Adjusting to this unforeseen reality has been a mission. But, just as expected, creatives are pushing forth despite everything going on. One of those creatives is Arilyn Martínez-Cora, who is the founder and director of the Latino Film Market (LFM), which has been running yearly in New York City for the past few years.
The LFM is an event that creates, showcases, and promotes Latino content and upcoming filmmakers. It achieves its goal by preserving Latin American culture through film exhibitions, curated activities, and education for those in the United States and abroad. Knowing how vital LFM is for creatives in NYC and in the Latinx community around the world, Martínez-Cora made sure to keep the show running this year as well. In order to satisfy social distancing and safety precautions, she has decided to hold the fourth annual LFM virtually via Seed and Spark platform from July 27th thru August 2nd. This is the type of news we all need right about now. Don’t you agree?
Martínez-Cora grew up in the small town of Guayama, Puerto Rico, where its tropical breezes lure you into cerulean waves that splash on a seabed of magical history, easily making this place the envy of other places in the world. Though her ambition was born in the Caribbean, it was further developed when she moved to the acclaimed capital of the world, New York City, to pursue a career as a filmmaker. It is then that her dream to have an inclusive place for other filmmakers started to materialize.
BELatina had the privilege of speaking to Martínez-Cora recently to get more insight on the Latino Film Market. This is what she told us:
Can you tell us a bit about the origin of LFM?
Everything started when I moved to New York City to study film. Once here, I started seeing that a lot of films that we were making in school were only being shown at film festivals. After that initial exposure, nothing else would happen with the films. So, I decided to start the Latino Film Market in order to help in providing education to filmmakers so that they could acquire well-rounded learning on all the aspects of the film industry. For instance, at this festival, they can learn about distribution, which will allow them to plan on how to distribute their content.
What programs can we expect at this year’s virtual festival?
We have a lot planned! First, since I’ve often gotten questions from people asking where they can get funding for their film or project, I decided it was imperative to include panels tailored to just that. This year, we partnered with an organization named Candid, who will be teaching participants about grants and grant writing as well as how to budget. The reality is that there is a lot of money available for creative projects in New York and for many other Latinx people throughout the United States. So, that’s one of the more important panels we will be featuring this year. We also have panels about distribution and marketing, which is very exciting. Aside from all of that, we’ve planned a concert featuring Latinx artists as well. Moreover, we are streaming around 49 films from New York, Latin America, and other parts of the U.S. that are readily accessible for anyone interested in this event. Most films can be translated into Spanish or English via subtitles.
Aside from the LFM being virtual, what else is new this year?
Well, we’ve introduced art as our new component this year. Oftentimes, we feel that artists don’t understand how much more valuable it is for their projects to rent or buy art from the artist directly rather than going to a big store. It is important to educate up and coming filmmakers to build connections with artists so that they can use their artwork in any future event. We will be hosting a virtual Latinx exhibition in the hopes that it will allow filmmakers to meet artists so that they can use real art with their work in an upcoming project.
What is expected of the festival this year?
We want people to enjoy films from different parts of Latin America and to learn from Latinos that live in the diaspora. We also want the world to use the LFM as an opportunity to educate themselves on Latinx culture and to be able to make connections to our creations after being exposed to it. By doing this, people may be able to use their learnings for future projects and augment them to greater standards. Ultimately, we want every participant to enjoy their experience.
How can people access the festival?
We are going to be live on Latino Film Market’s Facebook page for the panels and workshops. For those who can’t catch us live, we are also going to be uploading our events on YouTube so people can come back whenever they want.
Is there a fee?
The festival is free of charge this year. However, as everyone knows, this pandemic has been a financial hit for many people, including Latinx creatives. So, we ask people to support Latinx filmmakers by paying 10 dollars and you’d get access to all the films. Or, people can pay 5 dollars and watch a badge (seven short films) or one feature film. Please be on the lookout for events that do ask for you to register, like the one with Christina Raia, so that you can access them.
Any words of motivation for the creators reading BELatina?
Educate yourself but put into practice what you learn. Just do it. With no fear or fear. ¡Temblando o como sea!
I would love for people to take this opportunity to learn and to look out for innovation and skills you can gain for future projects. Also, take your time, write, and connect with other people that are not from your own circle. If you are a creator, for example, meet with a marketer or another filmmaker that can help you by revising your work. One last thing: Be ready because when everything opens up again, we have to go back and be able to work more than ever.