During the entire year, VLAFF programmers view films that either were submitted to our festival or that we see in other film festivals. VLAFF opens a Call for Submissions in February to receive films for all of our different sections. In addition, every year festival programmers attend different film festivals that specialize in Latin American cinema such as the Havana, Guadalajara and San Sebastián film festivals.


Christian Sida-Valenzuela is VLAFF’s Artistic Director and has been involved with VLAFF since 2007. He is from Durango, Mexico and came to Vancouver for the first time in 2000. He has been a jury member in prestigious film festivals around the world such as Havana in Cuba, Guadalajara and Morelia in Mexico, Valladolid and Huelva in Spain, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others. In 2012 he was given a recognition by the General Consulate of Colombia in Vancouver for his work in the promotion of Colombian cinema in Canada. Christian also is the head programmer of the Durango Film Festival of New Mexican Cinema in Mexico, where he specializes in films by emerging Mexican directors. Since 2016, he has been writing film reviews for the prestigious Mexican magazine Letras Libres.

Sections: New Directors Panorama of Latin American Cinema  Retrospectives Special Presentations


Anne-Mary Mullen is a Senior Programmer at VLAFF. She has been involved with the festival since 2008. She grew up between San Francisco and Edmonton and has been involved in the film festival world for many years; she has worked for Tribeca, San Francisco and Sundance Film Festivals in the USA and the Vancouver International Film Festival in Canada. She is an habitué at the ‘’Horizontes Latinos’’ section at the San Sebastián Film Festival in Spain.

Sections: Canada Looks South Panorama of Latin American Cinema New Directors

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Sonia Medel has been a VLAFF attendee since its first edition, Youth Jury in 2013, and part of the coordinating staff team since 2014. This is also Sonia's second year on the programming committee. When she's not working for VLAFF, Sonia keeps busy as a doctoral student in the UBC Department of Educational Studies and as a Latin American Studies Instructor. She is dedicated to researching the issues impacting Latin American diaspora in Canada, and Afro-descendant and Indigenous peoples in Peru; and the (de)colonial potential of collaborations with First Nations peoples. Her current work focuses on community and artivist decolonizing challenges to neoliberal discourses of development, and the educational attainment of minority youth.

Sections: Indigenous Film 

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Sarah Shamash is a Vancouver based filmmaker and artist. She studied film and media arts at Paris 8, University of Saint Denis, in France, completing two Master’s degrees in Film and in Media Arts. Influenced by cinema, her experimental, interdisciplinary projects typically explore mapmaking as personal, political, feminine and dynamic, while critiquing and subverting fixed, colonial demarcations of territory and space. Since the 2000’s, she has been exhibiting her work in art venues and film festivals while pursuing her creative production and interest in film and media programming at international artist residencies and art/ film institutions.  She is a doctoral candidate at UBC’s Interdisciplinary program. This is Sarah's first year on the programming committee

Sections: Indigenous Film 


Artemio Narro  is a self-taught filmmaker living and working in Mexico City. His first feature-length film project, a horror film titled Me quedo contigo, has its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival (2015) and was awarded at VLAFF with the Youth Jury Award. His work as a visual artist has been exhibited in galleries such as the Black Charro de Guadalajara , Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico Cit ; and international as Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco, Hayward Gallery in London. This is Artemio's first year on the programming committee

Sections: Short films in competition.


Kathleen Mullen has had a career as a programmer at Hot Docs, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Provincetown International Film Festival.In 2010, she directed the award-winning doc, Breathtaking, about the grim legacy of asbestos use in Canada and India. She worked as the artistic director at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, and more recently she was programming director for TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival. She is currently the Executive Director at DOXA, the Vancouver documentary film festival.

Programming consultant.