By María Margarita López
LA's Latinx film showcase is back after a five-year hiatus. The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LAIFF) opened June 20 to a full house who mingled before a screening of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winning documentary “The Sentence,” directed by Rudy Valdez.
Since its inception in 1997 the festival’s mission was always to showcase the human experience from the Latino perspective. LALIFF 2018 adds to that commitment by featuring new youth, music and art programming.
Along with festival founder Edward James Olmos, Rafael Agustin, the recently announced Executive Director of the Latino Film Institute and writer for the CW’s “Jane The Virgin,” worked with Diana Sanchez, LALIFF 2018’s Director of Programming, to find Ibero-american content that will voice the discussions of our time.
“This isn’t your grandma’s LALIFF,” said Rafael Agustin on opening night
In addition to screening features, shorts and special events, the festival features LALIFF LEGACY, LALIFF MUSIC and LALIFF ART to the five-day event.
There is also a look at how Latinx culture uses new media. The sold out VIDA Podcast Panel on June 23 is co-hosted by Latinos Who Lunch and Locatora Radio.
“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
LALIFF Legacy is the festival’s first student film festival, produced in conjunction with the Latino Film Institute’s Youth Cinema Project (YCP). YCP partnered with public schools to teach storytelling and filmmaking skills to youth as young as fourth grade. The aim is to create life-long learners who work as a team to tell their stories, which will plant the seeds for a multicultural future in the entertainment industry. Their short form work will be presented June 23-24.
LALIFF Music inaugural programming by Alexis De La Rocha will be held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel through June 24. Opening night included Tropa Magica, Mexican Standoff and resident DJ at Eastside Luv, BSYDE-DJ.
LALIFF ART presents an art installation “Con Cámaras Y Sin Papeles [(With Cameras and Without Papers]: A Decade of Undocumented Visual Storytelling”, a video installation with undocumented and formerly undocumented artists telling their stories. The collaboration with CULTURESTRIKE, a non-profit that cultivates artists and develops projects that envision social justice, is held in the TCL Chinese Theaters' lobby.
Tickets and information are available at www.LatinoFilm.org
ABOVE: Luis Varela Rico