Skip to main content

 Topic: IMAGINATION IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC: STORIES BY LATINX CREATIVES
How has the pandemic impacted the work of Latinx artists and their stories? Has it narrowed the focus? Broadened it? Or simply changed the stories? Join Moderator Lorena Russi for an invigorating discussion featuring Latinx creatives from different disciplines.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
CHRIS YONG-GARCIA is a designer and cultural producer based in New York City. In 2008, he founded his own graphic design studio, Eyestorm Design. He is also the founder of LatinLover Food & Travel Magazine; launched in January 2012, the publication strives to unite Latinos and non-Latinos with the common denominator, of love for Latin culture.
CARMEN FEBO- SAN MIGUEL was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, graduating as a physician in 1973 when she moved to Philadelphia. Under her leadership, in 2016, Taller completed and moved into a stunning $11.5 million, cultural center in the heart of Philadelphia’s Latino community. In 2019 she was recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the city of Philadelphia Art Commission.
KRISTIAN MERCADO FIGUEROA is a Puerto Rican filmmaker whose music video PA’LANTE won the ’19 SXSW Jury Award. He’s directed comedy specials for Hannibal Buress and SNL’s Sam Jay. Recently, his screenplay MELA received a Cinereach grant. His work is celebrated for its portrayal of working class struggles, systemic oppression and visionary mixed media style.
IVELISSE “Bombera de Corazón” DIAZ was born and raised in Humboldt Park, the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. A life-long student and practitioner of Bomba, in 2009 she founded her own Bomba dance school, La Escuelita Bombera De Corazon, which has been providing classes to a diverse population in Chicago for a decade. She is a co-founding member and lead vocalist in Bomba con Buya. With 27 years of learning and continued studies, Ivelisse has become a well-known vocalist, dancer, and leader within the Bomba community in Chicago and beyond.

 Topic: EVOLVING VISIONS OF THE FUTURE: FROM IMAGINATION TO ART
How does your vision of the future drive your work? What vision of “wrong” does your art address and make right? Join Moderator Jessie Fuentes, for an invigorating discussion featuring Latinx creatives from different disciplines.

Moderator: JESSIE FUENTES
Jessie Fuentes, is an activist and educator in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL, popularly known as “Paseo Boricua”. Fuentes has participated in work empowering young people in the community, the campaign to release Oscar López Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and for the independence of Puerto Rico. Fuentes is currently the Director of Policy and Youth Advocacy at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. She strives to see a more just world through advocacy and policy.

Panelists:
MELISSA DUPREY is a multidisciplinary artist with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy (2012), was developed during their monthly series for women of color in the arts and received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member’s Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. Her full-length play BRUJAJA was selected as part of 16th Street’s New Play Pop Up Reading Series for 2019. She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.
RICHARD ‘TIAGO’ SANTIAGO is a renowned Puerto Rican artist who earned a BA in Fine Arts from Marist College in New York and a Master of Fine Arts from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore under the tutelage of Grace Hartigan and Sam Gilliam.
KRISTIAN MERCADO FIGUEROA is a Puerto Rican filmmaker whose music video PA’LANTE won the ’19 SXSW Jury Award. He’s directed comedy specials for Hannibal Buress and SNL’s Sam Jay. Recently, his screenplay MELA received a Cinereach grant. His work is celebrated for its portrayal of working class struggles, systemic oppression and visionary mixed media style.
NYDIA CASTILLO was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She retired from an extensive career in education and holds two master’s degrees in the areas of Counseling and Instructional Leadership. Nydia is a Chicago actress and producer of her own cooking channel Cocina Castillo. She has been an Aguijón Theater ensemble member since 2003 and has been a part of UrbanTheater’s familia since 2015. Some of her acting credits include Monday Falls on León Rodríguez, The Virtuous Burglar, The House of Bernarda Alba, Yerma, Eréndira, Las Soldaderas, Antígona, Within, Querido Voyeur, Blowout!, and Adverses (an adaptation of Electra.)
VICO ORTIZ is a proud Latin/x non-binary/gender fluid actor/activist born and raised in Puerto Rico. Their first breakthrough role in Hollywood was in the hit Amazon series, “Transparent”. More recently, Vico has had guest starring roles in “American Horror Story: 1984”, the Starz award winning series “Vida” and the GLAAD nominated Freeform comedy “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay”. Vico also recently received a Queerties Award nomination for their series regular role in the award winning digital series “These Thems”. They will also star as a series regular in the upcoming Amazon Prime original post-apocalyptic horror “Narcos vs. Zombies” playing U.S. Military Sgt. Valencia set for release in 2021.

