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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.

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.

Labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta galvanized the audience, and spoken word poetry was another highlight of this outdoor event. A screening of Sanson and Me rounded out the evening.

Join The Club

Heart Of Hollywood Magazine editor Sandy Rodriguez was the English/Spanish interpreter for the opening and closing ceremonies, providing live interpretation for those in attendance who requested it.

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Bilingual communications expert Sandy Rodriguez writes on topics ranging from finance to entertainment for different media outlets in both the U.S. and Mexico. She appears as a host in videos for lifestyle website En Cinco and multimedia company Heart of Hollywood Motion Pictures.

Sandy is a former editorial coordinator for Mexican newspaper Reforma, one of the most influential publications in Latin America, and has translated tens of books from English to Spanish for major publishing houses. These include medical, self-help, and business books, novels, and titles focused on spirituality or personal growth by popular authors such as Louise Hay, Nick Vujicic, and Neale Donald Walsch.

Multifaceted Sandy, who once took part in a prestigious fellowship program for international journalists at Seoul National University in South Korea, currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a certified court interpreter. She is a fitness enthusiast, burgeoning artist, and amateur winemaker. As the author of motivational book Choose to Prevail, she is a member of ISLA, the International Society of Latino Authors.

Choose to Prevail is a finalist in the Best Health & Wellness Book category of the International Latino Book Awards, produced by Empowering Latino Futures, a nonprofit organization co-founded in 1997 by actor Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler, board member of the National Latino Media Council. The awards ceremony will be held in October.

Sandy is the editor of Heart Of Hollywood Magazine.




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