How to bring closer two cultures that are a distance away from each other, with a different background on a different continent? Horyou has met Gisselle Gallego, one of the organizers of SLAFF, the Sydney Latin American Film Festival, a cultural project that does it nicely. Have a seat, be comfortable and let the show begin:

SLAFF - Sydney Latin American Film Festival
SLAFF – Sydney Latin American Film Festival

1) What does SLAFF stand for?

The Sydney Latin American Film Festival (SLAFF) is a not-for-profit Film Festival launched in 2006 and is now a highly anticipated event on the Sydney cultural calendar. In 2016 it was named “the embassy of Latin American Cinema in Oceania” by LatAm Cinema Magazine.

SLAFF is run by a group of passionate and dedicated volunteers who aim to enrich the understanding of the lives and cultures of Latin America by screening a variety of typical stories. These films look back at the history of Latin America, as well as forward to the future, to tell stories from every corner of the continent, whether indigenous or totally modern.

2) How do you usually select the movies? What are the main components/criteria that matter?

In its selection, SLAFF chooses contemporary Latin American or International films relating to Latin America in terms of content, production or co-production. They include feature films, documentaries, animations, short films and videos produced in the last 2 years.

The films should be enjoyable and appeal to a broad spectrum of the community: young people, families, migrants or those with an interest in a particular topic. Our aim is to be inclusive and diverse. We hope to introduce and inspire new ideas and perspectives to our audiences through the films that we choose.

Some issues will always have a cultural significance to our audiences, but we also seek to highlight current events and issues. We try to determine how interesting the subject is by today’s standards and how relevant a film is in the current climate. To that end, the film should fit with or support the aims and objectives of SLAFF, i.e. encourage participation in the cultures and issues of Latin America beyond the mainstream lens.

Screening during the SLAFF
Screening during the SLAFF

3) How does your Community Support Program work?

Since 2006, SLAFF has raised over $116, 000 for social justice, human rights and development organisations in Latin America and Australia through our Community Support Programme. CSP is the cornerstone of the Sydney Latin American Film Festival and the main reason we work so tirelessly to maintain the festival’s success and momentum. Via ticket sales, SLAFF supports community development initiatives which strive to create positive change in the community by addressing social issues at a grass-roots level.

4) Since SLAFF was created, what are the memorable exploits/projects you accomplished and what are the biggest challenges you faced that you would like to share with us?

Since 2006 we have brought films from Latin America to people throughout Sydney. From the west via our Cine Barrio initiative to the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of the Fiesta Celebrations. In 2014 we launched Pachamama, a mini festival dedicated to explore our relationship and awareness of Land and Water by highlighting conservation efforts, indigenous stories and the continued fight for awareness of environmental issues from Latin America and Australia.

In 2015 we crossed a momentous milestone with our 10th Birthday, and we celebrated it by bringing together the SLAFF Family for a night of film, music and food. The journey into our second decade has not always been without challenges. As a not-for-profit, we rely on people power to maintain our momentum and we are really grateful to every single person who has helped SLAFF in any small way. Our network and community is what keeps us striving to bring the best to the festival.

Last edition of SLAFF
Last edition of SLAFF

5) Our philosophy is about universal values that we find in the slogan « Dream, Inspire, Act » what does it means to you and your organisation?

Horyou’s slogan “Dream, Inspire and Act” is a philosophy SLAFF identifies with. By becoming a part of this community we are able to experience and participate in the initiatives and ideas that are evolving across the globe. To be able to reach out to these organisations and individuals means we are playing our part in creating a conduit for positivity that can only get stronger the more people are involved.

Written by Hannah Nunes

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