By Mukul Khurana
In case it wasn’t clear—The San Diego Latino Film Festival went through some big changes this year. The main change was the venue—from Hazard Center to Fashion Valley. Phil Lorenzo was on hand to explain the logic behind the move. Hazard Center wasn’t big enough to accommodate the growth expected over the next few years. As Exhibition Director, Phil has to look to the future of the festival. Besides the growth expected, there was the issue of working with sponsors (Lexus and Microsoft come to mind). Phil added that even the possibility of working in their storefronts was an option—moving into the mall from the theaters to a minor degree.
When asked whether this move might dilute the SDLFF experience, Phil replied that any such change initiates a two-way street: “Commercial elements of the Fashion Valley culture might change SDLFF somewhat but also that SDLFF was bound to change Fashion Valley with its culture.” After all, just as SDLFF was looking for growth and recognition, businesses in San Diego were looking to get a bigger slice of the “Latino dollar” pie. Business and demographics intersect with art and culture. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be of this partnership. For now, the move has been made and players on both sides seem to be looking for a five year vision.
Meanwhile, the weather started to change midway. It still didn’t rain, but the heat started to subside. The little corner of the mall containing the AMC Theaters and the food court were busy. SDLFF is not only films, but also art and music. Though music could be heard, the art was displayed at different venues. Maybe that was the first casualty of the new arrangement? An opportunity was missed to man the music stages with more musical acts. After all, if SDLFF wants to influence the mall with Latino culture, could music not be the best conduit? How else will people know that it isn’t “business as usual” at the mall?
Mukul Khurana is passionate about art and culture. He covers film festivals, watches plays, and writes about a variety of subjects. His work can be read in more detail at http://filmfestivalfilmreviewblog.wordpress.com
He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org