2011 LALIFF (July 17 - 25) announces official jury


Lupe Ontiveros, Yareli Arizmendi, Sergio Arau, Ray Strache, Lourdes Portillo and Betty Kaplan are among the festival jurors

Hollywood, CA (July 12, 2011 ) - The 15th edition of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) announced its jurors – a diverse and respected group of individuals, including award-winning filmmakers, celebrated actors, producers and renowned Hollywood executives. The group will be divided among the various festival categories in competition and will announce the winning films and filmmakers in those categories at the LALIFF’s Closing Night Awards Ceremony on July 25th at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The 2011 edition of LALIFF runs from July 17 to 25. See www.Latinofilm.org for more information.

“In this our 15th anniversary, we are privileged to have such an amazing group of talented actors, directors, producers, film festival directors and Hollywood executives as part of LALIFF’s official jury,” said Marlene Dermer, Executive Director and Co-Founder of LALIFF. “Each one of the jurors are respected and admired in their own right and we look forward to their film selections.”

The official jury of the 15th edition of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival includes:

Lupe Ontiveros is an award-winning actress, producer, activist, and visionary. Whether portraying ‘La Nacha’ in the Oscar® nominated film El Norte or as a founding member of LA’s Latino Theatre Company, Ontiveros has made both memorable and lasting contributions to the entertainment industry. Among the many awards she has received are: Special Jury Award from The Sundance Film Festival for Best Dramatic Actress for her role in Real Women Have Curves, The National Board of Review awarded Lupe Best Supporting Actress for Chuck and Buck, she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for an Independent Spirit Award. She was nominated for– an Emmy in 2005, for her role as Juanita Solis in Desperate Housewives.

Manuel Pérez Estremera has been a TV executive for Sogecable and director of varios TV shows at Canal Plus España. He served as Director of the San Sebatian Film festival. Mr. Pérez was also vital in the production of the Cátedra de Producción de la Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba. He is the author of 4 books and has served as Director of Cinematography at the Ministerio de Cultura de España (Cultural Department of Spain). He is a member of honor at the Argentinean Academy of Cinematography. He has been honored and served as juror in various film festivals worldwide.

Betty Kaplan has directed every genre from political thriller to a sultry, tropical western to military combat film, TV, documentaries, music videos and episodic. Storytelling, comedy, family drama and steamy love affairs are equally her forte. Her first film Of Love and Shadows was based on Isabel Allende’s best-selling novel and starred Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Connelly. Her second film, Doña Bárbara based on Venezuela's classic is a tropical western. Her third film, based on Esmeralda Santiago’s memoir, Almost a Woman won a Peabody Award.

Ray Strache currently serves as Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Fox Searchlight Pictures, focusing on theatrical opportunities with worldwide appeal. During his tenure at Fox, he has been involved with numerous Searchlight releases—including Academy Award-winning Crazy Heart, Slumdog Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine—as well as Garden State, La Misma Luna and Napoleon Dynamite, to name a few. He heads the acquisitions agenda for Searchlight and actively works alongside Searchlight’s development team in seeking out projects to be produced in-house.

Sergio Arau is a cultural icon in the art-music-film scene in Mexico and the US Latino culture. As a film director/producer/writer, his film A Day Without a Mexican was a hit that served as the banner for the immigration reform movement. A highly recognized visual artist and political cartoonist, Arau won the Coral De Plata award at the Havana Film Festival with his animated short El Muro/The Wall (2001). Co-founder of La Jornada, one of Mexico’s internationally recognized daily newspapers, Arau’s cartoon and illustration work earned him a place in the Tesoros de Mexico Encyclopedia. An accomplished musician as well, in 1983 Arau formed the group Botellita De Jerez.

Sylvia Perel is the founder of the International Latino Film Festival -San Francisco Bay Area and the Festival de Cine de Todos Santos, Baja California Sur (Mexico). Sylvia has created groundbreaking educational programs such as the award-winning “Youth in Video” program, where minority and at-risk youth learn the art of filmmaking and digital technology encouraging them to pursue higher education. Hundreds of disadvantaged Latino youth in the Bay Area, Mexico and Buenos Aires, have studied the art of filmmaking with distinguish Latino filmmakers; resulting in over 50 films, many of them award-winning. This program is now in its 5th year in Todos Santos, Mexico with a result of 5 documentaries produced by children and high school students.

Lourdes Portillo is Mexico-born and Chicana identified. Portillo got her first filmmaking experience at the age of twenty-one when a friend in Hollywood asked her to help out on a documentary. The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo was a pivotal film in Portillo's career, nominated for the Academy's Best Documentary in 1985, and recipient of twenty other awards. Her next film La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead was completed in 1989 and greeted with widespread critical acclaim. In 1994 she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of her contributions to filmmaking.

