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Below are details about the inaugural festival on August 12, 2023 and a video recapping the event. Thank you, LA This Week, for producing this video and we can’t wait to see you again next year!
The show will be preceded by a question-and-answer session with the festival winners.
LA CUMBRE BEST IN SHOW AWARD WINNER
The Kill Floor – When the Covid-19 pandemic engulfs a meatpacking plant in his rural hometown, a young Latinx reporter (Jaime Zevallos) returns to uncover the urgent and deadly circumstances threatening the plant’s workers – including his father (Miguel Najera). Co-Starring Michele Greene, Ingrid Oliu, Daniel E. Mora, Manny Martinez Hernandez, Carlos Solórzano and Alejandro Patino. (27 mins.)
Carlos Avila is an award-winning writer, director and producer for film and television. His work explores themes and stories which celebrate and examine the Latinx community in the United States. In addition to The Kill Floor, his films include Tales of Masked Men, La Carpa,Distant Water and the feature film, Price of Glory. His television credits include Foto-Novelas, Grimm and Cold Case.
Facebook: The Kill Floor Short Film: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100062971012959
THEME AWARD CO-WINNER
Red Velvet – If being black is chocolate ice cream and being Latina is cherry, the world sees Aviva Ardor as a swirl of the two when she’s really Red Velvet. After searching for personal connection and understanding, Aviva must learn to accept herself for who she really is, a blended whole.
Danielle Gibson is a writer, director based in Los Angeles with an MFA in Film Directing from Chapman University ‘21. She received her undergraduate degree in Electronic Media and Film from Towson University. Currently, she works as the Administrative and Operations Specialist in California Institute of the Art’s School of Theater as well as a freelance Director for short films & music videos.
Director’s Website: https://daniellegibsonfilm.com
Red Velvet Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redvelvetshortfilm/?hl=en
THEME AWARD CO-WINNER
The Delusion of Pisces – Taking place in the Latinx enclave of Los Angeles, hopeless romantic Carlos asks his boyfriend, Tyler if he wants kids but he receives a flat-out no. Upset about his relationship ending, his best friend Amal attempts to uplift his spirits by inviting him to the party of the night. Upon arrival, a mysterious person sticks out of the crowd altering Carlos’ perspective.
Andrés Orellana is a Salvadoran, first-generation digital storyteller born in Los Angeles, CA. As a graduate of The New School in New York City, they studied Journalism and Film Production. Currently, Andrés is the Assistant Video Editor at the Los Angeles Times Studios. Recently, Andrés edited two shorts “FISH” and “The Delusion of Pisces” which have been screened at festivals such as New Filmmakers LA, OUR Pride Fest, and the Asian American International Film Festival.
Gabriela – A young undocumented Guatemalan woman dreams of joining a Country Club swim team in the American South.
It’s the summer after high-school graduation and Gabriela, a young undocumented Guatemalan woman, pursues her dream of swimming for an illustrious Country Club swim team. Despite her single-minded determination, she is soon confronted with her over-protective mother’s fears, limitations on her economic and legal status, and her own self-judgment.
Evelyn Lorena is an actress and filmmaker whose films have premiered at Academy Award qualifying festivals such as Outfest LA, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Cleveland International Film Festival. Her latest short, Gabriela, is the recipient of the Indigenous Latino Fellowship granted by Netflix and LALIFF. She is a Screencraft Finalist, a semi-finalist for the Creator’s Class, sponsored by Michael B. Jordan and Outlier Society, and the recipient of the Footcandle Film and Cucalorus Film grants for her short Gabriela. She recently produced the short, Breakaway, directed by Maris Lidaka that was in Academy Award consideration for the 2022/2023 season. BFA: NYU Tisch.
Arthur Carillo: The Art of Discipline follows an acrylic painter, born and raised in Los Angeles, and his artistic journey through the good times and the bad. After years of facing adversity and overcoming it, Arthur speaks on spreading positivity and educating the new generations about the dangers of being involved in gangs and criminal activity.
HCYKSABT is a creative agency, primarily focused on Documentary film, composed of three filmmakers: Vincent DeMaria, Brian Paul Kuba, & Lanisha Cole.
Vincent was born and raised in San Diego, CA then moved to Los Angeles to receive a BFA in the Film Department at the California Institute of the Arts. Throughout his artistic journey to discover his mission in the world, he stumbled upon his ability to extract the beauty from the experiences and stories of his family and friends through the art of documentary film. Since then he has pursued his passion of documentary filmmaking as well as video editing for music videos and video art installations.
Brian was born in San Jose, California and later grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. His career in Art was blended within the forms of poetry, curation, visual art, and storytelling. Originally moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion, he came across something that never could escape him – documentary filmmaking and interviewing.
Lanisha is a Los Angeles native and self-taught photographer. A passion that was sparked through studying many of the talented directors/ photographers she’s had the pleasure of working with. Throughout her 15+ year career as a model and actress, she also photographed the artists, musicians, actors, and models around her, thus giving her the ability to build a portfolio and transition to being behind the camera in her career. After opening her own Photo studio and art gallery, she realized there was still something missing and that was her love of documentary filmmaking which she continues to pursue today along with photography.
BACKSTREET TO THE AMERICAN DREAM (animated short intro to documentary) – is an award-winning documentary that takes a look at the classic American Dream through the quintessential 21st-Century entrepreneurial endeavor! This deep dive into the birthplace of the $2 billion dollar global phenomenon, Los Angeles, profiles two businesses and juxtaposes the experiences of American entrepreneurs running food trucks and Mexican immigrants aboard loncheras.
This bilingual project takes the audience on a journey and looks at how street food fosters inclusion. A four-minute animation, in English/Spanish/and the indigenous Náhuatl language scored with native sounds from handmade instruments, traces street food from South L.A. back to Ancient Mexico and reveals many contemporary foods with Náhuatl names.
Along with Jarritos and the 2011 Medal of Freedom recipient and executive producer Dolores Huerta, this award-winning bilingual documentary takes a modern-day look at the classic American Dream through the quintessential 21st Century entrepreneurial endeavor, food trucks!
An international journalist with 18 distinguished recognitions, including two Congressional Awards, Patricia Nazario’s career spans from hurricane coverage in Florida and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to Argentina’s worst-ever financial, social, and political crisis in 2001.
El Espiritu – Rafa, a young boy fascinated with a 1950’s Mexican luchador named El Espiritu, finds himself wrestling with challenges on his journey to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Michael Centeno is a writer, director from the Northeast San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles California. Michael’s filmmaking begun in the third grade when he discovered a video camera his father had purchased from a co-worker. Since then Michael has not stopped making films.
The festival shall be emceed, and the question-and-answer session moderated by JUAN ESCOBEDO.
Juan Escobedo is an actor, director and photographer who was born and raised in San Diego, California, US. In 2007 Escobedo portrayed and directed a troubled war veteran in the short film Soy Soldado de Irak. The film generated numerous awards including the Swiss Cultural Program’s Best Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival (2008), and the Cinema of Conscience Award from the Sonoma Valley Film Festival (2008). It was most recently nominated for the prestigious Imagen Award (2009), which honors positive portrayals of Latinos in film and television. In 2018, Escobedo’s other film Marisol, a short film that deals with the horrors of domestic violence and child abuse won the Best Dramatic Short at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and Best Actress Awards for both leading Actresses at the Women’s Independent Film Festival and the Playhouse West Film Festival. The Marisol script was also inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Margaret Herrick Library permanent collection made available to researchers.
For information about his recent photographic projects see this write up by the LA Times: L.A. artist Juan Escobedo searches for his Mexican roots – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)