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Film Festivals: Current State of Affairs and Strategies

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Private Event

Open to badge holders

Location: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The film industry has faced several challenges over the past years, including the disruption caused by the rise of the streamers and of course the pandemic. Through this, festivals have remained an integral part of a film's launching and exhibition strategy and an opportunity to present films to live audiences on the big-screen.

This discussion will cover how some of these industry shifts have affected festivals, and include some practical advice on how to optimize festival submissions, how to navigate the sometimes nebulous area of festival premieres, as well as offer some practical advice to filmmakers and producers of how to best strategize within the wider festival ecosystem.

At their hearts, festivals bring together communities and are ideal opportunities to create lasting and impactful relationships. This panel will offer some meaningful ideas on how to engage in this vital network.


Diana Sanchez

Diana Sanchez has over 25 years experience in the International and Canadian film industries. She most recently served as Senior Director of Film for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where she oversaw the organization’s Festival and Cinematheque programming strategy, after collaborating at TIFF as a programmer for over 17 years. In 2011, Diana was founding Artistic Director of the International Panama Film Festival (IFF Panamá) where she created a launching pad for films from Central America and the Caribbean. She has also held programming and industry roles at several film festivals and organizations, including LALIFF, the Rotterdam Film Festival, Miami Film Festival as well as director of programming for Houston Latin Wave. Diana is currently consulting for several state and private film agencies while teaching at the University of Toronto.

Ana Souza

Born in Brazil, Ana Souza was partially raised in The Netherlands and now resides in Los Angeles. She is the Manager of the Programming department at Sundance and a programmer on the features team, focusing on US and International fiction films across sections, including Midnight. In addition to her work at Sundance, she is the Director of Programming for the Sun Valley Film Festival and the Forum Producer for the Palm Springs International ShortFest. She has also programmed for AFI FEST, Outfest, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, and the LA Film Festival in the past, and she has worked in various capacities for LALIFF, Ambulante California, and NALIP’s Latino Media Fest, among others.

The Latino Film Institute is an educational organization and all networking opportunities during LALIFF are for educational purposes only.