Linda Friedman Ramirez is the founder and current Festival Director.
She is an attorney, as well as the owner of Linda Friedman Ramirez Latin Art LLC. She has a B.A. in Public and International Affairs and a J.D. She appreciates the creativity and beauty of Latin American visual and cinematic arts.
Thank you to our sponsors: the St Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission, Courtyard by Marriott Downtown St. Petersburg, IBERIABANK, Oak and Stone, Rising Tide Innovation Center, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, Scatter Brothers Productions LLC and AMC Theaters.
Mary Childs is the Artistic Director at Duncan McClellan Gallery in St Petersburg, Florida. A native of Massachusetts, Mary has worked in the arts field for nearly thirty years. She has both owned and managed galleries, and has worked with leading glass artists from around the world. With a belief in the positive power of both creating and experiencing art, Mary finds working closely with artists, curating their exhibits and finding “homes” for their work highly rewarding. Mary's passion for art is something she enjoys sharing with the public.
"I am honored to be juror for the Festival. Cultural awareness is crucial in promoting empathy and equality. The art of film is especially accessible to the public, and combines the richness of Latin America’s visual culture with it’s personal and societal narratives.”
A Largo High and USF grad who's currently enrolled in University of Tampa's Creative Writing MFA program, Julie Garisto is an assistant editor/contributor at Creative Pinellas where she covers arts and music events for the non-profit's web magazine. Julie also contributes to the Tampa Bay Times as well as other publications. She served as arts and entertainment editor for Creative Loafing (2010-2015), and she has also been a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, a copy editor for the Weekly Planet and an English teacher/tutor. You can read her stories at creativepinellas.org, or you can find her reading her work at a Keep St. Pete Lit or Wordier Than Thou event.
A published movie critic, Julie has grown up obsessed with foreign film and cherishes this opportunity to be a part of the Tampa Bay Latin Film Festival.
Franco Silva has been a resident of the Bay Area since the late 1980s. More than twenty five years ago, he noticed a void in the representation of Latinos on the radio, and he has now been the host of WMNF’s Latino 54 for more than 23 years. He insisted that Latin music and culture be presented on air in English so that it can be enjoyed by everyone. Franco has interviewed countless local and international musicians, as well as Latino professionals and other community members. Latino 54 now airs on WMNF HD4 channel and is a podcast heard around the world.
Franco has been a passionate advocate of a Latin film festival for many years. “I’ve been waiting for a Latin film festival and ecstatic that it is now going to take place. I am very happy to serve as a juror for the inaugural festival.”