Rudy Valdez Signs with Inspire Entertainment

Rudy Valdez is under new management…

The Latino Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker  has signed with Inspire Entertainment for management.

Rudy ValdezMost recently, Valdez served as director, executive producer and cinematographer of the six-part docuseries Choir for Disney+, as well as Carlos, the Carlos Santana doc from Sony Pictures Classics and Imagine Documentaries.

Both films were official selections of the 2023 Tribeca Festival, with Carlos earning a 2023 Critics’ Choice Documentary Award nomination for Best Music Documentary.

Valdez’s documentary short Translators, produced in partnership with U.S. Bank, also recently debuted as an official selection of LALIFF and the Tribeca Festival, winning the Tribeca X Award for Best Short Documentary.

The filmmaker’s breakthrough project was The Sentence, the HBO doc marking his directorial debut. Shot over the course of a decade, the film watches as Valdez unpacks the aftermath of his sister Cindy’s 15-year sentence for conspiracy charges related to crimes committed by her deceased ex-boyfriend. Following its world premiere at Sundance 2018, where it won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award, the doc went on to win an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, also securing Valdez a nomination for Best New Director at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

Valdez is at the helm of Bluff Road Films, an independent production company focused on creating meaningful social, cultural, and political stories while championing equity both on screen and behind the camera.

Currently, the company is teaming with Inspire to produce the feature doc Places, centered on Pacific Northwest artist Ben Joyce and his personal journey to expand his horizons of art, people, and family. In addition to directing, Valdez is producing the pic alongside Jason Spire and Meghan Schale.

Founded in 2002, Inspire Entertainment is also known for its work on the hit Netflix pic Outside the Wire and Peacock/Sony’s video game adaptation Twisted Metal, which is currently prepping to shoot its second season, among other projects.

Residente’s “In the Summers” to Open This Year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival

René Pérez Joglar’s acclaimed feature film will open this year’s Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.

The Latino Film Institute has set its lineup for the 23rd Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, with the 46-year-old Puerto Rican rapper, singer, songwriter and filmmaker’s In the Summers set to open the event.

Residente, In the Summers,Perez Joglar, simply known as Residente in the music world, makes his feature acting debut in the film, directed by Alessandra Lacorazza, alongside Sasha Calle, Lío Mehiel and Leslie Grace.

The film’s accolades include the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award for Lacorazza at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Violeta and Eva who, every summer, visit their loving but reckless father Vicente, who tries to atone for the past by creating a world of wonder for them to experience. But old wounds do not heal easily and despite the fun facade, Vicente’s battle with addiction gradually erodes the magic, culminating in a devastating tragedy.

LALIFF will close with the World Premiere of Grassland, written and directed by William Bermudez and Sam Friedman and starring Mía Maestro, Jeff Kober, Quincy Isaiah, Ravi Cabot-Conyers and Sean Convery. The film explores the failures of the criminal justice system through the lens of a single Latina mother whose illegal marijuana business is jeopardized when her young son befriends their new neighbors.

The LALIFF will take place from May 29th through June 2nd at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood.

The complete lineup includes feature films, short films, episodic works, animation, masterclasses, panels, networking sessions, musical performances and LALIFF’s first film market. Tickets are available for purchase now on the festival’s site. Additionally, LALIFF is expanding by creating a new section, LALIFF Eastside, showcasing films by L.A.-based filmmakers at the Regal L.A. Live.

“LALIFF serves as a platform to uplift and highlight the remarkable contributions of Latino creators in film and television, and as the yearly culmination of programs under our institute’s umbrella. As we expand our footprint, we will continue to be driven by a simple but powerful goal: excellence,” said Edward James Olmos, Co-Founder of LALIFF.

“This is an incredible opportunity for studios, education professionals, and the artistic Latino community to come together,” Axel Caballero, CEO of LFI shared. “The generous support of our sponsors has allowed us to broaden our offerings with an expanded industry program, a new film market, and a second venue for our screenings. Supporting our community is always top priority, and this year we are hyper-focused on amplifying the work of Latinas in front of and behind the camera. We look forward to this year’s celebration.”

Here are more details on the lineup:

Feature films from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, U.S., Uruguay and Venezuela make up the program of 22 films, 7 of which will be presenting their world premieres.

This section of the festival will feature a selection of female directors including multidisciplinary artist Mabel Valdiviezo with her latest documentary Prodigal Daughter, Mar Novo with Sisters, María Zanetti with Alemania, Gabriela A. Moses with Boca Chica, Antonella Sudasassi Furniss with Memories of a Burning Body, Carolina Markowicz with Toll, Ángeles Cruz with Valentina or the Serenity, and Lillah Halla with Power Alley.

Featured world premieres include the documentaries Paper Butterfly, directed by Rafael Medina Adalfio, a co-production between Venezuela and the U.S. and Speaking Out, directed by John Solis. The Strike, a documentary directed by JoeBill Muñoz and Lucas Guilkey.

The following titles complete the international selection: About 30 by the Argentinian director Martín Shanly; the documentary film Igualada, directed by Juan Mejia Botero; Bionico’s Bachata directed by Yoel Morales, from the Dominican Republic; and Rain, a Mexican film by director Rodrigo García Saiz.