 Topic: ADDRESSING LATINX INVISIBILITY: A DISCUSSION FROM THE TRENCHES
Latinx artists have been historically invisible in virtually every aspect of their disciplines. How has this invisibility impacted their work? Join Moderator Lorena Russi for an invigorating discussion featuring Latinx creatives from different disciplines.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
ADRIAN ROMAN’s work is informed by issues of race, migration and identity while exploring both the personal and historical memory of the two disparate worlds that I inhabit: the tropical landscape of Puerto Rico and the overpopulated cityscape of New York. His practice combines drawing, painting and sculpture within immersive installation environments composed of objects collected from different communities, from salvaged wood and window frames to historic artifacts and vintage photographs. The resulting environments can fill an entire wall or entire room, and often incorporate sound and aromatics that draw upon the history and memory embedded in the objects.
DR. RAQUEL ORTIZ is an anthropologist, educator, and award winning children’s book author. Her scholarship focuses on the visual arts, culture, literature, music, and identity and includes El Arte de la Identidad: Aproximación crítica al jibarismo puertorriqueño en la literatura, la música y las obras de arte (University of Granada, 2011) and the documentary, Memories on the Wall: Education and Enrichment through Community Murals (2013). Her first picture book, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural /Sofi y el mágico mural musical, published by Arte Público Press (APP) was named an ILBA Best Educational Children’s Picture Book. Her newest book, Vicki and a Summer of Change! ¡Vicki y un verano de cambio! (Red Sugarcane Press, 2020) shares what happened in East Harlem, New York in 1969 when members of the Young Lords Organization united with El Barrio residents to make positive changes in their neighborhood.
RHINA VALENTIN A native New Yorker of Black, European, and indigenous ancestry, and award-winning artist and performer, Rhina has captured audiences with her humor while discussing adversity with honesty, representing the values of working-class women-of-color. Rhina has been featured on HBO’s Betty la Flaca and has appeared in nationally syndicated television commercials for Bally’s & 1-800-Flowers. Since 2006, Rhina has been hostess of the popular OPEN Friday talk show on BronxNet TV.
WALDO CABRERA is a two-time Emmy® Nominated journalist with over 30 years of professional advertising and marketing experience. After getting an advertising degree from Syracuse University, Waldo joined 4Kids Entertainment, the company that brought Pokémon to the United States. In 2009 Verizon added Waldo’s online news program to its FiOS1 News channel. Over an eight-year run, Waldo produced over 1,200 episodes that focused on outstanding people in the community. He continues telling the stories within the Hispanic community as the head of the media unit at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY Hunter College.

 Topic: GREAT STORIES IN ANOTHER GENRE: STORYTELLING THROUGH MURALS
Does art simply imitate life or does art make life that is invisible to many visible to all? Join Moderator Jessie Fuentes, as she leads a discussion among Latinx muralists from across the US and Puerto Rico to talk about how they used art to reveal the truths they envision.
Moderator: JESSIE FUENTES
Jessie Fuentes is an activist and educator in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL, popularly known as “Paseo Boricua”. Fuentes has participated in work empowering young people in the community, the campaign to release Oscar López Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and for the independence of Puerto Rico. Fuentes is currently the Director of Policy and Youth Advocacy at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. She strives to see a more just world through advocacy and policy.

