Promotional image from In the Summers
Promotional image from In the Summers Promotional image from In the Summers

The Latino Film Institute (LFI) announced its full lineup for the 23rd Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). Leading the pack is the critically acclaimed In the Summers, starring René Perez Joglar, better known as Residente, who is making his acting debut. The festival will take place from May 29 to June 2 at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood, California.

The complete program includes feature films, short films, animation, panels, networking sessions, musical performances, and LALIFF's first film market named The LALIFF Industry Forum, which will include big industry players like Amazon MGM Studios, ESPN Films, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, STARZ, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Opening night, however, belongs to In the Summers, the acclaimed filmed by Colombian-American Alessandra Lacorazza that won best director and Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Film at the this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie tells the story of Violeta and Eva, who visit their loving but reckless father Vicente every summer. He tries to atone for the past by creating a world of wonders for them to experience but his battle with addiction gradually erodes the magic.

Residente has been praised for his role as the father, flexing his acting chops in a way that has taken many by surprise. In a recent interview with Collider, the musician explained why he took on the role and his approach to the craft:

"I read the script and I liked it. And then I started to feel wary, you know? And then I said, "F... it, I'm gonna do it." I was talking about this yesterday, "F***, but let's do it well, "because that's the way. You can't say, "F... it." I'm gonna do it well, so I went to acting coaches and they helped me at least to understand the script better. English is my second language, so it's even harder for me. Alessandra gave me the freedom to speak in Spanish, but I wanted to say a lot of the lines in English most of the time."

LALIFF 2024 official poster
LALIFF 2024 official poster LALIFF official website

Elsewhere in the program, LALIFF 2024 will offer a wide variety of genres, including highly anticipated world premieres as well as productions from Latin America that have been praised at some of the world's most prestigious film festivals. All in all, the festival will screen films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain, the United States, France, Mexico, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In a statement to the LA Times, renowned actor and LALIFF co-founder Edward James Olmos recalled the festival's mission and the importance of continuing to grow: "LALIFF serves as a platform to elevate and highlight the remarkable contributions of Latino creators in film and television, and as the annual culmination of the programs under the umbrella of our institute. As we expand our footprint, we continue to be driven by a simple but powerful goal: excellence."

Expansion is a key objective for this year's edition as the festival will premier a new program focused on filmmakers based in Los Angeles titled LALIFF Eastside, premiering four movied screening at the Regal L.A. Live: "F.L.Y.," directed by Rafael Albarrán and Trent Kendrick; "Say a Little Prayer," directed by Patrick Pérez Vidauri; "The Unexpecteds," directed by Alejandro Montoya Marín; and "The Wingwalker," directed by Alonso Álvarez-Barreda.

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