LALIFF: Nuevo Rico, Aguilas take home top honors

(LALIFF announces winners)

The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) wrapped its 2021 edition combining in-person and virtual screenings, in addition to the premieres of the films by the fellows of Latinx Inclusion Fellowship sponsored by Netflix.

LALIFF also announced today the films that received this year’s jury prize for Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Direction of a Live Action Short.

The LALIFF Fotokem Award Jury for Best Live Action Short Film and Best Direction of a Live-Action short film was comprised of Actress and Singer Jackie Cruz, Director of Content Acquisition of HBO and HBO Max, Amanda Trokan and Actor, Writer and Director Edson Jean.

The LALIFF Animated Shorts jury was comprised of Executive Producer of We Baby Bears, Manny Hernandez, Executive Producer and CEO of Spicerack Productions, Inc., Doreen Spicer-Dannelly, and Production Designer for Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated musical Vivo, Carlos Zaragoza. 


Fotokem Award for Best Live Action Short Film


Directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre

Fotokem Award for Best Direction of a Live Action Short Film

Director Gabriela Ortega

In Case I’m Next

The Fotokem awardees will receive finishing services and DCP creation by Fotokem.

Best Animated Short Film

Nuevo Rico

Director Kristian Mercado

The Best Animated Short Film will receive a Storyboard PRO license presented by Toon Boom.

Special Jury Recognition for Innovative Storytelling


Director Victor Orozco Ramírez

RELATED: CHAT: LALIFF co-founder Edward James Olmos

Highlights of the 2021 LALIFF festival included a special preview screening of the long-awaited film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights (review to come) directed by Jon M. Chu, the World Premieres of 7th & Union directed by Anthony Nardolillo, Something Blue directed by Mariel García-Spooner and Blursday directed by Sergio Guerrero, screenings of highly-anticipated films including Rita Moreno: A Girl Who Decided to Go for It directed by Mariem Perez Riera, Women is Losers (review to come) directed by Lissette Feliciano, and Bridges directed Maria Corina Ramirez, and the kick off of the inaugural Animation Day Presented by Cartoon Cartoons that included the debut and Q&A of Crypt TV’s first animated horror drama for Facebook Watch, Woman in the Book.

“It was wonderful to be the first major film festival back in-person in theatres with audiences this year to showcase the best in Latino film,” said Edward James Olmos, Co-founder of LALIFF.  “We are delighted that our partner Netflix is continuing their sponsorship of the Latinx Inclusion Fellowship, so that the emerging storytellers of our community will have guidance, mentorship and a platform for their stories to be seen and heard.”

For its inaugural year the Latinx Inclusion Fellowship was awarded to five visionary Afro Latino filmmakers, Lorena Durán, Justin Floyd, Kase Peña, Monica Suriyage and Tamara Shogaolu with their films premiering at this year’s festival.

The second year of the Fellowship will continue to be sponsored by Netflix as part of the recently announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, where Netflix will invest USD $100 million dollars over the next five years in a combination of external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as bespoke Netflix programs that will help us to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally. 

For the second iteration of the program, five Latinx filmmakers will receive individualized mentorship from an established filmmaker, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders from production to distribution and various networking opportunities. More details on the second year of the fellowship to be announced shortly.

“2021 has been a remarkable year for LALIFF. The support from our audience and industry both, virtually and in person has been huge and the response to the program overwhelmingly positive,” said Diana Cadavid, LALIFF Artistic Director.   “We continue to demonstrate to the world that we are fantastic creators and that our festival is a strong and important platform in the cultural and entertainment industries.”