By Horacio Jones
For 22 years the San Diego Latino Film Festival put on by the Media Arts Center has brought great independent cinema to San Diego. It has become a unique event that many locals look forward to every year.
This year the film festival has moved their venue to AMC Fashion Valley 18 and has a new sponsor – San Diego County Lexus Dealers. During the Media Kick-Off Party I caught up with festival founder Ethan van Thillo, who gave a preview about what to expect during this year’s film festival. Several local filmmakers and actors were also in attendance and I interviewed Adriana Bush about her local documentary “Jessica Fights Back.” I also got to speak with a young local actress, Johanna Trujillo about her starring role in “Lake Los Angeles.”
Phil Lorenzo, Exhibitions Director for the Latino Film Festival gave some insight into the theme of this years festival — Opportunity– remarking that “Opportunity is absolutely important to the Latino Culture, it’s a part of our experience, it’s a part of why we come here to the United States to start a new life.”
I also took this opportunity to ask Ethan and Phil what they thought of the current state of the film industry in San Diego. They both agreed that the lack of a film commission has dealt a serious blow to the industry here. Ethan states that “I think San Diego is definitely suffering from not having a film commission so we need to rectify that and continue speaking to politicians about getting a film commission in.”
As a local filmmaker, I concur and think it’s a shame that such a great city as ours with many amazing shooting locations and talent is lacking a fundamental organization that attracts producers to film in San Diego. Hopefully the new Mayor and City Council will realize the important economic impact of filmmaking in San Diego and do something about it.
The festival runs from March 12-22, 2015 and will take place at AMC Fashion Valley 18 and the organization’s very own Digital Gym CINEMA in North Park.