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8th New York International Latino Film Festival Awards Ceremony

By Maria Esteves - August 21, 2007

The 8th Annual New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) 2007Awards Ceremony presented by HBO was held at Arena, Sunday, July 29, 2007, 8:00pm. The award acknowledges the best in filmmaking and emerging directors of Latino descent. The award announcers were founder/executive director Calixto Chinchilla and executive director Elizabeth Gardner, NYILFF.

Since 1998, NYILFF was founded by Calixto Chinchilla to assist emerging Latino filmmaker's contribute to the world of cinema. NYILFF annually presents international films of Latino descent. NYILFF Co-Executive Directors are Calixto Chinchilla & Elizabeth Gardner and members are Geovanny Salas, Jeff Duneman, Marlynn Snyder, Luisa Rivera, Virginia Guerrero, Lindsay Weiss, Gary Santana, Jennifer Abreu, Yari McDonald and Karen Torres.

This year's film festival included 5 premieres, 32 features (domestic, international, on the edge, showcase, and rewind), 44 shorts, and 12 documentaries. The festival also included filmmaker's panel discussion, workshops, cinema under the stars, family festival and gala parties.

2007 NYILFF was presented by HBO Vice President, Market Development Lucinda Martinez-Desir. The proud sponsors are Banco Popular, HBO Latino, Heineken,, Court TV, TNT, 4HD, T47 TELEMUNDO, TIME WARNER CABLE, DAILY NEWS, 105.9 La Kalle FM, Latinvox, Big Mama, American Airlines,, Verizon, Cartoon Network, Mun2, Coca Cola, CINEDULCE, Getty Images, Cuervo,, QUEPASA, EL ESPECIAL, Avid, BMI, Kodak, Spoon & Fork, Dewar's, Latin Lime, BRANSCH, CO3, FLASH CLINIC, ATMOSPHERA, LUNA LIGHTING, ADORAMA, HEY, and TCS.

2007 NYILFF ceremony included 7 awards within 6 categories. A combination of cash awards and honorable mention awards were presented to the following winners:


Banco Popular Dream (We Love Dreams) Filmmaker Award, presented by Banco Popular New York Media Executive Anastasi Orfanof, to filmmaker Christina Ibarra.

Heineken Red Star Filmmaker Award, presented by NYILFF Founder Calixto Chinchilla to director Sergio M. Castilla for TAKE THE BRIDGE.

Verizon On the Edge Best Short Film Award, presented by President Marc Soto, Verizon, New York Hispanic Support Organization to director Will Fonseca for Rewind.

Best Documentary Film Award, presented by NYILFF Founder Calixto Chinchilla to director Alexandre Fuchs for HIJOS DEL LA GUERRA (Children of War).

Best Short Film Award, presented by NYILFF Founder Calixto Chinchilla to director Ciro Altabas for DVD. NYILFF accepted the award on behalf of Ciro Altabas.

HBO Best Short Film Award, presented by Dennis Williams of HBO to director Freddie Vargas for HISPANOLA.

HBO Best Picture Award, presented by Dennis Williams of HBO to director Ilya Chaiken for LIBERTY KID.



Calixto Chinchilla - NYILFF Founder/Executive Director

As the Founder and Executive Director of the New York International Latino Film Festival, Calixto Chinchilla has made powerful and impactful progress for Latinos in the film industry. Founded in 1999, the festival realizes his dream to host an international festival that features domestic and international films by and/or about Latinos. Attracting over 20,000 attendees and garnering the attention of Hollywood and media from across the globe, the festival has quickly grown into the largest urban Latino film festival in the U.S. Calixto has been featured in the Daily News, Urban Latino Magazine, The New York Times, NBC, Good Day NY, Univision and Telemundo.

As part of its 2001 "Keep Walking" campaign, Johnnie Walker Black Label honored and featured Calixto as one of New York's young Latino professional leaders. That year he was also named "A 2001 Latino On The Move" by industry trade magazine Latino Impact, and a "One to Watch" by NBC'S Hispanics Today. Recently, Calixto was chosen as one of 25 most influential Latinos by The New York Post.

Before founding the New York International Latino Film Festival, Calixto began his film career developing special interest marketing for Warner Brothers Pictures. He has consulted in a similar capacity for New Line Cinema, Dreamworks SKG, Nova Releasing and Columbia Pictures. Additionally, Calixto has worked on several film productions, including the Sundance award-winning films, HURRICANE STREETS and In Search of A Dream. Before establishing his own film festival, Calixto served as the Latino Film Curator for the Urban World Film Festival in 1999 and again in 2000. He also directed the South Bronx Film and Video Festival in October 2001. Calixto is a committee member of The National Council of La Raza's American Latino Media Awards (ALMA). He has been a speaker at Columbia University, The City College of New York's Graduate Center, The Center For Communications and New York University's Tisch School of The Arts to name a few. Calixto received a photography scholarship and studied marketing at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.


