Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Announces Full Lineup For Its 21st Edition

Disney Original Documentary’s Mija directed by Isabel Castrol to open the festival and Warner Bros. Pictures’ and HBO Max’s Father of the Bride directed by Gas Alazraki will close the festival.

Tickets now on sale!

Los Angeles, CA – May 4, 2021 – Academy Award®-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, founder of the Latino Film Institute, announced today the full lineup for this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) that will take place June 1 – 5 at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre and TCL Chinese 6 in Hollywood, CA. This year’s edition will open with Disney Original Documentary’s Mija directed by Isabel Castro and close with Warner Bros. Pictures’ and HBO Max’s Father of the Bride directed by Gaz Alazraki. The full lineup includes feature films, short films, episodics, animation, master classes and musical performances.

“LALIFF Is proud to present a diverse line-up of Latino storytellers,” said Edward James Olmos, co-founder of LALIFF. “The festival has seen tremendous growth, with support from both the film industry and our audience, allowing us to showcase and nurture important voices that the world needs to hear.”

Isabel Castro is a four-time Emmy nominated Mexican-American journalist-producer who offers a unique perspective in her film Mija, by taking us into a world that is rarely seen in music documentaries. The film follows Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, two daughters of undocumented parents from Mexico, navigating their careers in the music industry. A moving love letter to immigrants and their children, this intimate debut feature by Isabel Castro captures the emotional and complex stories of Doris and Jacks for whom “making it” isn’t just a dream, it’s a necessity. Mija will open the festival on Wednesday, June 1 and will screen at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. After the screening, there will be special performances from Jacks Haupt and Doris Muñoz at the Gala.

The Gary “Gaz” Alazraki modern rom-com updated from the timeless classic, Father of the Bride will close the festival on Sunday, June 5. The film, starring Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Adria Arjona, Isabela Merced, Diego Boneta and Chloe Fineman, tells the story of a father coming to grips with his daughter’s upcoming wedding, through the prism of multiple relationships within a sprawling Cuban American family. This sparkling story of a family and its unbreakable bonds illustrates the surprising and funny ways the heart can adapt in the name of love. Gaz was previously at LALIFF with his box-office smash hit Nosotros Los Nobles. Father of the Bride will be released on HBO Max on June 16.

The festival program is comprised of 17 feature films from the US, Latin America and Canada. Every film and episodic will have an in person screening, and a selection will be available online, on demand, from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM on Sunday, June 5th.

In addition to Mija and Father of the Bride the section includes A Place in the Field directed by Nicole Mejia (currently a fellow of the LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship), All Sorts directed by J. Rick Castañeda (who was part of LALIFF’s Official Selection in 2016 with Cement Suitcase), and Blood Red Ox directed by Rodrigo Bellot (his previous feature, Tu Me Manques, was Bolivia’s submission for the Goyas and the Academy Awards in 2019).

Also part of the program are Borrowed directed by Carlos Rafael Betancourt and Oscar Ernesto Ortega (directors of the The Last Rafter, opening night film of “Connect”, LALIFF’s virtual festival in 2020) and Oliver & the Pool directed by Arcadi Palerm-Artis (featuring Mexican actress Mónica Huarte known for her roles in romantic comedies, including the Spanish-language remake of My Best Friend’s Wedding).

The narrative features are rounded up by Perfume de Gardenias directed by Macha Colón, The Other Tom directed by Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo (which premiered at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals), The Second Man directed by returning LALIFF filmmaker Thiago Luciano, The Shape of Things to Come, debut feature by award-winning Peruvian director V. Checa, Wandering Heart directed by Leonardo Brzezicki (featuring renowned Argentinian actor Leonardo Sbaraglia), and the GLOBAL Audience Award-winner at the 2022 SXSW Festival, Without Prescription directed by Juliana Maité.

The lineup will also present a selection of powerful documentaries including My Two Voices directed by Lina Rodriguez (which premiered at this year’s Berlinale as part of the Forum section); Comala, directed by Gian Cassini (an official selection by the Toronto, Morelia and Guadalajara Film Festivals), Pepe Serna: Life is Art directed by Luis Reyes, about the groundbreaking Mexican-American character actor Pepe Serna and how with his work and charismatic persona he has paved the way for generations of Chicanx actors in Hollywood; and What We Leave Behind directed by Iliana Sosa, that tells the story of her grandfather’s lifetime of bus rides across the border to visit his children in the U.S.

