Latinos to Take Center Stage at L.A. International Film Festival

More than 70 Latino filmmakers representing 13 countries will be featured in the second annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, scheduled to begin Friday at the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences Foundation in North Hollywood.

Films will be shown daily from noon to 10 p.m. through Oct. 11. Festival locations will alternate among the academy, Universal Studios, the Universal CityWalk Cineplex and the Paramount Studios Theater in Hollywood.

Festival general manager Alan Noel Vega said he hopes the event will evolve into a juried film expo with cash prizes. He said he also hopes to call attention to the artistic work of Latino auteurs.

"Hollywood has a certain formula that's geared toward the actor as product, but festival films tend to be more artsy," he said. "We give a lot more emphasis to the director as the artistic vehicle in a film."

Vega said he is also trying to generate interest in the entertainment industry to establish scholarship programs.

Four scholarships totaling $20,000 have been established by graphic designer Ron Kriss and Mark Grasso, the regional manager of the digital special effects company Quantel.

Information about the scholarship programs, ticket prices, times and locations of films is available at (323) 469-9066.

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