LALIFF 2021 will be a hybrid festival with both in-person and virtual screenings, including the previously announced Special Preview Screening of In the Heights on June 4
The festival will open with Omar Chaparro’s 7th & Union and close with Women is Losers
Academy Award-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, founder of the Latino Film Institute, announced today the full lineup for this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) that will take place June 2 – 6. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, LALIFF 2021 will be a hybrid festival with both in-person and virtual screenings, including the previously announced Special Preview Screening of In the Heights on June 4. In-person screenings will take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre and the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. The program includes feature films, short films, episodics, masterclasses, arts program and musical performances. The festival will also offer a range of events for industry professionals as part of its Industry Days programming.
“As we begin to finally see some normalcy in our lives, we are thrilled to be able to commemorate our 20th anniversary by bringing Angelenos together, safely, to celebrate our community of talented storytellers that so need our support,” says Edward James Olmos. “This past year has been hard for everyone, and we are excited to continue to support and provide a platform to these creators that despite all odds, continued to create art.”
The program will open with the World Premiere of 7th & Union. The film, a Broken English production, is directed by Anthony Nardolillo and features famed Mexican actor Omar Chaparro in the leading role and tells the story of an unlikely ally, a broken promise and an improbable chance to inspire two men to use their old passions to pursue their dream of providing a brighter future for their family. Opening night will take place on Wednesday, June 2 and will screen at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The film is financed by Ruben Islas’ Grandave Capital.
Lissette Feliciano’s directorial debut and coming-of-age drama, Women is Losers, set in working-class San Francisco of the 60’s, will close the festival on Sunday, June 6 and will screen at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. The film stars Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Lorenza Izzo and follows the story of a once-promising catholic schoolgirl who rises above the oppression of poverty and invests in a future for herself setting new precedents for the time. Simu Liu, who will make history this fall for his lead role in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, also stars in the film. Women is Losers was one of the most-streamed films out of SXSW 2021.
The LALIFF 2021 program will include the world premieres of Something Blue, the debut feature by promising Panamanian filmmaker Mariel García-Spooner and Blursday by local filmmaker Sergio Guerrero; the international premieres of Javier Fuentes-León’s The Best Families (Perú) and Papi by Noelia Quintero (Dominican Republic), based on a novel by queer artist and musician Rita Indiana; the US premiere of the Colombian documentary Between Fire & Water by Viviana Gómez Echeverry, and La Botera by Sabrina Blanco (Argentina).
Completing its international program of features are the debut of emerging Mexican director Ángeles Cruz’s Nudo Mixteco and the Afro Futurist Executive Order by Lázaro Ramos (Brazil) that premiered at SXSW.
Continuing with its mission and commitment to be a platform for the best US Latino films of the year, the festival’s line up will include the critically acclaimed documentary on the iconic Rita Moreno, Rita Moreno: A Girl Who Decided to Go for It directed by Mariem Perez Riera; Bridges, the debut feature by director and actress Maria Corina Ramirez; the powerful documentaries American Exile by John J. Valadez, Landfall by Cecilia Aldarondo and Fruits of Labor by Emily Cohen, all three made with the support of the Latino Public Broadcast (LPB), and Jonathan Cuarta’s My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell it that was an official selection of the Tribeca Festival (2020).
“After such a challenging year LALIFF comes stronger than ever, with a diverse program that is testament to the creativity and resilience of our artists. Our combination of in-person and virtual events is designed to enhance our viewership experience and to ensure that everyone can enjoy the rich offering of films, episodics, music and art that we have carefully curated,” said Diana Cadavid, LALIFF’s Artistic Director.
Last fall, LALIFF announced its Latinx inclusion Fellowship Series sponsored by Netflix that was awarded to five visionary Afro Latino filmmakers, Lorena Durán, Justin Floyd, Kase Peña, Monica Suriyage and Tamara Shogaolu. All five filmmakers will be premiering their short films as part of LALIFF 2021.
LALIFF 2021 also includes an impressive lineup of short films including “Nuevo Rico” by Kristian Mercado, awarded Best Animated Short at SXSW 2021; the Afro Brazilian queer “Perifericu” by Nay Mendl, Rosa Caldeira, Stheffany Fernanda and Vita Pereira; the documentary Aguilas/Eagles by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan & Maite Zubiaurre, Jury Award winner at SXSW 2021; and the world premiere of “With his Eyes Open” by Miamian filmmaker José Navas.
