Christian Sida, Programming Director
Christian Sida Valenzuela has been involved with VLAFF since 2006, first as a member of the Board of Directors, then as the Volunteer Coordinator, Theatre Manager, Box Office Manager, and Shorts Programmer. He was the Programming Director from 2008-2010 and the Executive Director from 2011-2021. In 2022, he became VLAFF’s Artistic Director. Christian is a well-known figure in the Latin American film circuit and has been a jury member at film festivals in Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Valladolid, Guadalajara, Morelia, Biarritz, and Huelva, among others. Christian was also a jury member for the Colombian National Documentary Prize. In addition to participating in panels and workshops, Christian is also the founder and director of the Festival del Nuevo Cine Mexicano de Durango in Mexico. He is the director of the feature film Santuario: El viaje perrote de Paty Aguirre.
Anne-Mary Mullen (she/her), Festival Consultant, Canada Looks South/New Directors
Anne-Mary Mullen is an independent film curator and story analyst. From 2015-2021, she was the Senior Programmer & General Manager of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Prior to this, she worked as the Box Office Manager at many festivals including Tribeca, Sundance, San Francisco International, Frameline, and the Vancouver International Film Festival. She holds a Master’s Degree in Literature from San Francisco State University and was the co-director of the Robson Reading Series at UBC Robson Square. As a programmer, she specializes in Latin-Canadian cinema and has participated in festivals in Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain. She is the co-creator of the 2021 feature Santuario: A Punk Portrait of Paty Aguirre.
Ernesto Diezmartínez (he/él), New Directors
Ernesto Diezmartínez was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa, México, in 1966. He has been continually writing about the movies in several newspapers and magazines since the 80s. He has been publishing his own specialized column about the subject in the Mexican newspaper Reforma until 2018 and since then, in the Mexican-Spanish magazine Letras Libres. He teaches Cinema Studies in Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. Diezmartínez has been a juror in several international film festivals. His book Vértigo: veinte años de crítica cinematográfica [Vertigo: twenty years of film reviews], published in 2009, presents an anthology of his writing
Masa’n Galindo (she/ella), Indigenous Programs Co-Curator
Masa’n Galindo is an O’dam storyteller from Durango, MX. She studied anthropology and filmmaking in UNAM. She is currently in post production for her first feature-length film Gu Juk gio Gu Yooxi ’(🌲 & 🌹). Masa’n also created a meme page for an O’dam Facebook page. She also researches and writes about historical violence against O’dam people exercised by the Mexican state.
Akira Iahtail (she/her), Indigenous Programs Co-Curator
Akira Iahtail is Cree, Métis, and is a member of the Attawapiskat First Nation. She is from Amiskwaciwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton, Alberta. Currently, she is an Indigenous Studies student at the University of Alberta and is passionate about documentary filmmaking. She is on a reconnection journey to her culture and hopes to inspire others to begin their journey. Akira previously worked as a programmer in the 2021 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival and as the intern in the 2022 Skoden Indigenous Film Festival. Her short film Sacred was screened at the 2020 Gotta Minute Film Festival.
Kathleen Mullen (she/her), Queer Films – Lead Curator
Kathleen Mullen has contributed to the planning and execution of film festivals and arts organizations nationally and internationally for 20+ years. Mullen was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up in both Canada and the San Francisco Bay Area. Mullen has programmed for and worked with film festivals including Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Planet in Focus, Vancouver International Film Festival, and Vancouver Latin American Film Festival among others.
Since 2014 Kathleen has been part of Three Dollar Bill Cinema (TDBC) team as Festival Director of Seattle Queer Film Festival. And yearly works with Whistler Film Festival as their guest services manager. She co-teaches the course for the student-led Skoden Indigenous Film Festival at Simon Fraser University, in addition to the student-led Lesley University Independent Film Festival. She is a filmmaker and consultant with her company Letter K Media.
