The San Diego Latino Film Festival, held March 9-19, 2023, once again enthralled audiences with its rich tapestry of Latin American and Ibero-American cinema. As a vibrant showcase of diverse storytelling, the annual festival captivated film enthusiasts, celebrated cultural heritage, and further solidified San Diego’s reputation as a hub for the Latino film community.
Funding & Partnership:
The success of the 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival was made possible through the Park & Market Partnership & Collaboration Grant. The grant, established by UC San Diego in collaboration with Park & Market, aims to foster creativity and cultural growth within the San Diego community. The San Diego Latino Film Festival is among the esteemed recipients of this grant, joining the ranks of other local cultural institutions of note, including the San Diego Opera, Camarada, and The Old Globe.
Screenings were held at various locations, including the historic independent movie theater Digital Gym Cinema, located in the UCSD downtown San Diego hub of Park & Market. The 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival presented an eclectic lineup of feature films, documentaries, and short films that showcased the talent and diversity of Latin American and Ibero-American cinema. The festival celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, making it an extra special occasion celebrating three decades of Latino cinematic culture.
The festival kicked off March 9 with an Opening Night Celebration and Concert at The Forum at Park & Market, setting the tone for the exciting ten-day event. Festival guests enjoyed food, drinks, live music, and appearances from film celebrities. The festival week concluded with a lively awards ceremony and celebration.
Film Selection & Cultural Representation:
The festival’s film selection highlighted the multifaceted narratives and distinct voices of Latin American and Ibero-American cinema. It presented a nuanced portrayal of cultural identities, social issues, and personal journeys. From thought-provoking documentaries shedding light on socio-political challenges to heartwarming dramas exploring love and family dynamics, the festival truly had something for everyone. Films submitted for festival consideration were screened and evaluated by a selection committee and festival curators.
Noteworthy Films and Tributes:
- “Chile ‘76”: In the early days of Pinochet’s dictatorship, a sheltered woman is asked by her family’s priest to take care of an injured young man and is inadvertently drawn into the world of Chilean political opposition. This film won “Best Feature Film” at the 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival.
- “Silent Beauty”: A lyrical and sensitive autobiographical exploration of the filmmaker’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. This film won “Best Documentary Feature” at the 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival.
- “Home is Somewhere Else”: This fully animated documentary narrates three stories that share similar fears, hopes, and emotions around living the undocumented experience. This film won “Best Frontera Feature” at the 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival.
- The festival’s Premio Corazón Special Tribute went to acclaimed actor Joaquín Cosío, who joined the festival for a three-night presentation of his most celebrated films, curated by Cosío.
Special Events & Industry Panels:
In addition to film screenings and opening and closing celebrations, the festival offered industry panels that provided opportunities for dialogue and networking. These events allowed filmmakers, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts to connect, exchange ideas, and discuss the evolving landscape of Latin American and Ibero-American cinema.
The 2023 San Diego Latino Film Festival celebrated the power of cinema to bridge cultures, break stereotypes, and ignite conversations. Thanks to the generous support of the Park & Market Partnership & Collaboration Grant, the festival continued to thrive and provide a platform for underrepresented voices in the film world.
As we look forward to future editions of the San Diego Latino Film Festival, we anticipate even more compelling films, enlightening discussions, and the continued celebration of the rich diversity and talent within the Latin American and Ibero-American film industry.
See the recap here.
For more information about the San Diego Latino Film Festival, including upcoming events and screenings, visit their official website at To learn more about the Park & Market Partnership & Collaboration Grant and the cultural organizations it supports, visit parkandmarket.ucsd.edu/partnership-and-collaboration/.