Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the physicality of human interactions has disappeared. Our entire routines have transformed into a virtual version of what we were used to. Concerts have shifted from crowded, live experiences to live Instagram stories, “Zoom University” has become the new unofficial institution of most college students in the United States, and dance instructors are only a screen away from those who are looking for salsa lessons at home.
The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival is not an exception! As a result of California’s social distancing rules and event restrictions, the Latino Film Institute has decided to move its annual festival online. In an interview with renowned Latino actor Edward James Olmos, we got all the details about LALIFF Connect 2020.
LALIFF Connect 2020 will be the first year that the event is streamed live, world-wide, and free of cost on their website (https://latinofilm.org/connect-2020/). However, this is not the first time they utilize digital resources to promote Latinx/a/o artists and filmmakers’ content. Since April 14th of 2020, feature, short, and episodic films from LALIFF 2019 have been available for the community to enjoy.
As part of their retrospective project, the Latino Film Institute has picked some of the best documentary, fiction, and animation entries from last year and provided access for anyone to watch. You could even have your own one-person, private party with a live DJ set and music performances by Cumbiatón, Linda Nuves, “La Mera” Candelaria, DJ Vick Jagger, and Femme C Mel, and José Galván.
After watching and listening to all the extraordinary content you might have missed from LALIFF 2019, tune in for their next component. On Tuesday, May 5th at 9:00 P.M. PST, join their live digital initiative and be part of this historic moment. Up until the end of May, people from all over the world will be able to experience touching and beautifully executed films like The Last Rafter by Oscar Ernesto Ortega and Carlos Rafael Betancourt.
“This is a critically acclaimed film that follows the journey of a Cuban man who risks his life to get to Florida on a raft, searching for his long-absent father in Miami. Because of the new political shift in America, he then becomes the first undocumented Cuban immigrant, which is really unusual for Cubans,” Olmos said. , after pointing out that this will be the opening film of the night.
Some other important aspects of the festival are the networking opportunities and supportive energy that characterize the space. How will the familial environment of LALIFF translate into this new medium of social distancing?
When asked about the challenges of moving away from one-on-one interactions, Olmos assured that by going on latinofilm.org, “you will find yourself inside of the environment and the community itself. You will be able to go to places where you will be very happy.”
The act of immersing oneself in a film, art piece, or performance allows one’s mind to travel and connect with others. There will also be lectures, seminars, and lots of interactions to partake in. Even if challenging, we always find ways to build community in online spaces just as much as we do in physical ones, and LALIFF Connect 2020 will work as an example.