The program also includes three live-action short blocks that are comprised of 38 short films, spanning over a dozen countries in a wide variety of genres. Some highlights include Lucrecia Martel’s latest film, ”Terminal Norte”; Shirley Yumeng He’s “Échale Ganas: The Villa’s Tacos Story”, that brings to the screen the success story of one of Los Angeles’ most beloved street food businesses; and Leonardo Martinelli’s “Neon Phantom,” which previously played BFI London and San Sebastián International Film Festival.

In addition, the festival brings 10 TV episodic series, including the Colombian “Turbia” (an official selection of Series Mania in France, and winner of the Television America Latina award) from directors Oscar Ruiz Navia (El vuelco del cangrejo, Los Hongos), Carlos Moreno (Lavaperros, Todos tus muertos), César Augusto Acevedo (La tierra y la sombra), William Vega (La sirga, Sal), Jorge Navas (Balada para niños muertos, Somos calentura, Alguien mató algo) and Santiago Lozano (Siembra, El alma cuando sale).

“You will find some of the boldest films, TV series and music, with 50% of the program directed by women,” said Diana Cadavid, LALIFF’s Festival Director. “One of our goals at LALIFF is to ensure that Latino storytellers have a world-class venue to present their works. We offer a platform for our artists to connect with a diverse and multicultural audience, as well as with important players in the industry.”

Last year, LALIFF announced the expansion of its Latinx inclusion Fellowship Series, sponsored by Netflix, to include five Afro Latino and five Indigenous Latino filmmakers. All ten filmmakers will be premiering their short films at LALIFF 2022: William D. Caballero, Evelyn Lorena, Nicole Mejia, Sebastian Rea and Kristi Uribes were the fellows selected for the Indigenous Latino cohort and Elyssa Aquino, Jeanette Dilone, Alexis Garcia, Gabriella A. Moses, and Eli Vazquez were the fellows selected for the Afro Latino cohort.

Animation Day, curated with LFI’s LatinX in Animation, will include the premieres of two animated series from Mexico “Frankelda’s Book of Spooks” from Arturo Ambriz and Roy Ambriz, and “Rey Mysterio vs The Darkness” by Los Hermanos Calavera. This celebration of animation will also present Cafecito Talks that cover a broad spectrum of perspectives in the animation world, featuring industry leaders and diverse talent and artists. Invited speakers include Octavio Rodriguez (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse), Abe Audish (“Bugs Bunny Builders”), Luis Gadea (“Bugs Bunny Builders”), Karissa Valencia (“Spirit Rangers”), Aaron Davidson (Sr. Director, Original Programming, HBO Max), Gita Rebbapragada (Chief Marketing Officer, Crunchyroll), Andre de Abreu (Sr. Director of International Business Operations, Crunchyroll), Rafael Chaidez (“Marvel’s Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur”), Janelle Martinez (“Firebuds”), and Melinda Carrillo (“Alice’s Wonderland Bakery”), Christine Benitez (SVP Multicultural Marketing and Brand, Paramount Pictures), as well as a special presentation and Q&A from Oscar-nominated Brazilian filmmaker Alê Abreu on his upcoming feature animated film Perlimps.

The festival has three juried competitions in the Live Action ShortAnimated Short and Short Episodic categories.

The jury for the Live Action Shorts includes writer/director Carlos Rafael Betancourt, director of Borrowed, part of this year’s feature selection; actress and producer Julissa Calderon (“Gentefied”); and Yira Vilaro, Development Executive at Amazon Studios.

In the animation competition the jury includes Guillermo Martinez (Director, Sony Pictures Animation) and Nicole Rivera (VP, Original Series Development, Cartoon Network Studios).

For the first time LALIFF has a competitive category for episodic shorts, and the jury will include film producer, political scientist, and intellectual property lawyer Giancarlo Nasi (at the festival also as co-producer of Wandering Heart); Ilana Peña, creator, showrunner, executive producer, and director of the critically-acclaimed “Diary of a Future President”, on Disney+; and Moisés Zamora, creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner of Netflix’s “Selena: The Series”.

