Artists' Television Access

Interview with SF Latino Film Festival Director Lucho Ramirez

The third night of the SF Latino Film Festival is tomorrow. Come to ATA to see LGBT Latino shortsFallen Comrade, Recipe for Love and We’re All Meant To Be Queens /Todas Íbamos a Ser Reinas. You can get your tickets here.

Why are you putting on this festival? How is it special for filmmakers? For filmgoers?

The festival showcases Latino & Latin American film. It’s important for audiences to see and for filmmakers to have a platform for their work to be seen. A festival that focuses on this genre is more apt at showing titles both familiar and obscure- though in all honesty our programming is far from comprehensive. It’s special for filmmakers in that their work would not be seen otherwise.

Putting on a film festival is a lot of work. Can you describe that work?

It’s a long process that involves lots of planning and lots of testing. There’s no real short cut to go through a call for entry process. Plus there’s the raising of money to produce it, the strategy to market it, and outreach for support from other organizations and volunteers.

How do you condense the annual output of the Latino film industry into a single festival?

It’s really hard to approach it that way- to condense it all into a program of 20 or so features and another 15-20 shorts. However, we do look at the countries and genres represented to have wider range of voices and stories. We literally look at all the submissions, go through a screening committee, and then take it from there.

In your opinion, is there anything that sets Latino cinema from the US apart from Latino cinema made abroad?

Culture, history, language, and resources are a big part of what sets the films apart from the US. Some countries produce lots of film- like Argentina and Mexico whereas other countries have no real industry.

The Festival is now entering its 4th year, how do you think it has grown? In what direction would you like to see it develop?

We started at zero. No lists or followers. We went into it feet first without knowing if we would be able to garner an audience. It’s still challenging but now we are starting to get some traction.

On Wednesday, Cine+Mas presents a night of LGBT Latino Shorts at ATA. This is the first time you have a program specifically for Latino LGBT short films. Why is this the year to do this?

The LGBT community has been a big supporter of the festival overall and of films related to the Queer & Latino experience in particular. It made sense to aim to have more programming. This year we had multiple good submissions that it was enough for this to come to fruition.

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