Their own website–which you can visit here here–doesn't say so, but according to the "L.A. Times" and the festival's co-founder and executive director Marlene L. Dermer, LALIFF has cancelled this year's August ceremony because of "a fundraising shortfall."
This is a big deal, at least by L.A. standards. LALIFF, produced by the non-profit Los Angeles Film Institute, has been around for more than fifteen years. It's a mainstay of local Latino film activity; last year (again, according to the times) more than 27,000 people attended screening of 130 features, shorts, and documentaries, not to mention the panels and workshops.
"We don't like to call it 'cancelled,' Dermer told the times. She's calling it "regrouping" instead. "We will still be trying to do some special anniversary screenings, a day of shorts, some membership and networking events to keep our audience happy."
The board of directors was informed a week ago; the ceremony itself was only a few weeks away; nominations were released last January and theaters like the Egyptian in Hollywood were already booked.
The announcement of the cancellation has been confusing as best. The site itself makes no mention of it, but the LALIFF Facebook page posted this message on July 5:
"Dear friends of LALIFF,
Edward James Olmos announces that the next edition of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) will be in the summer 2013, marking a new era for the organization and the Los Angeles Film Institute (LIFI), the non-profit organization that produces the annual festival.
This year, LALIFF will present landmark anniversary screenings and will host membership/networking events. In addition, LIFI & LALIFF will continue to produce its year-round programs such as the LALIFF Youth Program, LALIFF Preservation Program, monthly screenings and membership events."
…while as recently as a month ago, the Facebook and Twitter pages were talking about how they were busily making arrangements for the 2012 event, scheduled for August 16-21. The site and its social media outlets have been silent since mid-May, but the news still comes as a shock to almost everyone.
We'll let you know as details emerge, and as specifics about the scaled-down showings becomes available. You can read the complete L.A. Times article, short as it is, right here.
Not good news for Latino filmmakers in L.A. or Latino film making in general. We'll keep you posted…