Elizabeth Gardner - NYILFF Executive Director

Starting in 2002 as the NYILFF's sponsorship Marketing and Sponsorship Consultant of Record, Elizabeth Gardner is now the NYILFF Executive Director and partner to festival founder, Calixto Chinchilla. In her role as ED, Elizabeth is responsible for overseeing the festival's core operations and execution, including fundraising, corporate and media partner management, event production, collateral and advertising development and planning, and on-premise activation. In addition, Elizabeth is also responsible for driving the growth of the overall business, including developing new revenue and partnership opportunities.

Elizabeth's introduction to the NYILFF was a traditional agency/client relationship under the umbrella of her entertainment promotions and sponsorship consultancy, Garnish, LLC, which she founded in 2001. Other Garnish clients included Miramax Films, Loews Cineplex Entertainment, ESPN, Cotton Incorporated, The Lake Placid Film Festival, Available Art, Women's Expressive Theater (WET) and The Big Apple Circus. Prior to founding Garnish, Elizabeth served as Vice President of Marketing and Creative Strategy for the New York-based independent film studio, Shooting Gallery (Academy-AwardTM winners Sling Blade and You Can Count on Me). During her five-year tenure at Shooting Gallery, Elizabeth oversaw the team that devised the theatrical release marketing strategies for Shooting Gallery's slate of films, and successfully produced three seasons of The Shooting Gallery Film Series at Loews Cineplex Entertainment, a 17-market, 3-month film series with sponsors such as Heineken, Entertainment Weekly, Polo Jeans Co. and Blockbuster. Prior to Shooting Gallery, Ms. Gardner served as marketing coordinator for Semaphore Entertainment Group, a television production company that specialized in cable and pay-per-view special events, including the successful Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view series, currently broadcast on Viacom's Spike TV. Elizabeth is an Honor's graduate from the University of Michigan with a BA in Art History.


Sergio M. Castilla - 2007 NYILFF Award Winner

Sergio M. Castilla, director/producer/writer, born in Santiago, Chile, Russian Jew descent, lives in New York.  He studied film at the renowned IDHEC in Paris.  Castilla's film DISAPPEARED PRISONERS received the 1979 San Sebastian Film Festival Best Actor Award and 1980 Havana Film Festival Special Jury Award.  In 1980, THE GIRL IN THE WATERMELON received the Providence Film Festival Best Film and Best Actress (Meredith Scott-Lynn) Awards. In 1986, GENTILE ALOUETTE received the LASA Award in Boston.

Castilla's short film ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS was selected for the 1992 New York Film Festival and 1993 Sundance Film Festival.  His play SHE FIRST MET HER PARENTS ON THE SUBWAY, performed at the Pearl Theater, New York.  In 1998, his feature film GRINGUITO, received the Best Chilean Film Award. In 2001, TE AMO premiered at Sundance Film Festival World Cinema section. In 2003, he made another feature film BIENVENIDA REALIDAD. Castilla's feature film TAKE THE BRIDGE received the 2007 NYILFF Heineken Red Star Filmmaker Award.


Ilyan Chaiken - 2007 NYILFF Award Winner

Ilyan Chaiken, director/writer, lives in New York. She studied filmmaking at SUNY Purchase. Chaiken short films THE ACTRESS, and MATCH FLICK received the Princess Grace Foundation Statue Award for artistic excellence. In 2001, her feature film MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR (currently distributed by Wellspring) premiered at Sundance, Los Angeles and Toronto Film Festivals.

In 2004, her comedy short film THE 100 LOVERS OF JESUS REYNOLDS premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Chaiken's New York Premiere feature film LIBERTY KID received the 2007 NYILFF HBO Best Picture Award.


Alexandre Fuchs - 2007 NYILFF Award Winner

Alexandre Fuchs, director/producer/photographer, French-American grew up living in Paris. His development and production of feature films included BIRTH directed by Jonathan Glazer, KEN PARK directed by Larry Clark, PURPLE BUTTERFLY directed by Lou Ye, THE SUN directed by Aleksandr Sokurov and the upcoming film MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS directed by Wong Kar-wai. Fuchs New York Premiere directorial debut film HIJOS DE LA GUERRA (Children of the War) received the 2007 NYILFF Best Documentary Film Award.



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