Nineteen youth from across the Lower Mainland and the world, will watch, debate and champion the nine films in the New Directors Competition to select the winner of the Youth Choice Award for Best New Director.
On September 1, the Youth Jury will present the award before the Closing Night Film.

Alejandro Lozano is a Colombian historian currently completing a Masters in Educational Studies at UBC. He is passionate about the stories of Borges, Subiela, Almodóvar, Buñuel, García Márquez and Octavio Paz.

Ana María Tonso Alonso is an Argentinean cinematography graduate and photographer, and is currently studying filmmaking at the National Arts University of Buenos Aires with a focus on documentary filmmaking. Raised in an environment of political activism, she has a passion for human rights and the global women’s empowerment movement.

Andrea Roman is from Ecuador and came to Canada three years ago, which has turned out to be a life-changing experience. She believes in the power of a story and is still trying to figure out her own. She is currently studying at Simon Fraser University for a degree in Biological Sciences.

Angelica Rico was born in Cancún, Mexico. She currently holds a BFA in Film, Video and Integrated Media from Emily Carr University. Through her writing and filmmaking practice she attempts to decode a sense of transitional identity.

Arathy Menon is a Thrissur-born Health Sciences major, living on unceded Coast Salish territories. When she isn’t hunched over a pile of chemistry assignments, you will find her re-watching Timbuktu for the 100th time and eating kbbq with her friends. She’s excited to be on this youth jury and watch some amazing Latin films!

Asivak Koostachin was born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto. He is of mixed ancestry, Cree from Attawapiskat First Nation and Inuk from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, with blood ties to Norway and Ireland as well. Since the age of 12 he has been pursuing the craft of acting, and plays the lead in the upcoming feature film Red Snow. Fluently speaking Cree in his early years and participating in Ceremony throughout his life, he believes that weaving the old ways with the new will be an essential part of moving forward through this world in a good way.

Claudia Hernández Barragan is from León, Guanajuato, Mexico. She recently graduated with honours from Film Production at the Vancouver Film School, with a specialization in Producing and Directing.

Colette Cheung is an avid film watcher and is excited to expand her exposure to Latin American fil ms through VLAFF. She currently works as a Client Executive at IBM. Colette just came back from travelling in Spain, and is looking forward to learning more about Latin American culture through this festival.

Daniela Rodríguez
is originally from Mexico and is an avid film lover. She studies Anthropology and Creative Writing at UBC, and has always been fascinated by the different ways of being Latin American.
Dora Prieto grew up bi-culturally between Mexico, Canada, and the US. Dora works in Communications, using her writing and social insight to empower cultural organizations. Her love of stories has inspired her to start writing fiction.

Grace Escudero is a Chilean-Canadian artist and writer. Born in Vancouver to Chilean parents, Latin American film has been crucial in the maintenance and connection to her identity as a Latina. Grace aims to utilize the creative arts to dispel myths pertaining to Latin America and to foster interest in the culture and beauty of the Latin American people.

José Ricardo García Martínez is from Guadalajara, Mexico. He is a Masters student in Hispanic Studies at UBC and a passionate film watcher. In academia, his research specializes in Latin American literature and culture.

Juan Sebastián Hinestroza grew up in Colombia in a milieu of cinema and literary gatherings, two of his great passions. He founded his own band at the age of 13, has won a couple of poetry contests, and dreams of touring the world. For him, cinema, music, and literature are the frontiers from which it is possible to come to know the universe of what it means to be human.

Kwyn Aquino is a magazine writer and editor completing her Master’s degree in Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is currently researching the history of the moving image. As an online editor of Town & Country Philippines, she covered the arts, style, and pop culture features.

Mariana Cabani
is from Lima, Peru. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC and planning on majoring in Cognitive Systems. She has always considered film as one of her biggest passions and started producing short films during her high school years.

Oscar Alfonso Lira Sánchez is a Mexican-Canadian visual artist who uses text, installations, and digital media to explore and dissect the representation of childhood and the home in Latin American cities. Oscar holds a BFA in Visual Arts and a BA in History and Publishing from SFU.

Steve Tornes recently graduated with a Masters of Urban Studies degree from Simon Fraser University. He is the Vice-Chair of the Advisory Planning Commission for the City of North Vancouver.

Valeria Ascolese is an artist originally from Lima, Peru. She is a graduate of Capilano University, where she has trained and worked with theatre and film professionals. She is thankful for festivals like VLAFF for showcasing our beloved Latin America.

Valeria Bautista is currently working o n completing an Associate of Science degree at Douglas College, and is a scientist with a weak spot for art and creativity. She is a cinephile and an admirer of Latin American culture and the stories that we have to share.