Latino Film Fest aimed to inspire

It’s officially a wrap for San Diego’s 17th annual Latino Film Festival. The festivities, which began March 11, included over 180 films, live entertainment, VIP parties and more than 100 celebrity guests including actor Benjamin Bratt, who is most commonly known for his role in “Law & Order.”

Although it may entice you, do not let the glitz and glam fool you, as the majority of the reels are in fact real.

The Latino Film Festival is covered under the Media Arts Center of San Diego, whose goal is to promote enough awareness to inspire change for underrepresented communities in the media arts field.

In one of this year’s films, “The Tijuana Project,” director John Sheedy follows the lives of six children, who survive growing up in the Tijuana garbage dumps. While it may sound quite depressing and the facts are, Sheedy also sheds light on how these children manage to unite and yet remain hopeful.

This year’s Latino Film Festival was a huge success and bigger than years past, executive director and founder of the Latino Film Festival Ethan Van Thillo said.

“It was definitely a success, with just under 20,000 attendees, it was bigger and better than last year, we had about 1000 more attendees this year compared to last,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to continue to grow, connecting with local community members. … As long as we have that support I think we should keep on growing.”

If you are interested in learning more about the programs the Media Arts Center offers, scholarships, donating to the cause or becoming a volunteer, log onto

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Latino Film Fest aimed to inspire