For its ninth iteration of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival – Thursday, June 4 through Sunday, June 7 – longtime Festival Director Marángeli Mejía-Rabell, and Programming Director Kristal Sotomayor have decided to go in a virtual direction due to wallop of COVID-19 with a slates of screenings from Latinx filmmakers exploring intersectionalities with LGBTQ, Afro-Latinx, immigrant and undocumented identities.
To that effect, the PHLAFF will be streamed through Vimeo Live, “Providing us the capacity to offer critical films as part of our lineup including ‘Stateless,’ ‘La Vida en Comun’ and ‘Todos Ibamos a Ser Reyes,” says Mejía-Rabell.
“In terms of the intersectionality, it is a combination of submissions and our curated selections, and we are thrilled to see that filmmakers see PHLAFF as a space exploring these intersections.”
Those chomping at the bit for great Latinx filmmaking can check out today’s early offering, June 3, with a Presentation & Conversation With Penn Cinema Studies: Filmmaker and professor Peter Decherney and filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Hollywood and on the media and entertainment industries. For the record, Manuel just directed Charm City Kings, a film which won the Sundance 2020 Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast (including Meek Mill) and was produced by Overbrook Entertainment with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith serving as executive producers
Talking about how the usually crowded, cozy film festival and its subsidiary events (“Music is vital,” says Mejia-Rabell thinking of world premiere screenings such as “Mariachi con Pantalones” and its live band component with the all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache) the Fest’s Director noted that, together, we are navigating challenging times.
“Being in a community is more critical than ever,” she says. “We are committed to serve as a platform and create space for creatives and our communities that foster cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. Everything feels like a mission lately so we want to keep it easy for folks to enjoy this wonderful lineup. The guest experience is key for us. Going virtually enables audiences to enjoy PHLAFF 2020 anywhere and from any device. All they need to do is go to phlaff.org. The festival weekend offers powerful films celebrating our stories, our voices and the diversity of our experiences.”
Along with the soccer-flavored “Identidad: As We Are,” and “Say My Name,” a documentary about transgender women fighting for the right to change their names and gender with official documentation, Mejía-Rabell directed us to “Todos Cambiamos,” (a beautiful story, Panama’s submission for consideration to the Academy Awards”), and states that members of the PHLAFF team will be interacting with audiences through chats and social media to maximize the personal experience.
Check PHLAFF for times and connections.