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By Sandy Rodriguez

The GuadaLAjara Film Festival (GLAFF), recently held in Los Angeles, aimed to celebrate the best of Latin American cinema and promote a borderless film industry.

The opening night gala was held at the glamorous Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. Among the celebrities present were Mónica Huarte, the evening’s host, and Cobra Kai actors Xolo Maridueña, Vanessa Rubio, and Jacob Bertrand.

Xolo received the Tree of Life Trailblazer Award. As Miguel on Cobra Kai, he is already a big star, and is headed straight for the A-list next year when he appears in Blue Beetle, a DC film which will be the first stand-alone superhero movie in the U.S. featuring a Latino lead. A pre-recorded video showed fan favorite Adriana Barraza congratulating Xolo.

GLAFF Executive Director Ximena Urrutia, a celebrity in her own right, thrilled the crowd and announced that box office proceeds would be donated in support of trans rights.

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A documentary, Omara, was then screened. It was part of the exciting 2022 lineup, which can be found in full here .

The closing ceremony was carried out in Grand Park, overlooking architectural landmarks such as City Hall and the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Rosario Dawson was the recipient of the Tree of Life Artist and Activist Award. Trans rights defender Bamby Salcedo, in turn, obtained the Tree of Life Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award.

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