Films shine at 21st annual San Diego Latino Film Festival

Ethan van Thillo, founder of the Latino Film Festival, visited City College Tuesday afternoon to introduce students to the schedule of films for the 21st annual San Diego Latino Film Festival.

Thillo opened the lecture with a introduction to the birth of the film festival, which he first started as a student at UC Santa Cruz as a final project for his Chicano’s studies class.

“The reason I tell that story is because I think it’s important for you as students to take advantage of the amazing opportunity you have in front of you. Whether you want to start a group, make a film or video, write poetry or a book, there is so much support around you,” Thillo said.

25 years later, the San Diego Latino Film Festival has grown and gained recognition from various companies receiving corporate sponsorship from local companies like UT San Diego and 91 X Radio to major players like HBO and KPBS, who sponsor the showcase. It has also expanded from only showing student films to also featuring films from professionals in South and Central America, Spain, the U.S., Cuba and Canada.

The festival runs from March 13 to 23 and will feature appearances by guest actors and filmmakers. Some appearances are expected to be made by Kuno Becker, Ana Seradilla, Stephanie Beatriz, and Frankie J. Alvarez, among others.

Ultra Star Mission Valley Cinemas Hazard Center will be the home of the films for the ten day event, along with a second location at Digital Gym in North Park. There will be more than 150 films shown during the festival and over half of them will be short films. The whole festival will feature directors Thillo believes to be the future of Latin films.

“Cinema is becoming international in so many ways. Speaking French but with Spanish directors, you’ll see a lot of that at the film festival in terms of films in different languages and from different countries.” Thillo explains.

A variety of films will be showcased, including the premiere of “Cesar’s Last Fast,” a feature length documentary about activist Cesar Chavez, which is planned to conclude the festival.

The price is per film, ranging from $10.50 for each individual film with a $2 discount for students and groups. Ticket sales are available online.

For more information on the film schedule, directors and special guests, along with festival passes and more, visit

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Films shine at 21st annual San Diego Latino Film Festival