CREATIVE TEAM

 

Marángeli Mejía Rabell
Festival Director

Throughout her years in the city of Brotherly Love, Marángeli has engaged in a wide range of community development efforts and arts/culture initiatives designed to support the empowerment process of Puerto Ricans/Latinos and collective impact. Her professional philosophy is centered on her commitment to the community’s educational, professional and personal growth and utilizing arts & culture as a tool for social change.

She serves as the Director of Community Economic Development at the Village of Arts and Humanities. Her work focuses on exploring the intersection of arts and culture and economic development through efforts and collaborations in areas of commercial corridor revitalization, workforce development, entrepreneurship and the creative economy. Through her work with AfroTaino Productions, she has served as a resource to brands & corporations, co developed and executed comprehensive campaigns/special events and produced arts/culture programming and special events/campaigns in the public and private arena targeting multicultural audiences.

Marángeli’s work as an actor, teacher, facilitator, organizer, consultant, curator, programmer among many others has supported her in developing a unique approach focused on collaboration and a social capital development process.

Website

 

Eunice Levis
Development

Eunice Levis has over a decade of business development, professional writing, media management and production experience. She has worked with several top media and entertainment organizations including El Diario-La Prensa, New York Post, Urban Latino Magazine, Women’s Media Group and Corbis – Second Line Search.

Originally, from the Bronx, NY, Eunice has a distinct flair for capturing the visual story. Her storytelling is further stylized by her viewpoint as a first generation American. She has written, directed and/or produced several public service announcements (PSA), short form documentaries, films and commercial projects. Her most recent production “The Price of Blackness”, written by Lanre Akinsiku and co-directed by Linda Nieves Powell, illustrates monologues inspired by Akinsiku’s Gawker.com article of the same title. The article was inspired by the Ferguson, MO shooting and subsequent activities. The piece garnered several mentions including references by actor and political commentator DL Hughley and Websites Upworthy and Atlantic Black Star.

Eunice also executive produced HBO Short Films finalist “Crazy Beats Strong Every Time”, directed by Moon Molson. Other large-scale productions include two PSAs “Vote for Respect” and “Do I look illegal?” The “Vote for Respect” PSA, produced for NCLR was an English, Spanish and bilingual announcement meant to stimulate the Latino vote for the 2012 election. The “Do I look illegal” PSA was created to visually promote discrimination awareness in regards to Arizona’s anti-immigration law.

In addition to her development and production work, Eunice occasionally teaches. Most recently she served as technical instructor for the Youth in Future Films initiative. A summer youth training and employment opportunity made possible through a partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program, the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

Laiza Santos
Social Media & Press

Laiza Santos is a social media storyteller, content creator, and marketing manager. Born and raised in the Philly, her roots are embedded in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. She started her career working in the Latino community through local communications in the city of Philadelphia while becoming involved in small and large scale events. From working for the 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention to covering the annual Fearless Conference, Laiza has worked with various audiences with specific interests, expanding her insight on content creation in a new and creative way, every single time. She has started working with the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival in 2014 and since then hopes to continue telling the story of Latino cinema through Philadelphia's eyes on social media.

@lzixxaa

 

Cecilia Huesca
Partnerships & Community Relations

Three of Cecilia's biggest passions are music, connecting with people, and organizing and promoting events.  She follows these passions as the Director of Public Relations for Philly Alternativo, collaborating with Hispanic events either singing or being MC. She is excited to be part of the PHLAFF team as coordinator of Partnerships & Community Relations.

Cecilia is originally from Mexico and Philadelphia became her home in 2012. She loves traveling, teaching Spanish, Hispanic culture and she also loves arts.

You can get to meet her better through her blog una latina en Philly where she writes about her adventures around the world and Philly.

Website | @cecihuesca

 
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Olga Ramos
Community Engagement

Olga has worked for over 20 years supporting the youth and community empowerment process in our communities. Her efforts have focused in alternative education models and supports including initiatives working with youth to obtain their GED, seek employment opportunities, and post-secondary education options.  In recent years, she has volunteered to disseminate information in our community regarding changes in the School District of Philadelphia and its impact in our neighborhoods.

Olga serves as the Assistant Director of the E 3 Center West. Throughout her years of service, she has been a mentor to many youth and adults supporting them to strive to become the best he or she can in their community.  Olga also serves as part of the reForm Project team at Temple Contemporary led by Pepon Osorio addressing the impact of the closing of Fairhill Elementary School on the Fairhill community. Olga obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Service Management from University of Phoenix while working as the Assistant

Olga joined PHLAFF as a volunteer last year and her energy was key to make the event was a success.  This year, Olga will lead PHLAFF’s Community Engagement work and is looking forward to a great run.

 

Sannii Crespina-Flores
Youth Programming

Sannii Crespina-flores is a teaching artist, founder of PLUM, The Un-Inhibited Muse festival and board member of the Bartol Foundation. She has received her certification in Human Rights from the University of Peace (Peace Operations Training Institute). Her first series, Conversations with my Conscience, debuted in South Africa and London.  In 2007, she premiered the film short Conversations with my Conscience, Chapter II at the 60th Cannes Festival. She has also premiered the web series Moonbeams and Holy Water in Chianti, Italy.  Do Remember Me sponsored in part by Mind Media Independence was shown March 2010 and is currently running in the independent stations programming. It has also aired on PhillyCam. This project won the grand prize at the 2015 Sundance Short Story Challenge. She has created a film for the Community College of Philadelphia, Drexel University ,Asian Arts Initiative, the Otto Neals Retrospective, AT&T and a contributing artist for MDGFIVE. Com: Uniting Artists and Activists for Maternal Health. The Inherited Sorrow project has allowed her to participate as a resident artist in Budapest, Colombia and Community College of Philadelphia Women’s Center. She is the founder and director of the global initiative for youth, The Do Remember Me Project and the Yram Collective, connecting youth in Philadelphia with youth abroad using art to create media that encourages them to advocate actively and the for themselves. This project is also partnered with the HipHop Education Center in the development of curriculum for the Time is Illmatic Documentary.  She is the youth program coordinator for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival and partner in Hermandad. 

Website | @tamingtealeaves

 

Melissa Beatriz Skolnick
Short Films Curator

Melissa Beatriz Skolnick is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia storyteller, who uses these platforms to bring awareness to social justice and human rights issues that are often ignored. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware. Since 2010, she has been working with nonprofits and arts organizations throughout Philadelphia, while using a range of tools for community building and storytelling. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD at Penn's School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), and is interested in the intersection of social justice policy, visual ethnography, and the arts. She is also proud to represent Uruguay on the PHLAFF creative team!

 

Didier García
Creative Direction & Design 

Hailing originally from Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, New York, Didier García is an art director and graphic designer living, loving and working in Philly and abroad. With 11+ years of experience in print, branding and interactive design, he passionately creates simple, beautiful, and effective design solutions for a variety of noted individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Website

 
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Gabriela Loredo
Technical Specialist

Gabriela Loredo is a young artist and crafter currently pursuing a BFA in Graphic Design at Tyler School of Art. As a former AmeriCorps volunteer serving the School District of Philadelphia, she gained experience training youth and adults in computer literacy and web applications. For several years she worked with a local parent group to develop applications for schools using non-traditional educational models. Now, her focus is on design and user experience. This is her second year working with the PHLAFF team and she’s looking forward to another awesome festival weekend!