The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival returns for 2022 with both digital and in-person screenings.
Starting May 29 and running until June 5, one of my favorites, in-person events moved into the all virtual world due to the pandemic, the annual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, springs back into action as a hybrid in-person and digital screening showcase of Latin continuum cinema from movie makers around the globe and film creatives right next door.
Bilingual documentary director, festival programmer and film critic Kristal Sotomayor, the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival’s Director of Programming and Partnerships, as well as it’s Social Media Manager, says that “having to work on virtual festivals has taught me about the global hunger for Latinx stories. It also taught me that making a festival accessible to worldwide audiences can further support a filmmaker’s distribution plan in more creative ways.”
Through the PHL Latino Film Festival, in particular, Sotomayor has “honed my skills to lead the Programming Team to curate a selection of films that represents the diversity of the Latinx community in Philadelphia.” To that end, Sotomayor and Marángeli Mejía-Rabell, the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival’s director and co-founder of AFROTAINO, work with its programming committee works to review submissions with support from our Screening Committee Members. “We always strive to curate a program of films that highlights the important issues impacting the global Latinx community,” states Sotomayor. “In particular, we wanted to ensure that a plethora of Afro Latinx voices and talent were highlighted this year.”
Mejía-Rabell makes sure to add that, while the bulk of their programming will be virtual, a number of in-person events, “centered on keeping the experiences easy and fun” are being executed with collaborators including:
5/30th AFROTAINO, Malpica and the Kimmel Center
5/31st Taller Puertorriqueno, Li Sumpter and Ursula Rucker
6/1st First Person Arts & PhillyCam
6/2dn FLP’s One Book One Philadelphia
6/3rd The Barnes Foundation
6/4th Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Termite TV – this event also will be streamed via PhillyCam
6/5th Fleisher Art Memorial.
“AFROTAINO has been a Philadelphia Latino Film Festival collaborator from the festival’s first event on April 13, 2012, and it has served as a co-presenter and curatorial partner for music and performing arts since,” says Mejía-Rabell. “I first became part of Philadelphia Latino Film Festival through AFROTAINO since our work, curatorial approach and values clearly align and joining forces has been great, tons of fun and good for both teams throughout the years.”
And as far as PHLAFF 2022 goes, its intention is, always, centered on community building with a goal to share space in a way where the team can co-create experiences with its collaborators and audiences.
“We embrace our work with an open mind and an open heart, enjoying and learning each step of the way in a manner that continues to inform our programming,” states Mejía-Rabell. “It’s important for us to “read the room” in terms of what audiences, filmmakers, collaborators and team have an appetite for so it informs every aspect of how our seasons are curated. As Festival Director and Chief Curator, my role is to facilitate a process that nurtures collaboration. Our team brings together a phenomenal team of creatives from different disciplines and as I always say ‘if you shine, we shine’, which is key so we can continue to explore and grow with each season individually, collectively and organizationally.”