Panelists:
BETSY CASANAS is a Visual and Public Artist, an educator, community activist and organizer. She is the director of A Seed on Diamond Gallery (S.O.D.) and founder of Semilla Arts Initiative. She has 26 years of experience in the arts and has created over 50 murals worldwide. Having worked in communities of color around the world, she understands the importance of communities of color to see themselves reflected in the artwork and in the leaders of their communities.
OSVALDO BUDET is a Puerto Rican artist and graduate of Maryland Institute of College of Art. His work explores the physical and political dimensions of colonization and post-colonization, as a reflection of the culture and the interests of the systems we inhabit. Since 2008 he has been living and working in Berlin, Germany, San Juan, Puerto Rico, NYC, USA and Australia. His work has been exhibited at Museums including the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC-Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico), Museo Arte de Puerto Rico, Me Collectors Room Berlin, Stiftung Olbricht, BMW/ Gewandhaus, Leipzig, Germany, Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, Chicago, USA, Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale, USA, MOLAA Museum, Long Beach California, USA and Dumbo Arts Center, NYC, USA among others. He has been commissioned to create environmentally-engaged work for the Umweltbundesamt, Dessau, Germany and Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico.
CRISTIAN ROLDAN uses mural painting as a community-based tactic to resist invisibilization, and objectification by outsider narratives. This practice serves to codify the local narratives to challenge the indoctrination by hegemonic discourses. His art practice and research is based on a dialogue approach where mural painting narratives emerge from the community. He creates public art with the objective to intervene in public spaces, as a way to raise consciousness, stimulate the imagination and preserve the collective memory.
SAM KIRK is a multidisciplinary artist, who explores culture and identity politics through her practice. Her artwork focuses on a variety of intersections which encompass a call to celebrate differences and enact change. Kirk’s public murals often address social issues, as she intentionally uses the public space to spark dialogue around topics of equality and visibility for women, communities of color, and the LGBTQIA community.

Topic: MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE: FORGING A VISION OF REALITY
Art in communities, performances, screens and the written word brings visions of reality to life. Join Moderator Jessie Fuentes, as she engages Latinx producers and directors in a discussion of how «art demonstrates its resilience» and has forged a vision of reality in their communities, performances, and screens.

Moderator: JESSIE FUENTES
Jessie Fuentes is an activist and educator in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL, popularly known as “Paseo Boricua”. Fuentes has participated in work empowering young people in the community, the campaign to release Oscar López Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and for the independence of Puerto Rico. Fuentes is currently the Director of Policy and Youth Advocacy at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. She strives to see a more just world through advocacy and policy.

Panelists:
PERLA DE LEON is a Photographer/videographer and editor. She has taught media classes to High School and college students and was a NYC Board of Education Teacher Trainer in technology. Her photography work is in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and New York’s El Museo del Barrio and Gracie Mansion. She is currently working on a large art installation.
RICO PABON is an Emcee whose artistry and activism are one and the same, with poetic lyrics bound by the theme that life is worth fighting for, using truth and love as weapons. This theme combined with his rhythmic delivery make him one of the Bay Area’s most dynamic MCs.He has shared the stage with other international artists such as Damian and Stephen Marley, Ozomatli, Buju Banton, Femi Kuti, Zap Mama, Meshell N’degeocello, Maxi Priest and Sizzla, to name a few and has also performed with Hip Hop icons such as Run DMC, Wu Tang Clan, The Fugees, dead prez, Big Daddy Kane, and Kurtis Blow.
ROSA EMMANUELLI GUTIÉRREZ is a Puerto Rican filmmaker and sociologist who aims to use the power of film to reflect Latin American realities, evoke solidarity, inspire change and entertain. She is the Co-writer, Creative Producer and Distributor of the documentary “Jurakán: Nation in Resistance,” which was an Official Selection of the Havana Film Festival in 2017 and the Rincón International Film Festival in 2018, where it won Best Documentary. After “Jurakán’s” successful impact campaign with 100 screenings, the conversations with the audience inspired her second and third feature-length documentaries. She has also worked as Assistant Director for the televised “60th Ariel Awards ceremony” in Mexico City.
IVAN VEGA is a husband, a father of two boys. Ivan is also an actor, photographer, producer, and Co-founder & Executive Director of UrbanTheater Company which turns 16 in May. Ivan also works with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center as a program manager for Safe Passage, an initiative that makes sure Chicago Public School students have a safe route to and from school. His overall work is deeply rooted in serving the Humboldt Park community.