The festival will be awarding a jury prize to the Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Direction of a Live Action Short. Heading the jury for Live Action shorts is Jackie Cruz, actress and accomplished singer/songwriter. The Live Action jury also includes Amanda Trokan, Director of Content Acquisition at WarnerMedia and Edson Jean, whose debut feature film, Ludi, premiered at SXSW and was the opening night film for the Miami Film Festival. The Animated Shorts jury brings Manny Hernandez, Executive Producer for the upcoming Cartoon Network Studios series We Baby Bears, Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, Executive Producer and CEO of Spicerack Productions, Inc., and Carlos Zaragoza, the Production Designer for Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated musical Vivo.
This year, LALIFF will launch its inaugural Animation Day, including its first-ever Animated Shorts Program. The program will be Presented by Cartoon Cartoons, the Cartoon Network Studios’ recently announced animated shorts content initiative. The selected all-around best animated short will be awarded a one-year subscription to Storyboard Pro presented by Toon Boom. Events kick off on Thursday, June 3, with the debut and Q&A of Crypt TV’s first animated horror drama for Facebook Watch, Woman in the Book. Lead voice talent for the series will feature Diane Guerrero and Alfonso Herrera. Friday, June 4, is dedicated exclusively to animated content, including virtual coffee chats, or cafecitos, that spotlight professionals in intimate conversations about their work.
Among the highly anticipated cafecitos is a discussion with some of the team behind Sony Pictures Animation’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which is out now on Netflix, including Producer Phil Lord, Production Designer Lindsey Olivares, and Head of Story Guillermo Martinez. The cafecitos will also include a conversation between Charise Castro Smith, Screenwriter and Co-Director on Disney’s forthcoming feature Encanto, and Encanto‘s Producer Yvett Merino. Additional cafecitos will feature power hitters such as Camille Eden, Nickelodeon’s VP of Recruiting and Talent Development, Diego Molano, Creator and Executive Producer of Victor & Valentino, and a roundtable discussion with Disney Television Animation.
In support of industry professionals, Nickelodeon Animation Studio will also provide an exclusive talk with recruiters and artist portfolio reviews. Animation Day will also feature a set of masterclass workshops and talks. In partnership with Netflix, Animation Day will include a Writing for Animation Masterclass, aimed at preparing emerging writers with the necessary skills to land their first writing gig. Walt Disney Animation Studios will also present a Masterclass discussion with Carlos López Estrada, Director of Raya and the Last Dragon. Covering topics from page to post, Animation Day promises an unparalleled experience for its attendees.
The LALIFF 2021 Music program brings together phenomenal LatinX artists and music professionals to build a community of support, exploration, and celebration of our diverse art and sounds. It presents live and virtual performances, special events, and the launch of our Music Industry Program. Featured Musicians include the dynamic Afro Futurismo Tropical duo Dawer x Damper, fusion border sounds of Nosis, Mariposas Del Alma with their cumbia melodies, Neyva and their dream synth world, R&B moods of SVM, velvet voice of Victoria Elise, The RodgarBand jazz deliciousness, disco soul from Chrisol, the comedic and fun vibes of The Mexican Standoff, and much more.
The festival will host an intimate conversation about film composing and the push for diversity with George Shaw of the Composers Diversity Collective, Tony Morales, Emmy Nominated composer of Disney’s Elena of Avalor and Reel Change, and more. There will also be a conversation with Butter Music & Sound’s Multicultural Division Executive Producer, James Zavaleta, and singer songwriter extraordinaire Alih Jey as they discuss the ins and outs of music placement. Additional events will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition, the festival will host an Arts Program presented by The Center for Cultural Power that will feature short films, vlogs, and content to help artists get through the COVID-19 health crisis. The program will be available through the festival site and accessible to everyone.
In conjunction with the festival, LALIFF’s Industry Days is a signature program designed to connect filmmakers and industry professionals including (but not limited to) sales agents, buyers, producers, production executives, craftspeople, financiers, festival programmers, film commissioners, film publicists, and exhibitors.
Presenting sponsors include Youth Cinema Project, Netflix, CNN en Español, Variety, PLATINO EDUCA and AltaMed. Festival sponsors include Cartoon Network Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), TVCortos, Charlie Clark Automotive Group, Broken English Productions, BMI, Comcast NBCUniversal, Los Angeles County Arts and Culture, High Performance Learning Environments, Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP., Sony Pictures Entertainment, FotoKem, Fever-Tree, Bacardi Limited, Remezcla, and Writers Guild of America West.
LALIFF in partnership with TVCortos will present “LALIFF en TVCortos”, a selection of the best short films that have been part of the festival’s program. “LALIFF en TVCortos” will reach a global audience and will be broadcasted across TVCortos and sister channel ShortsTV throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.