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LOS ANGELES, CA April 14, 2020 – Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, founder of the Latino Film Institute, announced today that the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) will host a virtual retrospective program of its 2019 edition from April 14 to May 4, 2020 in anticipation of its 2020 virtual edition, LALIFF Connect, held from May 5 – 31st.  LALIFF Connect 2020 and 2019 Retrospective will include feature films, short films, episodics, masterclasses and musical performances — all will be available through LALIFF’s website for free with additional titles to be announced. 

“We are living in unprecedented times and we must find unprecedented solutions to continue to support our Latino filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work,” says Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF. “Working together with our filmmakers, musicians, partners and sponsors we will be able to celebrate our festival virtually to continue to showcase some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Latino films of 2020 and share with cinephiles everywhere, from the safety of their homes.” 

The program will include the feature film The Last Rafter from award-winning directing duo Carlos Rafael Betancourt and Oscar Ernesto Ortega. The critically acclaimed film follows the journey of a Cuban man who risks his life in the Florida Straits on a raft to search for his long-absent father in Miami, but a political shift makes him America’s first undocumented Cuban immigrant. Now he must battle the new and bigger fear of deportation, while trying to find where he really belongs. 

Paper Children directed by Alexandra Codina will also be part of the festival with a special virtual event followed by a Q&A session on Tuesday, May 12. The film, available on YouTube this summer, explores America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one Miami family who navigate a broken system with unwavering resilience. 

The Chilean film This Is Cristina, directed by Gonzalo Maza, distributed by Figa Films and executive produced by Salma Hayek, will also be part of the Festival’s Official Selection. The film tells the story of Cristina and Susana, who have been best friends since high school but now, when they are already over 30 years-old, are receiving a wake-up call. 

In addition, the program will include six short films “1,2,3 All Eyes on Me” directed by Emil Gallardo, ”Baby” directed by Thais Drassinower, “Flowers Within” directed by Catalina Loret, “Maria” directed by Zoe Salicrup Junco, “Rizo” directed by Jeanette Dilone, “Say You Will” directed by Mariel Sosa and the animated shorts “Ailin On the Moon” directed by Claudia Ruiz, “Borrachero” directed by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea, and “Miguel” directed by Armando Sepulveda Mendoza

“LALIFF Connect is our new online initiative to address the world’s current reality. LALIFF Connect is completely free to the public in order to support our community during the stay-at-home emergency order,” says Executive Director of LALIFF, Rafael Agustín

The LALIFF Connect 2020 Music program will include performances by top Latinx artists Def Sound, Chrisol, Lupita Infante, Tatiana Hazel and Weapons of Mass Creation.

LALIFF Connect 2020 will also present a series of masterclasses including Nightlife Curation in the LatinX World with Cumbiaton’s DJ Sizzle of Cumbiatón and Funky Caramelo; LatinX in Animation: A Masterclasswith Head of Story of Connected at Sony Pictures Animation Guillermo Martinez, Co-Producer at Walt Disney Animation Studios Yvett Merino, and Creative Producer of The Casagrandes at Nickelodeon Animations Studio Miguel Puga; Music Composition: Masterclass with composer Elik Álvarez, composer Tony Morales and composers/producers Carl Thiel and Maria Vertiz; and a Sound Design Masterclass with the Sound Designer of the film The Last Rafter, Paola Magrans.  

We are proud to advocate for Latinx artists and musicians, especially at a time where they have been hit the most and share their beautiful sounds. Be sure to dance in your living rooms and don’t worry about the door fee—LALIFF has you covered,” says Managing Director of LALIFF, Alexis de la Rocha. 

The 2019 retrospective, which starts today, will include three features, nine shorts and three episodics as well as musical performances. The features will include Councilwoman directed by Margo Guernsey and I’ll See You Around directed by Daniel Fermin Pfeffer which will be available online during the entire month of the retrospective (April 14th – May 4th). The program will also host a special virtual event of the film Divine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro followed by a special presentation with music from DJ José Galvan on April 29th

The shorts section will include “And the Brave Shall Rise” directed by Adam Schlachte, “Chicle” (“Gum”) directed by Lizette Barrera, “Figueroa” directed by Victor Hugo Duran, “Pozole” directed by Jessica Mendez Siqueiros, “Simon Cries” directed by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento, “Skaya” directed by Gabriel Noguez, “Suicidrag” directed by Andrea Perez Su, “Unlucky’s Luck” directed by Felipe Holguin Caro, and “Water Warrior” directed by Monica Medellín. The episodic section includes South of Sunset, Stoned Breakups and Unimundo 45.  

The LALIFF 2019 Retrospective, that brings some of the best acts of last year’s edition including ‘La Mera’ Candelaria, DJ José Galván, DJ Vick Jagger and Linda Nuves of Chulita Vinyl Club who will join us again to perform on the following dates: 

  • Wednesday, April 22nd | 6:00PM PST / 9:00PM EST – Linda Nuves, Chulita Vinyl Club
  • Thursday, April 23rd | 6:00PM PST / 9:00PM EST – “La Mera” Candelaria
  • Friday, April 24th | 6:00PM PST / 9:00PM EST – DJ Vick Jagger & Femme C Mel 
  • Wednesday, April 29th | 6:00PM PST / 9:00PM EST – DJ Jose Galvan 

Additionally, the Youth Cinema Project (YCP)—another initiative of the Latino Film Institute—in an effort to help its teachers and students while schools remain closed, has also started a program called YCPLiveReads. YCP will host live script readings of its students by talent from TV series and films including Gentefied, Vida, Devious Maids, Napoleon Dynamite, among others every Wednesday and Friday at 1pm PDT throughout the month of April. This week’s YCPLiveReads will include participation from the cast of Spanish Aquí Presents and Devious Maids. People can join the live reads by visiting YCP website or by searching the hashtag #YCPLiveReads on social media. 

