"Cinema Without Borders"
The festival was founded in 2010 by Dr. Zulema Moret, Professor of Spanish at Grand Valley State University and Daniel Garcia, Filmmaker and Professor of Film at Calvin College. Under Moret's four-year leadership, and in subsequent years, the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival (GRLAFF) has brought a selection of award-winning, independent films by Latin American and Latino directors to the Wealthy Theatre. In past years, over 1,000 people have attended the event. The Festival began as a collaborative effort among several educational institutions in the area, with Grand Valley State University as the fiscal administrator, and today the members of the GRLAFF organizing committee are a diverse group of academic and community professionals with backgrounds and expertise in Latin American culture, the arts, film, communications, and education.
The mission of the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival is to foster a nuanced understanding of Latin American and Latino experiences through the art of film, to provide opportunities for constructive dialogue across cultures, and to enrich the social fabric of our community.
- To show a high-caliber selection of recent Latin American films which represent diverse perspectives, origins, and themes.
- To ensure that admission is free to the public, making the festival accessible to students and a broad audience from the community.
- To offer students and community members opportunities to engage with filmmakers and commentators while relating the films to their own experiences.
A Note About Language
The GRLAFF organizing committee would like to acknowledge that many languages are spoken throughout Latin America. In addition to providing information about the festival in English, we have included Spanish as it is a commonly spoken language in West Michigan. While Spanish is the official language of many Latin American countries, the official language of the largest Latin American country, Brazil, is Portuguese. Latin Americans also speak Dutch, French, Haitian Kreyol, English, indigenous languages, and other languages and dialects. Some of these languages are spoken in the films selected for this year’s festival, and we hope to represent more of these diverse voices in the future.