Topic: FILM FESTIVALS AND LATINX FILMMAKERS: HOW TO SUBMIT THE WINNING ENTRY
Should I enter my work in a film festival? Which festival should I choose? Join Moderator Lorena Russi, a performer and filmmaker, as she moderates a panel of filmmakers and podcast veterans who have traveled the film festival road before.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
CARLA CAVINA is a queer multidisciplinary artist born in the archipelago of Puerto Rico were she lives and studied visual arts. Throughout her career, she has used photography, performance, and film to deconstruct gender and ancestral mythology. In 2016, she released her first feature film: Extra Terrestrials which she wrote, directed and edited. The film has been exhibited in more than 40 queer film festivals around the world and has collected awards in Puerto Rico, Miami, Milan and Paris.
ADRIAN NUÑO is a filmmaker, actor and content creator from Chicago, Illinois. With over ten years of filmmaking experience, his work shines a light on underrepresented topics and communities. He co-directed, produced and edited a short film on mental health entitled Little Things which received recognition from film festivals in Portugal, Ireland and here in the United States. His most recent project is a Latinx web series entitled Border’d which will premiere its first season this year on the Emmy-nominated platform Open Television.
ANDREW NUÑO is a writer, director, producer, and actor from Chicago, Illinois. Andrew creates content that focuses on untapped communities. Over the years, his work has been recognized at film festivals in both the US and abroad in countries like Portugal and Ireland. In addition, his work has screened through partnerships with organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness and at venues like The Chicago Cultural Center. Andrew’s current project, the web-series Border’d, is currently streaming on the Emmy and Streamy-nominated web platform Open Television where the full season of Border’d is expected to premiere this summer.
ALEXIS GARCÍA is a writer, director and proud Afro Boricua whose work has spanned both TV and digital. She is currently Supervising Producer for BuzzFeed’s Latinx channel Pero Like, and is passionate about driving critical conversations that inform and uplift the Latinx community.

Topic: EVOKING EMOTION: EXPLORING THE USE OF IMAGES AND SOUND
Sounds, like images, engage audiences by evoking emotions. Together, these two critical elements can bring your film to life. Join today’s panel, moderated by Jessie Fuentes, as they discuss the individual and complementary roles of images and sound, using their favorite movies and their own work.

Moderator: JESSIE FUENTES
Jessie Fuentes, is an activist and educator in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL, popularly known as “Paseo Boricua”. Fuentes has participated in work empowering young people in the community, the campaign to release Oscar López Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and for the independence of Puerto Rico. Fuentes is currently the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. She strives to see a more just world through advocacy and policy.

Panelists:
NATASHA CÁNEPA Born in Puerto Rico, Natasha Cánepa is an avid lover of art and animation with her passion to draw dating back to elementary school. She has created the 2D short films Ready to Fight and Magic Play, the latter of which won several awards including Best Local Animation at LUSCA Fantastic Film Fest in Puerto Rico. Presently, she runs a multi-service studio where she incorporates Animation, Motion Media, Storyboarding, Illustration and Post-Production into numerous projects from educational presentations to studio short films like Metro6.
BEN GUZMAN is an award-winning director, producer, editor, and storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. Most recently, he served as Senior Creative Producer at Better Noise Music, managing a small team and creating content that led to three Grammy Nominations and multiple RIAA Gold and Platinum Records. Drawing inspiration from the music videos and films he grew up studying, he has spent the past decade creating a name for himself through his aggressive editing and highly stylized imagery. Garnering over 1 billion video views, Ben has created visuals for an eclectic group of artists such as The Notorious BIG, Nelly Furtado, Mötley Crüe, Kehlani, and Lupe Fiasco. His approach to each client and project is the same: tell the story the way it should be told.
DENES PAGÁN is a 2 time Emmy Award winning audio post engineer and TV/Film music composer for his work for Atencion Atencion for their TV series, trained as a classical and popular music guitarist at the University of Puerto Rico. Denes has worked extensively in the advertising industry for clients such as: Claro, Wendy’s, JCPenney, Proctor and Gamble, United Ways, Toyota and Home Depot among others. Denes has also won recognition at the Cannes Festival as well as Cuspide Awards in Puerto Rico. Have won Saatchi & Saatchi several Fiap metals in the Radio category. Presently, he works as a sound engineer for Reaktor Post.
ARMANDO VERGARA is a Cuban and Puerto Rican Trombonist, Composer, Bandleader, and Educator from South Florida, currently based in NYC. He graduated from The Manhattan School of Music in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Arts, and has performed and recorded with world renowned musicians such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Bobby Sanabria, Jon Faddis, Paquito D’Rivera, María Schneider, Randy Brecker, Benny Benack III, Steven Feifke, María Bacardi, Sean Jones, and many more. Armando is the founder/creator of ‘Mestizos’. Armando teaches private classes in his studio, and has given masterclasses at a number of schools in NYC and South Florida.

