Latin American Film Festival Busting Misconceptions in Canberra

The 17th Annual Latin American Film Festival (LAFF) hits the screens at ANU’s Kambri Theater from August 4-31. The event is expected to be the hottest thing on the local Latin American social calendar this year.

Featuring 15 films from the 15 Latin American countries that have diplomatic representation here in the capital, each film has won awards from international film critics.

The free event has something for fans of all film genres. Chile’s offer is Spidera political thriller set in the early 1970s where three members of a far-right group are determined to bring down the democratic government.

If a classic romantic comedy is more your style, Panama plays on the idea of ​​the dream wedding and the extreme lengths people go to to have a perfect day at something blue.

This year’s host country, Uruguay, presents a drama telling the story of social contrasts and interclass bonds in The Employer and the Employee, when an unexpected event strains the relationship between a boss and his worker. The film was screened at Cannes and won acclaim for its audiovisual production.

One of LAFF’s goals is to attract interest in the Latin American region and to break the misconception that all countries are the same with similar people, values ​​and cultures. Uruguay’s ambassador to Australia, Dianela Pi, says the festival gives each country the chance to show what makes it unique.

“I think people get ideas about our countries and then they can see the different developed landscapes and the mix of diversity and culture,” she says.

Each screening begins with a promotional video of the country as an invitation to visit.

The festival is grateful for the support it receives from ANU, home of the Australian National Center for Latin American Studies. However, they are working with universities across the country to organize screenings.

Once the festival ends in Canberra, it will hit the road and travel to some of Australia’s major cities. Ms Pi says they have already locked down in Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and Darwin, but are still working with Perth and Adelaide. Before the pandemic, the festival had started traveling to smaller towns like Wollongong.

“We work with partnerships, especially with universities, but it has been difficult for universities because of Covid.

Festival organizers take Covid protocols seriously; here in Canberra attendees will be required to wear masks, as requested by the ANU, and something Ms Pi says the festival is very supportive of.

With one film screening per day, you no longer have to worry about missing one of the films on the program.

“I think they’re all completely different, it depends on what you like about movies. You really have all genres and all kinds of movies around. All of them are pretty recent and all of them have been award-winning. It’s all pretty exciting and show what we can do,” Ms Pi said.

To find out more, visit

Get local, national and global news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, competitions and more straight to your inbox with the Canberra Weekly Daily newsletter. register here.