “the girlfriend problem.” Valdez’s method of coping with this tragedy is to film his sister’s family for her, both the everyday details and the milestones—moments Cindy herself can no longer share in. But in the midst of this nightmare, Valdez finds his voice as both a filmmaker and activist, and he and his family begin to fight for Cindy’s release during the last months of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative. Whether their attempts will allow Cindy to break free of her draconian sentence becomes the aching question at the core of this deeply personal portrait of a family in crisis.

Many local and international guests will attend the festival, including iconic Spanish cult filmmaker, Alex de la Iglesia, whose latest comedy Perfect Strangers, is a hilarious commentary on how smartphones can be disastrous for relationships, Veneno, The First Fall, starring Manny Perez, details the life of Dominican wrestler Jack Veneno, who himself was inspired by the films of “El Santo.” Both Manny Perez and filmmaker Tabaré Blanchard will attend.

The festival will also feature 26 bold short films throughout, including the following:

  • Good Crazy, the Sundance premiered directorial debut of actress Rosa Salizar (James Cameron’s and director Robert Rodriguez’s forthcoming sci-fi action film Alita: Battle Angel, FX’s American Horror Story: Murder House, and the Maze Runner film series).
  • The Borscht Corp Collective, a series of short films including Chlorophyll from Academy Award-winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) in celebration of its 10-year anniversary.

LALIFF will offer two $5 special screenings that include the presentation of Santo Contra “Cererbro del Mal” (1961), a partnership with the Academy Film archive that marks the West Coast premiere of the restoration. To celebrate the World Cup, we are pleased to offer the Uruguayan film Home Team, a tale about a small town boy whose prodigious talent for soccer takes him to places he never dared to dream.

A special Latinx podcast event (“Live from LALIFF”) with Latinos Who Lunch and Locatora Radio will be free and open to the public, as they interview the creator, Tanya Saracho, and the stars of Starz’s new original hit show, VIDA.

The festival will also host the first-ever student film festival, LALIFF Legacy, powered by the year-round work in public schools of the Youth Cinema Project. This two-day student event is presented by CAA.

The invite-only opening night celebration, sponsored by AltaMed, will be hosted at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood and will feature signature psychedelic Cumbia fusion musical act Tropica Magica, formerly known as “Thee Commons” as the headline act and The Mexican Standoff as the pre-opener. Boyle Heights DJ, BSYDE will be spinning cumbia funk. Additional musical acts will be featured nightly after screenings.

Tickets to LALIFF screenings are available now.

For the full programming schedule, please visit: www.latinofilm.org

The list of feature film screenings is below:

  • The Sentence, dir. Rudy Valdez, USA (Opening film)
  • Bad Labor, dir. Chris Carmona, USA
  • Bad Lucky Goat, dir. Samir Oliveros, Colombia
  • Candelaria, dir. Jhonny Hendrix, Colombia/Cuba
  • Killing Jesus, dir. Laura Mora, USA
  • La Quinceañera, dir. Gigi Saul Guerrero, USA
  • Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle, dir. Gustavo Salmerón, Spain
  • Loveling Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil
  • Home Team, dir. Carlos Morelli, Uruguay
  • Perfect Strangers, dir. Alex de la Iglesia, Spain
  • Santos Contra “Cerebro del Mal”, dir. Joselito Rodriguez, Mexico/Cuba
  • The Future Ahead, dir. Constanza Novick, Argentina
  • The Pushouts, dirs. Katie Galloway & Dawn Valdez, USA
  • Who are You? Ari Maniel Cruz, Puerto Rico
  • Veneno, The First Fall, dir. Tabaré Blanchard, Dominican Republic
  • Violeta at Last, dir Hilda Hidalgo, Costa Rica
  • The Gold Seekers, dir. Tana Schémbori & Juan Carlos Maneglia, Paraguay (Closing film)

“For too long we’ve been talking about issues of inequity and lack of diversity in our industry, and we are looking forward to being part of the solution.” — Edward James Olmos

Sponsors for 2018 LALIFF include the following:

Premier Sponsor

Youth Cinema Project

Presenting Sponsor

Premios Platino

Opening Night Sponsor



Presenting Sponsor


Supporting Sponsors

Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP
High Performance Learning Environments
Achieving America Family Foundation

Official Airline Sponsor


Industry Sponsor

Warner Bros. Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Supporting Sponsor

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
TCL Chinese Theatres
Final Draft
Simple DCP
Ketel One

Media Sponsor

97.1 AMP Radio

Community Partners

Buzzfeed Pero Like
Consulate General of Brazil
Spain Arts & Culture
Podcasterio Network
Define American
US Lifestyle
Kabazon Premium Water
Killer Design
University of Guadalajara Foundation | USA
Common Sense Latino


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

Youth Cinema Project (YCP) is project based learning that 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.

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.