Topic: WOMEN IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR: OBSTACLES & TRIUMPHS
There were more women in the director’s chair in 1998 than there are now. So, what’s the problem? Join Moderator Lorena Russi and four women directors as they discuss their experiences, obstacles, and triumphs making films.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
AMNERIS MORALES is a respected actress of the Puerto Rican theater, television and cinema scenes, with a vast experience not only as an actress but also as producer and writer. She is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of film production and direction from Universidad Ana G. Mendez, Puerto Rico with studies in psychology and acting at the UPR. Her extensive career includes many performances in plays, TV shows, soap operas and films in Puerto Rico and Argentina, among other Latin American countries. Her career in theatre includes many performances in plays, such as “La Carreta,” “The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man In The Moon of The Marigolds,” “Back To My Land,” “La Ultima Plena Que Bailó Luberza,” “The Living Room,” and “Julia De Burgos; A Child Of Water,” among others. She has performed in many Puerto Rican soap operas, such as “Yo Se Que Mentía,” “Vivir Para Ti,” and “Yara Prohibida.” She has appeared in the American T.V. production “Miami Vice.” Her Puerto Rican film credits include, “Orfanato,” “La Granja” and “Romeo y Romeo.”
MILDRED AMADOR has been involved in different facets of film and media. Some of her early work experiences included the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Noticias 26 and Ogilvy and Mather Advertising Agency. Mildred has also worked on independent film projects including Flags of Steel, a documentary that recounts the most recent history of the Puerto Rican influence in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community. Currently, Mildred is a CTE, Career Technology Education, instructor for Chicago Public Schools at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, her Alma Mater.
LORENA GUILLEN CASTILLO is a multi-hyphenate artist- actress, playwright, producer, director, and entrepreneur. She is currently a student at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she is majoring in Drama and Producing. In her free time, she enjoys writing, as well as making Fashion, Beauty, and True Crime videos for her YouTube channel.
JAYLEEN S. PÉREZ is a Latina Filmmaker from Bayonne, NJ, also former Miss Puerto Rico 2011. Her first film Karmen which is a romantic thriller with a strong LGBTQ presence has been well received both domestically and internationally. Within a year she already has 5 IMDb credits, including an acting credit in a commercial. Jayleen is all about pushing the limits and showing others not to count out a Hispanic women in a male dominant industry.

Topic: «SOCIAL ACTIVISM IN FILM:
TALES FROM THE YEAR THAT WAS»
The events and social causes that we see, hear about, and experience help shape our views of the world and frame our visions of the world that can be. Join Moderator Jessie Fuentes and a panel of filmmakers as they reflect on the causes and experiences that inspired them to share the world they desire through the films they made.

Moderator: JESSIE FUENTES
Jessie Fuentes is an activist and educator in the Humboldt Park Community in Chicago, IL, popularly known as “Paseo Boricua”. Fuentes has participated in work empowering young people in the community, the campaign to release Oscar López Rivera, anti-gentrification work, education reform, and for the independence of Puerto Rico. Fuentes is currently the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. She strives to see a more just world through advocacy and policy.

Panelists:
SOFÍA GALLISÁ MURIENTE is a visual artist working through multiple approaches to documentation, deepening the subjectivity of historical narratives and examining formal and informal archives, popular imaginaries and visual culture. She studied Film & TV Production and Latin American Studies at New York University and has participated in experimental pedagogical platforms led by artists, like Anhoek School and Beta-Local’s La Práctica, substituting graduate studies with a process of learning and unlearning with others. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Art in America, Terremoto, and Hyperallergic, and earned her grants from TEOR/éTica and NALAC. She has exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, the Queens Museum, ifa Galerie in Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico, MALBA in Argentina and CCA Glasgow, among others, and Puerto Rican galleries like Km 0.2, El Lobi, Diagonal and Embajada.
MATT MCCANNA Video specialist whose work explores health, culture, resistance, identity, and social movement. For 10+ years Matt has worked and trained in varying degrees of film/documentary production in Chicago & New York, including producing two videos for the Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera. Current work focuses on video as a mechanism for community building.
RAYMOND ARTURO PÉREZ is an LA-based television writer and creative, hailing from San Antonio, Texas, who most recently served as staff writer for season 2 of Selena: The Series on Netflix. As a writer, Raymond aims to broaden the film and television canon with stories of Latinx people, queer people, and other underrepresented communities. In 2014, Raymond graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Marketing and a BS in Radio-Television-Film. He received his Master’s degree in Screenwriting in 2019 from the American Film Institute, which is currently ranked the number one film school by The Hollywood Reporter.
STEVEN RIVERA, also known as Kruz Rivera founded Indie Films Puerto Rico in January 2015. Born on April 7, 1989 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Kruz is a self-taught director of photography that has worked on music videos, fashion films, short films, tv productions, and as a creative director for brands, record labels, and artists such as Zion & Lennox, Warner Music Latina, Pina Records, UMG, Rimas and many more.

