As part of the Center’s mission, the Chicago Latino Film Festival and every cultural event presented by our organization serve as vehicles to break the barriers created and perpetuated by stereotypes, and provoke the audience to challenge mainstream ideals of the Latino identity by showing, through our cultural expressions, that Latinos are defined by more than 20 different nationalities and come from all social and racial backgrounds. As the demand grew for a wider range of cultural events; so did the offerings of the organization. In July 1999, Chicago Latino Cinema officially changed its name to the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago and expanded its programming to include music, theater, dance, comedy and art exhibits. Currently, the Center offers over ten annual events, including the Film Festival, which is its largest event.
The Center is working to build the nation’s first state-of-the-art Pan-Latino cultural complex. While we are working to obtain our own facility, year-round events are presented in mainstream venues including museums, movie theaters and galleries, as well as at community centers, schools, colleges, city parks and universities. Imperative to the Center’s mission is that programs take place in venues that are easily accessible to a majority of the population. The Center differs from other Latino cultural organizations in the city in that others are located within neighborhoods and primarily focus on the contributions of one country’s culture or use a single cultural expression. While these organizations prove beneficial to the constituencies they serve, their programming does not encompass the multi-nationality of all the Latino cultures.
The Center has been at the forefront of the movement to increase cultural opportunities for the entire Latino community and brings Latinos and non-Latinos together to share common cross-cultural experiences. For more than two decades, the Center has promoted the richness and great diversity found in more than 20 Latino nations.