Andrea Florens: Programming Manager for the 40th Chicago Latino Film Festival

Andrea Florens - Programming Manager at the ILCC

Hello Andrea, can you tell us about how you started your career?

I came to Chicago when I was 18 years old to attend the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and study Photography and Film studies. In 2021 I was one of 16 people admitted into the Yale Norfolk artist residency. I graduated in 2022 with leadership honors with a BFA. I realized before graduating that I wanted to work in the film industry but didn’t want to make films for other people. I also wanted to apply all of the visual knowledge and critical thinking skills in film I had learned in school and in life from the media I had consumed like books and films into a job. So I did a programming internship with the Chicago International Film Festival and it felt like that was it, I had found what I wanted to do. I quickly became deeply in love with film programming, even with the tedious tasks that come with it. My first year with the CLFF was deeply transformative for me, as a person and as a professional. I learned so much about the industry and it connected me to so many incredible people.

What are the biggest challenges for you as a young woman working in Film Programming?

There are definitely some challenges. The biggest being that people tend to underestimate me, or think that because I am 22 years old that I don’t have the knowledge or capacity to perform such a high-stakes job that is very demanding. I have reached the top position in my field in such a short time because of my abilities and who I am as a professional. I pride myself in being a really hard worker with a love for art as my biggest drive. I love Film Programming because it challenges me to push myself and prove to myself and to everyone that my age doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know how to do my job, and know how to do it with excellence above all.

Why the Chicago Latino Film Festival?

Besides the obvious connection of me being a Mexican woman and loving Latin American films, I realized when I was in SAIC that in all of my film classes, Latin American films were very scarce. It made me upset that films that incredibly powerful and important films were not being taught and talked about like others. It made me conscious of the importance of highlighting and empowering films made in Latin America in Chicago. When the opportunity to work as a film programmer for the CLFF arrived, it felt like the perfect fit for me.

What is your plan for the 40th Anniversary of the Chicago Latino Film Festival?

I am super excited to be the programming manager for the 40th anniversary because I learned so much working the 39th, so I know that it will be spectacular. I am eager to build a program that will be composed of the best films coming out of Latin America, Spain and Portugal. It will be so challenging and exciting. I am looking forward to see what got made in the past year and to reconnect with colleagues who I worked with last year. I’m so excited for the people in Chicago to see what we’re capable of in the festival and to continue to establish ourselves as a pillar in the community. –