LALIFF Eastside will celebrate four world premieres with screenings at the Regal L.A. Live. Eastside’s lineup includes F.L.Y., directed by Rafael Albarran and Trent Kendrick; Say a Little Prayer, directed by Patrick Perez Vidauri; The Unexpecteds, directed by Alejandro Montoya Marín; and The Wingwalker, directed by Alonso Alvarez-Barreda.

The short film selection comprises 36 live-action and 12 animated shorts originating from over 11 countries. Out of the overall selection, 31 are directed by U.S. Latinos, 22 by women and 12 will be presenting their world premieres. The short films can be seen either as standalone screenings or paired with featured films.

Among the programs is “Nosotras,” featuring 9 shorts portraying women’s experiences, all directed by women. Notable is the Chilean film Yaya, directed by Leticia Akel Escárate. “Unhinged” offers a captivating journey through films exploring the loss of innocence, providing a compelling examination of the human condition. A highlight of this program is the Puerto Rican film Cousins, directed by Ricardo J. Varona.

“Spaces/Places” delves into the nostalgia for lost places and people, guiding viewers through an exploration of the reciprocal relationship between spaces and individuals. Anchoring the films on this program is Querido Pequeño Haití, directed by Diana Larrea. Carnívora, directed by Felipe Vargas, embodies the spirit of “Ocaso,” a program that presents a diverse array of fantasy and horror films, each featuring characters entangled in the allure of art, religion, family, death and the American dream.

The “Anímate” program showcases the work of Latino animators and the imaginative worlds they create. Highlighted in this program is The Other Side, directed by Niki López.

The festival will present the World Premiere of ESPN Deportes’ Las Amazonas de Yaxunah, directed by Alfonso Algara, written by Tlatoani Carrera and narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio and the U.S. premiere of the animated action-comedy Rey Mysterio vs The Darkness, written and directed by Calavera Hermanos.

A selection of episodic shorts will include the world premieres of two titles. Dreams & Schemes, created by Dolores Rivera and co-directed by Daniel Fermín Pfeffer and Carlos Cardona, and Gringo Latino, created and directed by Eric Delgado. It also includes the U.S. Premieres of The LAnd, created by Andrés Orellana and co-directed with Brittany Anders Esparza, and Vida which is created and directed by Maria Valdez.


The Best U.S. Episodic Short will be presented by FX and the jury members for this category are: Shola Ajewole, Senior Vice President of Creative and Cultural Diversity for FX and FX Productions; Lynette Coll, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Rabble; and Anthony Nardolillo, award-winning film and television director and producer.

The Best Animated Short will be presented by LatinX in Animation (LXiA) with the support of Cartuna, and the jury members for that category are: Sydney Bright, Head of Global Animation at Wattpad WEBTOON Studios; Louis Gonzalez, animator; and Angeline Izquierdo, creative director.

The festival will feature special screenings of all films created throughout the year by the LFI Fellowships, including the Inclusion Fellowship, the Spark Animation Fellowship and YCP Alumni Fellowship. The program will also showcase films from the 2024 NGLmitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program, featuring directors selected in collaboration with LFI.

More than 150 short films will be showcased at LALIFF’s student festival within the festival. The Youth Cinema Project (YCP), one of LFI’s signature programs, works in the classrooms of public schools, integrating filmmaking with 21st century learning skills and utilizing a rigorous standards-based curriculum and a hands-on approach that integrates social-emotional learning and English Language Arts. YCP@LALIFF is a two-day event where students will take part in red carpets, panels, workshops, and masterclasses. The acclaimed YCP LiveReads, where Latinx Hollywood will take the stage to perform live readings of scripts written by public school students, will return this year.

A brand new initiative from LFI, the LALIFF Film Market will offer a carefully curated catalog of commercially viable U.S. Latino films to sales agents and buyers for potential acquisition and distribution. Employing a meticulous selection process, the market will present a selected group of features that are in post-production during LALIFF 2024. Moreover, the market will showcase the U.S. Latino world premieres included in the festival’s official selection.

The LALIFF Industry Forum will feature panels and workshops presented by Amazon MGM Studios, ESPN Films, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, Starz, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Warner Bros. Discovery. The forum will also include three-day masterclasses on distribution and visual storytelling presented by Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival to Host Special Screening of Anthony Ramos’ “In The Heights”

Anthony Ramos will be reaching new heights sooner than expected…

The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival will host a special screening of “In The Heights,” starring the 29-year-old Puerto Rican singer/actor.

Anthony Ramos in In The Heights

The screening will take place on June 4 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

It will come ahead of the world premiere of the Jon M. Chu-directed adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical five days later to open the Tribeca Film Festival.

It’s a coup for the L.A.-based fest, which is run by the Edward James Olmos-founded Latino Film Institute.

The preview is taking take one week before In the Heights premieres on June 11 in theaters and on HBO Max.

The news comes as LALIFF and Tribeca said they are partnering as a celebration of their 20th anniversaries this year.