Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria's 'Flamin’ Hot' biopic is to be featured at the 2023 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Today marks the beginning of the 22nd edition of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), which will run until Sunday, Jun. 4.

The festival commences with the highly anticipated West Coast premiere of Eva Longoria's directorial debut, "Flamin' Hot," and concludes with the premiere of "Problemista," a film written, directed, and starring former SNL cast member Julio Torres.

"Flamin' Hot" portrays the captivating story behind the creation of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, while "Problemista" follows the journey of a talented young man who seeks employment with a peculiar art world personality (played by co-star Tilda Swinton) in a bid to extend his stay in the U.S. as his work visa nears expiration.

In addition to these highlights, the festival will showcase a diverse selection of eighteen feature films from the United States, Latin America, and Canada over the course of five days. The screenings will take place at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

The film Moe, directed by José Luis Valenzuela, about an AIDS patient's final longing to travel with his pals is among those making their global debuts. The Shadow of the Sun, a film by Miguel Angel Ferrer, is another option. In it, a deaf young man urges his estranged elder brother to participate with him in a musical competition.

The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), organized by the Latino Film Institute, aims to address the historical underrepresentation of the Latino population in the entertainment industry, LA ist reported.

Data reveals that Latino actors are only given 7% of lead roles in films, while a mere 1.5% of TV showrunners and 1.3% of directors are Latino.

To combat this disparity, the festival has implemented a range of pipeline programs designed to establish a strong foundation and support system for the Latino community within the entertainment industry.

These initiatives strive to build the necessary infrastructure and provide opportunities for Latinos to thrive in front of and behind the camera.

"The whole effort is to obviously get those underrepresented voices, to get their voice out there and their perspective on the filmmaking," says Sergio Monserrate, executive director of LALIFF.

The festival offers various programs to support Latino filmmakers and aspiring animators. One such program is the Inclusion Fellowship, which gives funding to Latino filmmakers, allowing them to create their own films and have ownership over their work.

Additionally, the LXiA Spark Animation Grant is available to support Latino animators who are seeking opportunities in the industry. These programs are backed by Netflix.

The festival also includes the Youth Cinema Project (YCP@LALIFF), which features over 100 films made by students from public schools nationwide.

These films will be screened throughout the festival, providing a platform for young filmmakers to showcase their work.

16 students are given fellowships as part of the program, and they work under the guidance of specialists in the field to create a movie that may be submitted for film school portfolios. This year's program is run by Angel Manuel Soto, the highly anticipated action-adventure Blue Beetle's director, and is supported by Amazon Studios.

"The revolutionary thing is we're starting early. At a young age, we are helping to continue getting those Latino voices out there and getting them into the industry," he says.

Monserrate emphasizes the value of initiatives like the YCP and the Spark Animation grant as a means of advancing young filmmakers and gaining recognition for their work at the start of their careers.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.