CREATIVE TEAM

 

 
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Marángeli Mejía-Rabell
Festival Director

Marángeli Mejía Rabell is a Puerto Rico-born, Philadelphia-based cultural producer and community development practitioner whose work is centered on cross sector partnerships, collective impact arts & culture as a tool for social change and community revitalization. As Co Founder of AfroTaino Productions, she curates, co-designs and executes arts/culture programming, campaigns, special events and projects in public and private arena targeting multicultural audiences.. Some of her most recent collaborations include Pepon Osorio’s reForm at Tyler Contemporary and BrideNext, a Building Audience Demand project with Marty Pottenger and Bienvenidos Blancos with Team Sunshine Performance Corporation.

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Laiza Santos
Communications Director

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

 
 

Didier García
Creative & Design Director

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 14 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.

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2019 Festival Staff

 
 
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GLENDALEE GOMEZ
Sponsorships Manager

Born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico Glendalee made the city of Brotherly love her home. She is a business developer and marketing strategist with experience in the nonprofit and corporate sector. While in New York Glendalee worked as a Media Buyer for ITN Networks and in her early years in Philadelphia she became an Account Executive, she is now a Business Analyst and combines her media buying and business analytics experience to establish and nourish synergies and showcase PHLAFF in positive light. Glendalee have been a friend of PHLAFF for many years and in 2018 she joined the Creative Team as Sponsorship Manager. She is a vivid fan of arts, music and culture and enjoy participating in events that promote diversity and cultural understanding. She aims to connect individuals and organizations with PHLAFF audience and stakeholders that shared common stories. 

 
 
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Kristal Sotomayor
Festival Programming Coordinator

Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual documentary director, cinematographer, and editor based in Philadelphia. Drawing inspiration from her Peruvian heritage, her films focus on Latinidad, immigration, and belonging. Currently, she is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Scribe Video Center. She has also worked on programming and pre-screening for the Philadelphia Film Festival, the documentary-focused Camden International Film Festival in Maine, and award-winning PBS documentary film series POV | American Documentary. In 2015, Kristal originally joined the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival as a volunteer. As a member of the programming team, she hopes to project diverse stories of Latinidad to audiences throughout Philadelphia.

Website

 
 
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Daniel De Jesus
Youth Salon Coordinator

Daniel de Jesús is an artist and educator based in Philadelphia PA. He is the Youth Artist Program manager at the Taller Puertorriqueño, a visual arts training program for youth to develop access to the Creative Economy.  

He is a practicing multidisciplinary artist who works as a painter, composer, and songwriter versed in the worlds of visual & sonic tapestries. The themes of his work are often based on Latin American baroque stylings with a penchant for Pre-Raphaelite yearnings of forlorn faces and frail bodies, portraying an iconic melancholy both beautiful and tragic.

As an educator and administrator, de Jesús works to give access to experiences and opportunities for youth to participate in the creative arts through inclusive programs in Philadelphia. As a teaching artist, he works with organizations dedicated to uplifting our community's youth to provide high-quality arts education.

Website

 
 
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LeonRAYMOND Mitchell
Technical Coordinator

LeonRaymond Mitchell, New York Bred with Texas roots, now a resident of Philadelphia, known to Writer friends and others as "The Prince Of Darkness due to his preference for writing Dark Subject matter and characters. Seriously prolific creating content. LeonRaymond recently concluded talks that will result in four of his feature film projects moving forward into the hands of top indie producers located in Hollywood. With a built in desire to write Female centrist screenplay projects he has created his production company Bourbon Shot Glass Productions. "When the story idea hits you like a Bullet hitting your Shot Glass, you know you got something"

 

 

2019 Featured Artists

 

Visual Arts

 
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Carlos Lopez Rosa (CALO)

Born in San Salvador, lives and works in Philadelphia. From a family of artists with diverse media including graphic design, Brazilian percussion, oil painting, and cake-making. He holds a degree in Fine and Visual Arts from the Centro Nacional de Artes (CENAR) and a degree in graphic design from Don Bosco University. After becoming frustrated with the exclusivity of the San Salvador gallery scene, he began to define his own street art style. His colorful pieces portray the vibrant Latin American culture, and mirror the sounds, roots, and forms of the urban-tropical lifestyle.

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Curator

 
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Aris Mejias

Formally trained in theatre and with 18 years of experience in front of the the camera, the award winning actress began her career in local film, theatre and television productions. Notably in feature films such as “Cayo" (2006) by Vicente Juarbe, “Che” (2008) by Steven Soderbergh, and particularly in “The Vessel” (2016) by Julio Quintana with an executive production of Terrence Malick and co- starring with Martin Sheen which showcased her bilingual abilities by shooting simultaneously all scenes in Spanish and English.

She recently co-starred along Pedro Capo in “Sol de Medianoche” by Douglas Sánchez (HBO). Is the omnipresent narrating voice of Tribeca Film Festival three times winner "Una Noche” (2012) by Lucy Mulloy, the lead role in Cannes Short Film Corner selection “Endless Cycle” (2015) by Fernando Rodríguez which she garnered the “Best Actress” award at the 2016 International Oporto Film Festival. Likewise she was the lead role in the the Long Format Latin Grammy winner “Loco de amor: La historia” (2015) by Kacho López.

She runs and operates her clothing line Skin Onion.

Website

 

Designer

 
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Shannon Maldonado

Shannon Maldonado is a designer and the founder of YOWIE, a home and life shop based in Queen Village, Philadelphia. After a 12-year career in Fashion Design, she moved back to Philadelphia to start a brand that is as much about community as it is about curating beautiful objects. She currently serves on the board of directors at Fleisher Art Memorial and recently completed her first interior design project: The Deacon, large format Airbnb inside of a historic church.

Website