José Luis Cano
José Luis Cano (he/él), New Directors
José Luis Cano is a graduate of the Dolores del Río Cinematography and Acting Center in Durango with a specialty in Filmmaking. He participated in the IMCINE National Network of Audiovisual Poles for documentary cinema and has taken online training courses on scriptwriting and independent cinema. Since 2019 he is one of the programmers of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and since 2020 he is also a programmer of the Muestra Itinerante de Cine MX. His short films as director and producer have been part of multiple festivals and he usually collaborates on independent Mexican feature films.
Robert Ríos (he/él), Queer Pix – Assistant Curator
Robert Ríos is a 24-year-old writer and filmmaker born in Ecuador, graduated in Film and Acting at INCINE. He has focused on writing and directing scripts for short fiction films that investigate the interpersonal, loving, complex and intimate relationships between two characters who yearn for love. As a bisexual Latino, he understands that a country without cinema is a country without a mirror, so he is committed to doing everything in his power to contribute to the visibility of our culture. He believes that art heals souls, takes us out of solitude and brings us together to be understood.
Daniela Rodríguez Chevalier
Daniela Rodríguez Chevalier (she/ella), Shorts in Competition
Dani (she/ella) is passionate about analogue & lo-fi practices, poetry & hybrid forms, art making in community, and independent radio. Also known as DJ D-Rod, she is the co-host (together with DJ Bruja) of the CiTR 101.9 FM show: Vivaporú, the Ointment for the Soul. She is a pre-screener programmer at the Vancouver Short Film Festival, and a facilitator in public programming having collaborated with Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society and EPFC North. She considers that freedom to experiment, accessibility, creative exploration and play should always be taken seriously. Dani lives and works on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ nations.
Ana Tonso (she/ella), Shorts in Competition
Born to a family of political and human rights activism, Ana (she/her) is a photographer and cinematographer raised in Buenos Aires in the 90´s amid an extreme social and economical crisis that granted her awareness and the opportunity to experience the diversity of realities around her, forming her vision and interests. She is passionate about documentary photography, film and the immense possibilities of speaking our truths through art which led her to work with several film festivals for the past seven years. Found-footage, analogue and experimental works always catch her attention as she believes some truths are rather felt than seen.
She is currently part of the Shorts Competition programming team and the Youth Jury coordinator at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival’s 20th anniversary edition.
Juan Pablo Franky
Juan Pablo Franky, Film Consultant
Film programmer, film journalist and film teacher. In Argentina, he worked as press officer for FECIVE and directed and programmed the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Worldwide Shortfilmfestival. He has been a jury at different international film festivals. He is currently a programmer for MIDBO and general delegate for the Al Este Colombia Film Festival.
Valentina Acevedo Montilla
Valentina Acevedo Montilla (she/ella), Curator Music Program
Valentina (she/ella) is a Mexican-Venezuelan cultural curator/gestora cultural based on the stolen and ancestral lands and waters of the xwməϴkwəýəm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations since 2013. She comes from a family of musicians, incredible cooks, and community builders; she also holds a BA in Art History and Anthropology from UBC, with a focus in museum studies. Valentina has a deep love for art, community engaged arts practices and bringing people together through expression and food. She is VLAFF’s new Managing Director, having collaborated at the festival first as a volunteer, a member of the Board of Directors and the Youth Jury. You can also find Valentina managing The Cultch’s Youth Program and IGNITE!, the oldest festival made by and for emerging artists in Canada.
Paola Chavira Leyva
Paola Chavira Leyva (she/ella),
Paola Chavira is film director, producer, photographer and editor. She holds a Media Degree and diploma in cinematography by Centro de Cinematografia y Actuación Dolores de Río. Paola has been awarded with best short film prize for El Camino de la Izquierda at Festival del Nuevo Cine Mexicano de Durango (2018), Honorable Mention for her film Ovidio’s Metamorphose at Festival de Cine Mexicano de Durango (2021) and Honorable mention for her script ¿Qué está pasando? at Festival Internacional de Cine de Durango (2022). She debuted as a cinematographer with the film Santuario, A punk portrait of Paty Aguirre, directed by Christian Sida and works currently as coordinator at Polos Audiovisuales in Durango by the Mexican Film Institute.