Every January, Sundance Film Festival offers a platform for filmmakers and artisans to share their stories with the world. Acting as a gatekeeper to Hollywood, the films that premiere at Sundance go on to reach global audiences and skyrocket entire filmmaking teams to the top. Historically, most of the movies embraced by the big shots are centered around a singular American experience—a white experience. To break away from this homogenized tradition, diversity-focused organization The LatinX House is heading up to Park City to hold space for black, brown, and indigenous storytellers at Sundance.
Activist Mònica Ramírez, actor/producer Olga Segura and writer/producer Alexandra Martìnez Kondracke co-founded The LatinX House in 2019 when they noticed the underrepresentation of the Latinx community at Sundance and in film as a whole. “We know there’s a huge problem in the way our community is represented on screen,” says Ramírez. They launched their inaugural house in 2020 during the festival’s first virtual format and have since held in-person activations at SXSW, and their own festival in Aspen called Raizado. Each new festival allows the LatinX team to create an inclusive and welcoming space for meaningful conversations. “It’s important to create a gathering place of filmmakers and creatives alongside activists and other kinds of leaders in our community to be able to share ideas, tackle social issues, get creative and hopefully form really great collaborations,” says Ramírez.
This year, the team at The LatinX House has organized their first in-person activation at Sundance, including a full schedule of panels, private screenings, moderated conversations, and awards ceremonies. Between the packed program, Ramírez and her team included plenty of time for socializing and community building. “We’ve built in these community hours so that people can be in the space and let the conversation marinate, get some creative juices flowing in terms of how they might want to work with other people.” Above all, the Sundance house was built around love. “We build our houses with a lot of love and authenticity,” Ramírez beams. “People walk into that house and take notice of all these little special touches. They understand that we developed this experience with a lot of heart.”
Outside of its own programs, the LatinX House also takes on a larger role in cross-cultural programing throughout the festival. “This year, we’ve been able to do cultural programming and collaborating with the Sunrise House, The Blackhouse Foundation, IllumiNative and a few other partners,” says Ramírez. “There are some really special moments coming throughout the festival that we’ll all be able to come together across the houses.”
After the dust settles on Park City and the sundancers have departed, The LatinX House will continue efforts to uplift diverse experiences in film. Following the success of their 2022 Adelante Directors Fellowship Program and their own 2022 Raizado film festival held in Aspen, the LatinX team is ready to maintain the momentum. And as for our own Salty city, Ramírez says she is proud to see Latinx leadership that are making strides for a broader national agenda, “It’s really wonderful to see communities continuing to grow here, and the leaders on the ground making sure to address specific issues that are important to our community.”
You can find The LatinX House’s full schedule on their website, follow them on socials to stay up to date with all their Sundance happenings.