Michael Greenwald is the Vice President of Talent at Don Buchwald & Associates, a position he has held for 15 years. He has worked in the entertainment industry for 21 years where he began in production at Saturday Night Live and MTV. Greenwald started in Hollywood at Paradigm Talent & Literary Agency where he worked early on with Ben Affleck, Adrien Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Scarlett Johansson. Over a decade ago, Greenwald was one of the first talent agents to bridge into the Latin world to discover, launch or cross over the careers of stars such as America Ferrera, Maria Conchita Alonso, Lupe Ontiveros, Nadine Velasquez and Danay Garcia.

Yareli Arizmendi is best known for her tour de force performances as Rosaura in Like Water for Chocolate and Lila Rodriguez in A Day Without a Mexican which she also co-wrote. Recent films include America, Don’t Let Me Drown and Naco Es Chido. She has starred in numerous TV shows including House, Medium, 24, Six Feet Under, Heroes and The Agency. She has lent her voice to many products, public awareness campaigns and audio books.

Jorge Sanchez Sosa has produced some of the greatest movies coming out of Mexico such as ¿Cómo Ves? and Cronos with Guillermo del Toro. Six of his productions have been official selections at the Cannes Film Festival. He was the director of the Guadalajara Film festival for 4 years.

During LALIFF’s Closing Night Celebration on July 25, awards will be presented in the following categories: Best Feature Film (RITA AWARD), Best Documentary, Best Opera Prima, Best Short Film, Best Animated Short Film, Audience Choice Award: Feature Film, Audience Choice Award: Documentary Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best High School Film.

A limited number of tickets for LALIFF’s Closing Night Celebration on July 25th will be available for sale at the price of $75 at www.latinofilm.org. The admission ticket includes: the Awards Ceremony, Special Film Screening and the Celebration. Admission tickets to regular screenings are also available online at $12 with a $2 discount to LALIFF members. Metro riders could purchase general admission tickets with a $1 discount at the festival’s box office. For more information, purchase advance tickets and to see the list of films and countries represented, please go to www.Latinofilm.org.


About LALIFF: The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) was founded in 1997 by producer, director, actor and activist Edward James Olmos and independent producer Marlene Dermer. LALIFF is a non-profit 501c (3) organization with the mission to support the development and exhibition of diverse visions by Latino filmmakers. To serve as a springboard and catalyst for the promotion of Latin films and filmmakers in the industry locally, nationally & internationally. To develop audiences for such films and in the process bring 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 tinsel town.

The 15th Anniversary of LALIFF is brought to you by:

Premier Sponsors: Los Angeles Times / Hoy Newspaper.

Presenting Media Sponsor: Univision Radio: KLOVE 107.5FM, KTNQ 1020AM,

La Nueva 101.9FM, Recuerdo 103.9FM,

Official Sponsors: City of Los Angeles, EGEDA & Filmotech

Gala Opening Night Presenter: The Coca-Cola Company

Closing Night Gala Sponsor: AT&T

Official Airline: American Airlines

Educational Youth Program: Goya Foods & Los Altos

Youth Program Supporting Sponsor: Fry’s Electronics

Award Sponsors: Show Biz Software, Movie Magic, Final Draft, Fuji Film

Official Beer Sponsor: Stella Artois

Official Wine & Bubbly Sponsor: Barefoot Wine & Bubbly

Opening Night Spirit Sponsor: Casa Noble Tequila

Industry Office Sponsor: CAA

Supporting Sponsors: ITEX LA, HONDA

Film Festival Sponsors: Maya Entertainment, Sony Pictures, HBO,

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg, NBC Universal, Panavision, Harley-Davidson ,Titra, Universidad de Guadalajara,

Festival de Cine Internacional de Guadalajara, So Cal Self Storage

Seminar Sponsors: Writers Guild of America West, DGA-Directors Guild of America, SAG Indie, Community Redevelopment Agency

Official Water: Kabazon Premium Waters

Collaborators: American Cinematheque,

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The National Council of La Raza, Consulado General de México en Los Angeles, MTA (Metro Transportation Authority),

BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts),

Molaa (Museum of Latin America Art), Global Film Initiative

Media Partners: Vanidades, W Radio 690AM, KLCS, Creative Handbook, Tr3s,

La Prensa Colombiana, LATV, Latino Weekly Review, In Hollywood Magazine,

Bazuca Magazine, Quinceañeras Magazine, Al Borde/El Clasificado