Arts & Entertainment

Latin American cinema returns to Hollywood with LALIFF festival

Los Angeles, USA, Jun 1 (EFE).- Latin American cinema returned to Hollywood on Wednesday with the opening of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), the most important event for the Hispanic world in the mecca of the audiovisual industry.

The iconic TCL Chinese Theatre, one of the most famous cinemas in Los Angeles, will host dozens of screenings, discussions and events between Jun.1-5, including the premiere of the eagerly awaited “The Father of the Bride”, with stars such as Gloria Estefan, Diego Boneta and Andy García.

During the inauguration, which featured the premiere of the documentary “Mija”, a red carpet laid out on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame welcomed filmmakers, actors and actresses from Latin America, the United States and Spain, who were upbeat about the opportunities that Hollywood has for Latinos.

Among them, legendary actor and filmmaker Edward James Olmos praised that events like this offer an opportunity to “change everything” for “minority cultures”.

James Olmos said that it was he himself who founded the festival – formerly known as the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival – in 1997 to serve as a meeting point for Hispanics trying to make their way in the film world.

The festival soon became a springboard for the debut of talents who would go on to impress the audiovisual industry, such as Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro G. Iñarritu, America Ferrera and Eva Longoria.

“We encountered many obstacles along the way, but we managed to overcome them,” he said.

LALIFF’s red carpet this year featured performers from Hispanic-themed series such as “Gentefied” (J.J. Soria), “Mayans M.C.” (Emilio Rivera) and “This Is Us” (Jon Huertas).

The event was attended by stars such as the young Xochitl Gómez, who just made her debut in the Marvel franchise with “Doctor Strange”, and director Carlos López Estrada, who was nominated for this year’s Oscar for the film “Raya and the Last Dragon” from Disney.

“LALIFF is an important for getting inspires and meeting voices and filmmakers who are doing different things,” said López Estrada.

To kick off the festival, LALIFF screened the documentary “Mija”, in which journalist Isabel Castro traces the steps of two daughters of undocumented parents, Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, who are trying to become successful in the world of music.

The festival will close with one of the most eagerly awaited projects for Hispanic cinema: the new version of “The Father of The Bride”, featuring names such as Gloria Estefan, Isabela Merced, Diego Boneta, Andy García and Adria Arjona.

It is a film with a strong Hispanic accent that the Warner Bros. studio has developed from another film of the same name, released in 1991, in which Steve Martin and Diane Keaton star in a plot about a father who resists his daughter marrying the love of her life. The success of the comedy led to a sequel in 1995.

“It’s getting harder and harder to make a selection because Latinos are becoming more and more active in filmmaking,” said Diana Cadavid, the festival’s director.

Other official screenings at the festival include films such as “Place in the Field” by Nicole Mejia, “All Sorts” by J. Rick and “Blood Red Ox” by Rodrigo Bellot.

“The Other Tom”, which Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo presented at the Toronto and Venice festivals; “The Shape of Things to Come”, the debut of filmmaker V. Checa; and “Without Prescription”, the winner of the audience award at this year’s SXSW festival, will also be screened.

LALIFF also announced Wednesday an alliance with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, through which 10 filmmakers will have access to training plans and be able to present their projects to leading figures in the movie industry.

Not only will the fellowships provide access to an important network of contacts, but each selected filmmaker will receive $10,000 to develop their ideas.

“They support us because we are doing something that no one else is doing,” said James Olmos. EFE


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