Festival Director

Linda Friedman Ramirez

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.  

Our Creative Team

Geraldine Arrendondo

 Geraldine Arredondo is an independent Colombian graphic designer. She has developed her professional career in the area of university academic research, management, production and promotion of cultural projects, photography and branding. She has worked as a general producer for the tenth edition of “Fotourbe” the International Photography Festival in Pereira, Colombia. She has also been a  consultant and community manager for the Benkoz media project of Jean Zapata. 

Geraldine has  published her  photographs in international fashion magazines including HUF Magazine and the Institute Magazine. She has also collaborated in independent projects for musicians and emerging artists, including  J.Patron, Castro Kush and Mantra Rea.  

 Geraldine has also  worked as a research assistant for the Universidad Area Andina in Pereira, Colombia where among her projects she developed a prototype for a virtual reality installation relating to Muiscas culture and cosmology. She also participated in a research project at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano on how to better communicate cross culturally, and the results of this research were incorporated into Narratives Cruzadas.

Kim McDaniel

 Kim McDaniel is a sculptor based in St Petersburg, Florida. Using ceramics, paper, and natural materials she creates figurative sculptures that merge in and out of richly textured organic free flowing forms. 

Her work explores the continuous cycles of life & death, change & loss, growth & exploration; and the internal struggle, transformation and evolution that comes from those processes. Her exploration of these themes is strongly rooted in the transformative years she lived in Arizona where she was deeply affected by the Latin American culture that made up her community. During that time, her travels throughout Mexico further fueled her love of the culture and desire to keep it close to her when she returned home to Arizona. Elements of their food, music, celebrations, and art all became part of daily life, part of who she was. Boundaries between cultures blurred, and it changed the way she viewed herself and her country.

Her work is an invitation to reflect not only on our own journeys and self-exploration, but those of others as well. The dreams, stories, and memories we use to define ourselves; they share common roots and connect us all, regardless of where we come from. 

Gabriela Valencia

 Gabriela Valencia is an artist, educator and violinist from Ecuador, and the owner of Gabriela Valencia Studio and Gallery at St. Pete Beach Florida.  She has lived in the Tampa Bay area for almost a decade, and has been involved in spectrum of artistic and educational projects.  Gabriela is known not only for her art work, but also for her outreach community work of empowering and inspiring women to raise awareness of their potential and importance in today’s society.  Her artwork has been featured internationally in private collections and galleries, museums, magazines, newspapers, and television.

Gabriela most recently had a solo exhibit at Stageworks Theater, in conjunction with In the Time of the Butterflies.   She is also a participating artist in the Exquisite Corpse Games, that takes place annually in St. Petersburg.

Gabriela is passionate about film.  "One of my main goals is to help film makers and creatives share their work with our community, and to reach their potential and rightful place in the global film platform”   Gabriela’s studio is located at 427  75th Ave.  St Pete Beach, Florida.

Our Jurors

Mary Childs

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.”

Julie Garisto

 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

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.”