Press Release
Contact: Jean Anne Lauer


AUSTIN, Texas (December 11, 2018) – Cine Las Americas (CLA) announces the 22nd Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (CLAIFF), scheduled for May 1 – 5, 2019. Festival events will take place at venues around the capital city during the five-day festival. As a new program for May’s festival, CLAIFF will present a VR 360º showcase, hosted and sponsored by Originator Studios.

Cine Las Americas is committed to offering a diverse program of national and international feature and short films as well as music videos, experimental, animation selections, and this year a VR 360º video program. The festival showcases films and videos from all the Americas (US, Canada, North Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Selected works screen in competitive and non-competitive sections. There are eleven award categories, including the annual Hecho en Tejas Awards. This year, the coordinating committee is pleased to offer cash awards to prize categories, including for Audience Awards for Best First or Second Dramatic Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Hecho en Tejas Film, and Best Music Video.

As an extension of its mission to support Latinx and Indigenous artists across media arts, Cine Las Americas is especially pleased to announce the expansion of our VR 360º video program for the 22nd festival. In 2017 CLAIFF presented Tracy Rector’s 360º video Eagle Bone (Ch’aak’ S’aagi), one of the first VR pieces ever by a Native American filmmaker, hosted by Originator Studios. In 2018, also thanks to Originator Studios’ sponsorship, youth from the Austin-based Latinitas’ organization shared their 360º Latinx Culture in East Austin documentary experience with attendees at.

In 2019, Originator Studios will team up with CLAIFF to present an official selection of VR 360º videos at their facilities. Filmmakers are invited to submit their VR 360º videos as part of the festival’s annual call for entries (info at

Founded in 2009 and located in East Austin, Originator Studios is video production company with a studio and sound stage that also hosts multiple creative companies. They strive to find ways to promote Austin artistry in any way possible. “This is our third year partnering with Cine Las Americas, and we love the opportunity to support and connect with other artists. Video and VR are our passions, so we’re excited to see what filmmakers are creating in the 360º realm,” says Kari Burke, Studio Manager at Originator Studios.

Partner venues are critical to sustaining CLAIFF’s mission. In addition to the special VR 360º experience to take place at Originator Studios, festival attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy films at two primary locations: the AFS Cinema and the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC). Austin Film Society (AFS) and Cine Las Americas will welcome filmgoers to AFS Cinema to enjoy screenings of world-class premieres, networking with cinephiles from near and far, conversations with invited guests, and special programs including the Hecho en Tejas showcases. The City of Austin and Austin Parks & Recreation have supported CLAIFF for over a decade, providing a space at the ESB-MACC where attendees can enjoy film screenings that are free and open to the public. In 2019, thanks in large part to the ESB-MACC, one-half to two-thirds of our program will be accessible and free to the public. As in previous editions, highlights at ESB-MACC will include the annual “Emergencia” Youth Film Festival, a presentation of emerging talent and showcasing work by Latinx and Indigenous youth, based in Texas and around the globe.

In her first year as Executive Director, and her eleventh festival season with CLAIFF, Jean Anne Lauer continues to lead the team of Cine Las Americas in its support of Latinx and Indigenous filmmakers and artists. “I’m so honored to continue to serve the organization and collaborate with the festival board, staff, and volunteers in support of the filmmakers and artists whose work we champion. I’m immensely proud of this organization and everyone involved, and thankful for the opportunity that every year provides for us to grow our partnerships and community engagement,” says Lauer. Festival staffer Sharon Arteaga returns this year in the new role of Director of Operations for Cine Las Americas. “It’s an exciting time of year, as we begin preparing for the 22nd Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. In addition to the VR 360º program, I’m looking forward to all of the other screenings and events we’ll be announcing over the next months,” says Arteaga.

In 2018, during the 21st annual festival, Cine Las Americas screened 126 titles – 39 feature films, 65 short films and videos, 16 music videos, and 6 PSAs. In its history, Cine Las Americas has presented more than 2,500 films in Austin and at various screenings across the state of Texas, becoming one of the most prestigious Latinx and Indigenous film organizations in the country.

The lineup for the 2019 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival will be announced in April. For more information and to check for screening schedules go to


ABOUT CINE LAS AMERICAS: Cine Las Americas is a multi-cultural, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Austin Texas, offering theatrical screenings of films made by or about Latinos or Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Films from Spain and Portugal are also included, enhancing a truly Pan-American cinematic experience. The mission of Cine Las Americas is to promote cross-cultural understanding and growth by educating, entertaining and challenging the diverse Central Texas community through film and media arts.