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Edward James Olmos to host at 14th L.A. Latino International Filmfest's Filmmaker panel discussion about immigration issues

Photo: Actor Edward James Olmos

LOS ANGELES, CA July 22, 2010 – The 14th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) announces that the filmmaker panel, "A Dialogue on Immigration Issues: We Are America/Nosotros Somos America" will be featured as a centerpiece of the film festival’s planned panel series for this year’s edition of LALIFF, the premier Latino international film festival in the United States.

Taking place at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa (1755 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood) Tuesday, August 24, 5:00PM-7:00PM, the anticipated event will be co-sponsored with the UCLA Latin American Institute.

Presented with LALIFF’s series of films on immigration including Esaú Meléndez’s IMMIGRANT NATION, the panel will address the issue of immigration as a civil rights crisis impacting the Latino immigrant community that has culminated with Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070.

Moderated by Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip La Cucaracha and Host of KPFK-FM’s “Pocho Hour of Power,” the panel will take an incisive and critical look at the current plight of immigrant workers in the United States.

Following the passing of Arizona’s controversial law, some states have taken steps to isolate Arizona to voice their opposition, while others are preparing similar legislation in its wake. Meanwhile, as the nationwide debate continues to heat up this summer, immigrant workers, who have long been a part of our nation, are being subjected to racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement at the same time they are, increasingly, targeted for violent hate crimes.

Filmmakers like Meléndez will be joined by Latino minds such as Professor Justin Akers Chacon (San Diego Community College), co-author of the book, No One is Illegal, for a spirited discussion that will go beyond the politicians and media figures that have encouraged anti-immigrant politics by spreading false propaganda scapegoating immigrants for our nation’s problems. The conversation will then reach beyond the politics to delve into the civil rights crisis that has resulted in the separation of families, and increased violence against the immigrant community.

Actor, filmmaker and LALIFF Chairman, Edward James Olmos stressed the necessity for a substantial dialogue from the Latino point of view, saying “The current events in Arizona has delivered a potentially life changing moment at the doorstep of Latinos. The films we show at LALIFF this year and for years to come will be influenced by the actions of a country that so many in our community have embraced and adopted as their home. But this goes beyond art. This goes to a larger understanding of a very complicated issue.”

LALIFF Executive Director Marlene Dermer agreed, adding “From the beginning, LALIFF has sought to bring people and communities together through our films and the meeting of minds with our attending filmmakers. Central to that effort is a message of a crucial need for unity, comprehension and participation among cultures in this country. We see this particular panel as an opportunity for our film festival to spur and inspire a very timely dialogue from a viewpoint that we have yet to see from today’s pundits and politicians.”

LALIFF is scheduled for August 19-25, 2010 at the Chinese 6 Mann Cinemas, Last year, LALIFF drew an attendance in excess of 15,000 over the course of its 6 day run. In 2010, the film festival will include a full line-up of international award-winning features, short films, panels, workshops, musical performances and networking events.

Additional information can be found at

About LALIFF: The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) was founded in 1997 by producer, director, actor and activist Edward James Olmos; independent producer and programmer Marlene Dermer, and independent film and music producer George Hernández†. LALIFF is a non-profit 501c (3) organization with the mission to support the development and exhibition of diverse visions by Latino filmmakers and to promote awareness of the richness and diversity of Latin cultures, artistry and countries through film, the most powerful medium in the world. A competitive festival with prizes, LALIFF serves as a venue where Latino filmmakers come together with industry buyers and distributors. LALIFF also offers industry workshops, panels, labs, networking receptions, educational programs, and hosts some of the best Galas in tinseltown.


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