Still from LA SUPREMA (Dir. Felipe Holguín Caro) 

In 2024, VLAFF’s spotlight will be on the always well received cinema from Colombia, a country full of diverse stories with a great tradition in cinema. In fact, the first film festival founded in Latin America was the Cartagena Film Festival (FICCI) in 1960. During its 22 years, VLAFF has hosted a large number of Colombian guests and on more than one occasion we have shone a spotlight on the talent of Colombian filmmakers. It is significant to mention that in the year 2013, the Consulate General of Colombia in Vancouver granted an official recognition to VLAFF for its work in promoting el Cine Colombiano. That year VLAFF hosted Adelfa Martínez, Director of the Colombian Film Institute, and the Oscar-nominated team of Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT).

Still from EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (Dir. Ciro Guerra)

 VLAFF has also been thrilled to present and promote works by the Colombian diaspora in Canada, such as the Toronto-based experimental filmmakers Jorge Lozano and Alexandra Gelis, as well as Lina Rodriguez, and the Montreal-based filmmakers German Gutiérrez and Pablo Álvarez Mesa, among many others.

Rhizomatic Directed Simulation – Excerpt from Alexandra Gelis on Vimeo.

In the last few decades, we have witnessed an increasing presence of Colombian filmmakers in major film festivals around the world: Names such as Óscar Ruiz Navia (EL VUELCO DEL CANGREJO, LOS HONGOS), whose films screened to sold-out audiences at VLAFF; Marta Rodríguez (LOS ANDES SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA), a legendary trailblazer in the world of Latin American documentary filmmaking); Juan Andrés Arango, the director of LA PLAYA and X500, who came to VLAFF to present the Opening Night screening of LA PLAYA in 2013; and, the well-known producer Diana Bustamante (EL VUELCO DEL CANGREJO, LA PLAYA, and many other Colombian films), who is also one of the producers of MEMORIA, the enormous multinational film by the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2021. VLAFF also has a close friendship with Jhonny Hendrix (CHOCÓ, CANDELARIA), a producer and director who has visited and screened his films at our festival on more than one occasion. In 2012 Jhonny became the first Afro-Colombian director to direct a feature film, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and we presented CHOCÓ the following year at VLAFF where it won the Youth Choice Award for Best New Director.

Still from LOS HONGOS (Dir. Óscar Ruiz Navia)

Once again VLAFF is thrilled to host a Spotlight on Colombian Cinema and we will be announcing the program in the coming months. With films by established and new directors, ranging from traditional to experimental cinema, we promise to surprise you with one or two lost gems, as well as delving into the Caliwood movement, the tradition of cinema and arts made in the city of Cali.

We hope you will join us for this next edition of VLAFF. We welcome the Colombian diaspora and all Vancouverites to discover and enjoy what the ever-talented Colombian filmmakers have been up to lately. Stay tuned for our complete film selection coming soon!