Presenting sponsors include EGEDA, AltaMed, Sony and WGAW. 

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:
Shari Mesulam
[email protected]

Johanna Calderón-Dakin
[email protected]



Features (3)
The Last Rafter – After risking his life crossing the Florida Straits on a raft, a young Cuban searches Miami for his long-absent father. When a political shift makes him America’s first Cuban undocumented immigrant, he must battle the new and bigger fear of deportation, while trying to find where he really belongs. Directed by Carlos Rafael Betancourt and Oscar Ernesto Ortega. (USA)

Paper Children – Paper Children explores America’s invisible refugee crisis through the eyes of one Miami family who navigates a broken system with unwavering resilience. The four siblings and their parents work hard at a new start together, as far away from the frightening gang violence in their native Honduras as possible. As they begin to heal from past trauma, the thorny complexities of the US immigration system lead to crushing setbacks that once again threaten their sense of security. Through it all, the family holds on to their faith and loving spirit—they’ve risked too much to give up hope. Directed by Alexandra Codina. (USA)

This Is Cristina – Cristina and Susana have been best friends since high school. But now, when they are already over 30 years-old, they are receiving a wake-up call. Cristina just divorced and she is not prepared for her new spinsterhood; Susana is returning to live again in her mother’s house. Because of a fight, they take distance from each other and now both, separated, will have to deal with a long list of selfish, self-centered and egotistical men around them. Directed by Gonzalo Maza. (Chile)

Shorts (6)
“1, 2, 3, All Eyes on Me” – When a crisis suddenly engulfs an elementary school campus, Ms. Leena, a determined art teacher tries everything she can to save her frightened class. Directed by Emil Gallardo. (USA)

“Baby” – An unnerving encounter with her estranged father at a night club while on a weekend back home in Lima is enough to remind Lia that there are unhealed wounds. Directed by Thais Drassinower. (PERU)

“Flowers Within” – Two women searching for “perfect beauty” realize that their biggest fight is not against each other. “Flowers Within” is a visual journey on how beauty standards imposed on women have blinded them from the power that lies within. Directed by Catalina Loret. (MEXICO)

“María” – Several weeks after a devastating hurricane, a young woman, María, returns home to care for her suicidal father. Directed by Zoe Salicrup Junco. (USA)

“Rizo” – An Afro-Latina struggles with her identity as she navigates the Hollywood machine. Directed by Jeanette Dilone. (USA)

“Say You Will” – 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. Directed by Mariel Sosa. (USA)

Animated Shorts (3)
“Ailin on the Moon” – Vilma is a 40-year-old mother overwhelmed by fatigue and skin intolerance. Ailín just wants to play, until one day she causes the emotional outbreak of her mother. Directed by Claudia Ruiz. (ARGENTINA)

“Borrachero” – After a job goes wrong, a woman flees to her hometown in southern Colombia. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious figure, which might be the embodied spirit of an ancient plant. Directed by Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea. (CANADA)

“Miguel” – Miguel must overcome the feeling of being an outcast on his first day of school in a new country. Directed by Armando Sepulveda Mendoza. (USA)

Nightlife Curation in the LatinX World: Masterclass with Cumbaitón’s Dj Sizzle Fantastic and Funky Caramelo
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. Speakers: DJ Sizzle Fantastic and Funky Caramelo

LatinX in Animation: A Masterclass
Join LatinX in Animation as we host Latinx Creators, Artists, and Producers of diverse animated projects that highlights Latinx voices, representation, and diversity. Moderated by Carlos Aguilar, we will discuss the influences behind these talented artists, writers, producers, and creators, and how their unique perspectives have influenced their projects. Moderator: Carlos Aguilar (Film Critic & Writer) Speakers: Guillermo Martinez, Head of Story, Connected, Sony Pictures Animation, Yvett Merino, Co-Producer, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Miguel Puga, Creative Producer, The Casagrandes, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Music Composition Masterclass
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. Moderator: Alexis de la Rocha (Managing Director LALIFF, LALIFF Music, Musician) Speakers: Elik Álvarez, Composer, Tony Morales, Composer, Carl Thiel, Composer & Producer, Maria Vertiz, Composer & Producer

Sound Design 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. Speaker: Paola Magrans, Sound Designer, The Last Rafter

LALIFF Retrospective 2019

Features (3)
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)

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)

Shorts (9)
“And the Brave Shall Rise” – Rooted 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)

“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)

“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)

“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)

“Simon Cries” – Simon, 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 Noguez. (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. Directed by Andrea Perez Su. (Mexico)

“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 Warrior” – Water Warrior is a short film about Latina surfers and why seeing yourself in the sport you love matters. Directed by Mónica Medellín. (USA)

Episodic (3)
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)

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)