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This festival isn’t letting coronavirus stop it from showcasing Latino films

A still from the Chilean film "This Is Cristina," directed by Gonzalo Maza, which will be available to stream starting May 5.
(Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival)

At least one Los Angeles film festival isn’t letting a global pandemic prevent it from showcasing the work of Latino artists. Instead, it’s going virtual.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival announced LALIFF Connect. The free, online festival will allow quarantined viewers to stream feature films, shorts, episodics, masterclasses and live music on LALIFF’s website.

The festival kicked off with a retrospective of last year’s work, including movies by Latinos from around the world (including Brazil, Colombia, the U.S. and Mexico), which viewers can stream until May 4. The 2020 virtual edition will be held May 5-31.

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“We are living in unprecedented times and we must find unprecedented solutions to continue to support our Latino filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work,” said Edward James Olmos, founder of LALIFF, in a press release Tuesday.

“Working together with our filmmakers, musicians, partners and sponsors we will be able to celebrate our festival virtually to continue to showcase some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking Latino films of 2020 and share with cinephiles everywhere, from the safety of their homes.”

The program will include, among others, the feature film “The Last Rafter,” directed by Carlos Rafael Betancourt and Oscar Ernesto Ortega, which follows the journey of a Cuban man who risks his life, and deportation, looking for his long-absent father in Florida.

A still from the animated short “Miguel,” directed by Armando Sepulveda Mendoza.
(Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival)
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Gonzalo Maza’s Chilean film “This Is Cristina,” executive produced by Salma Hayek, will also be part of the festival and tells the story of lifelong best friends Cristina and Susana.

The LALIFF Connect 2020 music program will feature performances by Def Sound, Chrisol, Lupita Infante, Tatiana Hazel and Weapons of Mass Creation as well as DJ sets from KCRW’s José Galvan and Linda Nuves from L.A.'s Chulita Vinyl Club.

The series of masterclasses will include courses on music composition; sound design; tips on how DJs and musicians can throw live events; and animation, which will be taught by experts from Sony, Walt Disney and Nickelodeon animation studios.

Starting this week, Latino stars from TV shows like “Vida,” “Gentefied” and “One Day at a Time” will live stream readings of student scripts.
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“We are proud to advocate for Latinx artists and musicians, especially at a time where they have been hit the most and share their beautiful sounds,” said Alexis de la Rocha, LALIFF’s managing director, in a press release. “Be sure to dance in your living rooms and don’t worry about the door fee — LALIFF has you covered.”


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