LALIFF Music is back for its 5th edition, highlighting exceptional and diverse Latine talent, building community through its Music Industry program, music panels, networking lounges, and celebrating the gorgeous art and sound. In addition to Opening Night’s star performances by Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, the music program will include live performances by spectacular musicians such as The AltonsSan ChaMonogemJosé GalvánBROWNSKINHAZELDanieVoxesEx MañanaHummingbird MeadowsFlaco El JandroPegasus WarningCRISTNAJ GüeroDJ Vick JaggerLABellatini, B-SydeNeyvaNoloves, and more.

In collaboration with AltaMed Health Services, LALIFF will celebrate the work of Harry Gamboa Jr., Chicano artist (photographer, performance artist, director), author, educator, and currently the Director of the Photo/Media Program at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). The festival will showcase a selection of his photography and video artwork, spanning over six decades.

LALIFF’s Industry Days is a signature program designed to connect filmmakers, musicians and artists with industry professionals including sales agents, buyers, producers, production executives, craftspeople, financiers, festival programmers and publicists. Besides one on one meetings and networking events, the festival will present a series of panels and talks, tackling relevant subjects such as crowdfunding in film with Fanny Grande, Co-Founder/CEO at Avenida Entertainment Group; how to navigate a screenwriting career in film and TV with KD Davilla, whose Sundance winning film Emergency will premiere on Amazon and moderated by Jamilla Webb, Founder of First Fifteen; the art of sound post production with Laura Gracia Post-Production Supervisor (“Chicago P.D”, “Law & Order: SVU”) and Juan Peralta, Re-Recording Mixer for Dr. Strange 2 and Avengers: Endgame; and an acting panel presented with SAG-AFTRA, where members of the National Latino Committee will discuss their experience in the industry, Latino representation on screen, and give tips on how to build careers as multidisciplinary talent. The full lineup of Industry Days program will be announced in the coming days.

Legacy, LALIFF’s student film festival, will return for this edition and will feature over 100 films shot and produced by students of the Youth Cinema Project. YCP works in the classrooms of public schools across California, implementing a rigorous filmmaking curriculum that integrates socio-emotional learning and English Language Arts. The two-day event (June 4th and 5th) will include student film premieres, panels, Q&As, special events and workshops led by industry professionals, a special screening of HBO Max’s “The Garcias” directed by Jeff Valdez, a special performance by “Spanish Aqui” and the much anticipated return of “YCPLiveReads” where Latinx Hollywood will take the stage to read student written scripts live.

LALIFF en TVCortos – LALIFF, in partnership with TVCortos for its second year, will present “LALIFF en TVCortos”, a selection of the best short films that have been part of the festival’s program. “LALIFF en TVCortos” will reach a global audience and be broadcasted on TVCortos in Latin America and Spain, and sister channel ShortsTV across the U.S. and Europe.

Festival sponsors include Youth Cinema Project, Los Angeles Times, Netflix, Variety, CNN en Español, Disney Original Documentary, Univision, K-LOVE 107.5 fm, Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo, AltaMed Health Services, FX Networks, BMI, Cartoon Network Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Discovery Access Programs, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Paramount Animation, Disney Television Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, FotoKem, Sony Pictures Entertainment, LA Metro, Los Angeles County Arts and Culture, Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP., High Performance Learning Environments, Fever-Tree, Tres Generaciones Tequila, TVCortos, SAG-AFTRA, Avenida, and Writers Guild of America West.

LALIFF would also like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Golden Globes Awards for their continued support through the LA-Based Foreign Language Film Festival grant this year.

For the LALIFF full programming slate and schedule please visit www.laliff.org. Tickets are now available to purchase through the festival’s site here.

  • Download LALIFF 2022 Poster here:  Illustrator or PDF
  • Download Film Stills here
  • Download LALIFF 2022 Full Program Synopses here



The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) is a premiere international event dedicated to showcasing the entirety of human experience from the Latino perspective, whether through film, television, digital, music, art, or any other vehicle, regardless of platform. LALIFF is presented by the Latino Film Institute (LFI), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to showcase, strengthen, and celebrate the richness of Latino lives through the audio-visual event. LFI develops, activates, and supports artists, creators, and executives through pathways and platforms for the expression and appreciation of their work.

For more information and updates on LALIFF visit www.laliff.org

Follow LALIFF on social media:
● Instagram: @laliff_
● Twitter: @laliff
● Facebook: facebook.com/laliff

Media contacts

Shari Mesulam
[email protected]


Johanna Calderón-Dakin
[email protected]

Scroll to Top