Cultural Heritage and Citizenship: Curating the First Afrolatino Film Festival in the U.S.

Amilcar Maceo Priestley


The Liberación Film Festival which launched in 2017 is the first large scale curation of a film festival in the US which centers the experiences of 150-200 million Afrolatinamericans and Afrolatinxs. In this paper, we discuss the sociological and political framework of the Festival’s existence and share the Festival’s film selection process which aims to reflect and connect cultural and artistic expression with important aspects of Afrolatinamerican and Afrolatinx historical and contemporary social movement building. The working principle behind the Festival’s curation process, “culture as politics”, is based on the idea that we can best utilize cultural heritage to contest anti-blackness in Latin America when it is presented with historic, social and political context. The Festival serves not only as a showcase of cultural heritage, but is itself cultural heritage, challenging the narratives of citizenship and belonging seen in traditional visual representations of Latinidad. The Festival also provides a space to showcase and celebrate upcoming Afrolatinx and Afrolatinamerican filmmakers, actors, actresses, documentarians, storytellers and others in the field of film.


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