Topic: «COMPELLING DOCUMENTARIES:
REAL STORIES FOR REAL CHANGE»
The events and social causes that we see, hear about, and experience help shape our views of the world and frame our visions of the world that can be. Join Moderator Lorena Russi and a panel of filmmakers as they reflect on the causes and experiences that inspired them to share the world they desire through the films they made.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
STEVEN VÁZQUEZ is an award winning director and producer based in Los Angeles. A graduate of Howard University, Steve began his filmmaking career producing music videos for artists like Tiesto,The Chainsmokers, P. Diddy, Galantis, and Marshmello. Steve has produced two feature films and in 2019, he directed his first narrative feature film titled Domino: Battle of the Bones starring Snoop Dogg and David Arquette. Steve has produced and directed projects that have won laurels from Nashville International Film Festival, LA Shorts Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, Legends of Hollywood Film Festival, DigiDay Award, Webby Award, and three CLIO awards for branded content campaigns.
JORGE XOLALPA is an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of Mighty Aphrodite Pictures. His studio concentrates in the production of female driven stories. In 2019 Jorge launched NYTA (Not Your Typical Assholes) Films, a Mighty Aphrodite Pictures sister company with the intent to produce LGBTQIA+ and or LatinX content, created for and by LatinX filmmakers. His 2020 film, YOUR IRON LADY, was in consideration for a Golden Globe nomination and received great reviews from members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. His thematic is constantly very dark and dramatic. Jorge has publicly admitted that he is heavily inspired by the works of Darren Aronofsky, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Woody Allen.
JOÃO DALL’STELLA is a Brazilian writer and director based in Los Angeles. His AFI thesis film «Día De Las Carpas» won the DGA Student Grand Prize for Latino Directors and has been featured in prestigious showcases and festivals such as CAA Moebius, SAG-AFTRA Foundation and Oscar-qualifying film festivals. His short film “Stalls” has also played in more than 50 LGBTQ+ Festivals worldwide.
JORGE L. RIVERA is a Puerto Rican filmmaker with a BFA from Miami International University of Art & Design. Jorge is a thirteen-year veteran in the Film and TV industry. He has worked with major networks such as Netflix, NBC, and Universal Studios as an Assistant Director, Stage Manager, Segment Producer, and Covid Compliance Officer. Recently, the American Film Institute recruited him to work as an industry mentor on student films. One of the most life-changing projects he has worked on was the 2019 documentary, «Lost in America,» about the hidden lives of homeless youth across the United States.

FINAL SERIES PANEL
Topic: «TEARS, FEARS AND LAUGHTER: OVERCOMING OBSTACLES & LESSONS LEARNED»
The events and social causes that we see, hear about, and experience help shape our views of the world and frame our visions of the world that can be. Join Special Guest Moderator Antonio Martorell and a panel of filmmakers as they reflect on the causes and experiences that inspired them to share the world they desire through the films they made.

Special Guest Moderator: ANTONIO MARTORELL
Antonio Martorell has his art workshop in La Playa de Ponce where he lives and works. He has been artist-in-residence for more than 25 years at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey. He keeps busy at painting, drawing, installation and performance art, graphics, set and costume design, theatre, films, TV, radio, writing for the press and has published three books. He is the host of the WIPR-TV series, “En la punta de la lengua” (On the Tip of the Tongue), which won 5 Emmy Awards. His work has been exhibited and awarded in and out of the country and in private and public collections.

