La Prensa América presents:

Two decades later, it’s fiesta time for Latino Film

By Pablo J. Sáinz

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 - PinataIt’s time to break the piñata. The San Diego Film Festival will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this March, and it recently announced the poster design that will commemorate its two decades of promoting Latino films in the San Diego region.

The selected poster, which was announced on Jan. 9 at an event at Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery, is very appropriate for the occasion. It features a film camera-shaped colorful piñata, created and photographed by poster designer Juan Luis Garcia.

It’s an honor to have my poster represent the 20th anniversary of the festival,” said Garcia, a Los Angeles-based artist specializing in photography and graphic design. “I’m happy and excited to see the image being used on all the promo materials and the piñata to be on display at the festival.”

The poster was selected from more than 120 entries from all over the world. A selection committee of local artists and design experts chose this year’s winning selection.

For the film festival, the poster is important because it represents the festival throughout the community that year. For the artist, it can mean more work, because the poster is displayed on all festival marketing materials, television commercials, festival promos, newspaper ads, t-shirts, and more.

“I’m looking forward to it and hoping to get some graphic design or photography work from this,” Garcia said.
Ethan van Thillo, founder of the San Diego Latino Film Festival and executive director of the San Diego Media Arts Center, said that when one looks at Garcia’s poster, the first thing that comes to mind is a fiesta.

“This year’s poster winner is full of life, color and celebration,” Van Thillo said. “A piñata always signifies a party, so it’s a perfect fit for our 20th anniversary!”

In 20 years, the San Diego Latino Film Festival has evolved into one of the most important Latino film festivals in the United States. When he found-ed the festival, Van Thillo said that he wanted to expose as many people as possible to Latino films.

The poster features a film camera-shaped colorful piñata created and photographed by poster designer Juan Luis Garcia.
The poster features a film camera-shaped colorful piñata created and photographed by poster designer Juan Luis Garcia.

“It’s always been the goal to create a film festival that reaches the many 1000s of film lovers in both San Diego County and Baja California,” he said. “Even though the film festival reaches more than 20,000 attendees today, we believe we can reach so many more. There’s so much potential. The festival will continue to grow and strive to reach the many diverse communities here in this region and continue to provide films and year-round programming that educate and entertain audiences.”

This year’s festival will take place March 7-17, and to commemorate the 20th anniversary, there will be several highlights, Van Thillo said.

“We’re excited about our 20th Anniversary film showcase, celebrating 10 ground-breaking Latino films from the past 20 years,” he said. “The festival will screen classics from Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Iñarrittu, Guillermo del Toro, Pedro Almodovar, Robert Rodriguez and more!”

Two decades ago, there wasn’t much interest for Latino film in San Diego. Today, that has changed thanks to the efforts of Van Thillo and an army of committed volunteers that have turned the San Diego Latino Film Festival into an annual San Diego tradition.

“This is an important year for the San Diego Latino Film Festival,” Van Thillo said. “Not only will we gather in celebration of 20 years, but it will be the start of a new 20 years. So, we encourage all San Diegans to come out and support this important community festival, that provides so much joy, pride, and entertainment to all those who attend.”

For updates on this year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival, visit

One comment on “Two decades later, it’s fiesta time for Latino Film

[…] a happier note the Latino Film Festival began the year celebrating 20 years of providing quality Latino films to San Diego audiences, under […]

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