About the International Latino Film Festival

The International Latino Film Festival – San Francisco Bay Area (ILFF) was created to give voice to Latino cultural expression through the powerful medium of film. The ILFF began as a grassroots organization 10 years ago, presenting just 10 films at a single venue. In 2007 the Festival presented almost 100 films at 14 venues throughout the Bay Area.

Presented by the International Latino Film Society , the 11th Festival took place November 2 - 18, 2007 spanning eight Bay Area cities San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, San Rafael, San Bruno, Berkeley and Sacramento.

The Festival showcases the best in new international Latino cinema, applauds emerging talent and pays tribute to celebrated Latino actors, directors and producers. The films represent a rich and varied view of the social, political and economic perspectives of Latinos both here in the United States and across the continents. From documentaries covering the issues surrounding Latino immigrant farm workers to films that represent the Jewish experience in the Hispanic world to the Women in Film series, the programs presented by the ILFF are a valuable cultural resource for the Bay Area community.

Each year the Festival has grown in attendance, prestige and international recognition. Since its inception more than 110,000 people have already enjoyed over 450 feature films, and an equal number of short films and documentaries. The Festival invites many international guests including directors, producers and actors to attend the program each year. In 2002 the Festival premiered “Frida”, including special presentations by actor/producer Salma Hayek at the SF MOMA. In 2003 the Festival awarded its first ever Lifetime Achievement award to visionary producer Moctesuma Esparza, presented by actor Andy Garcia. The following year the Festival presented lifetime achievement awards to industry veterans actor Arcelia Ramírez and director Arturo Ripstein. In 2005 the Festival hosted a tribute to actor John Leguizamo and November 4th was declared ‘International Latino Film Festival Day’ by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The ILFF is known for the quality and scope of its programming and shares curatorial exchanges with prestigious international film festivals around the world. In 2005 and 2006 the ILFF curated and presented the “Latinos in the US” section of the Málaga Film Festival in Spain. For the 10th Anniversary Festival in 2006 the ILFF will host the premiere “Conference of International Latino Film Festivals” – inviting ten festival directors from eight different countries to attend this groundbreaking event.

The International Latino Film Society also runs a Youth in Video Program, which inspires and teaches minority and at-risk youth the art of filmmaking, has produced nearly 20 films over the past nine years including the award winning short film, “Silent Shadows” which was acquired by HBO. The 2002 YIV film “Chávez 101” won the San Francisco International Film Festival Award for Best Youth Work. In 2005 the YIV film “La Llorona” was awarded Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara Youth Festival. As part of the tenth anniversary Festival in 2006, the ILFF will present a Youth in Video retrospective, showcasing the work the students have produced since the program’s inception.

Executive Staff

Sylvia Perel - Founder & Festival Director
John Petrovsky Carvajal - Co-Director
Kerensa Demars - Associate Director
Dan Hirst - Communications Director


Sylvia Perel, Artistic Director
Charlotte Von Hemert, Programming Associate


Lou Ramirez, Corporate Sponsorship
Kerensa Demars, Grants
Kristan Almgren, MPA
Clara Garza
Lucy Vargas

Events & Coordination

Michelle Mokalla - San Francisco Events Coordinator
Lucy Vargas - Marin Events Coordinator
Virginia Chavez - ILFS San José Chapter Coordinator
Luis Lecanda - ILFS San José Outreach Coordinator
Jennifer Blanco - ILFS Peninsula Chapter Coordinator


Kerensa Demars

Guest Services

Vanessa Topper

Public Relations - General, Latino & San Jose

Clara Garza, Lighthouse Media Group

Public Relations - General

Mona Baroudi


Alex Cantin, Coordinator

Program Guide

Dan Hirst
Kerensa Demars

Festival Assistany

Dana Frankoff

Website Design

Dan Hirst




Board of Directors

John Petrovsky, Chair
Sandra Acevedo, Vice Chair
Reynaldo Arellano, CPA., Treasurer
Miguel Ruelas, Secretary
Sylvia Perel, Founder
Ninfa Maza Dawson
June Chatterjee
Rick Hess
Jonathan Perel

Honorary Board

Isabel Allende - Author
Tamara Alvarado - MACLA
Nora Campos - San José City Council
Moctesuma Esparza - Producer
Carmen & Al Castellano - Castellano Family Foundation
Ysabel Duron - KRON
Bruno Figueroa - Consul General of Mexico (San José)
Salma Hayek - Actress
Sandra Hernandez - San Francisco Foundation
Lourdes Portillo - Director
Luis Valdez - Director/Writer
Daniel Valdez - Actor
Eugenio Zanetti - Director