Panelists:
NEYDA MARTÍNEZ is a producer with over 20 years experience. She has worked on the publicity and marketing campaigns of over 70 acclaimed and award-winning PBS POV documentaries and was the project manager for the organization’s rebranding campaign. Her film credits include producer of the documentary films Lucky (2013) about a homeless LGBTQ single mom who dreams of stardom, and Decade of Fire (2019) uncovers the story of why the South Bronx burned in the ’70s, and will reach a national audience on the PBS’ series, Independent Lens. Martínez is the recipient of a Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund Award for The New Audience Project™, a curriculum and program she created to engage marginalized women as cultural ambassadors.
ALEX RAMÍREZ is an award-winning Mexican-American filmmaker based in San Antonio, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. He has worked professionally throughout Texas since 2014 as the head of his own production company, Mala Bruja Pictures. His films have screened both domestically and across the globe. In 2021, his film, “The Quiet Shore,” was distributed by ShortsTV. He currently teaches media and film at SAY Sí in San Antonio and serves as a Board Member of the San Antonio Film Society.
DANI ADELIZ is a bi-racial Afro-Latina actress, comedian, writer, and director. She works predominantly in web video and on stage as an actress, comedian, and writer but has recently transitioned into directing and producing. Dani just wrapped on a short film which she wrote, produced, co-directed, and acted in called Piña Coladas. It is picture locked and currently in the last stretch of post-production.
BRYAN CID BORRERO is a jack of all trades; actor, musician/singer/composer, writer, spokesperson, and aspiring entrepreneur. In his most recent work Bryan makes a guest star appearance as Jesus in the movie «Hope» playing in the Caribbean Cinemas theaters in Puerto Rico, and his new music group «Perfekto» debuted with the music video «Estoy Orando» in the credits of the film. Some of his best appearances on TV include CBS CSI: Miami, Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, and Netflix Nicky Jam: El Ganador, national commercials for McDonald’s/Coke and Sprint, and is currently the face of Freeway Insurance.

Topic: IMAGINATION IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC: STORIES BY LATINX CREATIVES

How has the pandemic impacted the work of Latinx artists and their stories? Has it narrowed the focus? Broadened it? Or simply changed the stories? Join Moderator Lorena Russi for an invigorating discussion featuring Latinx creatives from different disciplines.

Moderator: LORENA RUSSI
Lorena Russi is a Queer-Latinx Pro Soccer Player turned Comedian and Filmmaker. Her decade in entertainment ranges from Writer-Director-Host for PBS to Writing-Producing for The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert digital team. Follow her @ColonialManFace or follow her home, dealer’s choice!

Panelists:
CHRIS YONG-GARCIA is a designer and cultural producer based in New York City. In 2008, he founded his own graphic design studio, Eyestorm Design. He is also the founder of LatinLover Food & Travel Magazine; launched in January 2012, the publication strives to unite Latinos and non-Latinos with the common denominator, of love for Latin culture.

CARMEN FEBO- SAN MIGUEL was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, graduating as a physician in 1973 when she moved to Philadelphia. Under her leadership, in 2016, Taller completed and moved into a stunning $11.5 million, cultural center in the heart of Philadelphia’s Latino community. In 2019 she was recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the city of Philadelphia Art Commission.

KRISTIAN MERCADO FIGUEROA is a Puerto Rican filmmaker whose music video PA’LANTE won the ’19 SXSW Jury Award. He’s directed comedy specials for Hannibal Buress and SNL’s Sam Jay. Recently, his screenplay MELA received a Cinereach grant. His work is celebrated for its portrayal of working class struggles, systemic oppression and visionary mixed media style.
IVELISSE “Bombera de Corazón” DIAZ was born and raised in Humboldt Park, the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. A life-long student and practitioner of Bomba, in 2009 she founded her own Bomba dance school, La Escuelita Bombera De Corazon, which has been providing classes to a diverse population in Chicago for a decade. She is a co-founding member and lead vocalist in Bomba con Buya. With 27 years of learning and continued studies, Ivelisse has become a well-known vocalist, dancer, and leader within the Bomba community in Chicago and beyond.

Alejandro Molina

Author Alejandro Molina

More posts by Alejandro Molina