The initial plans to create a Los Angeles Latin American Cinemateca began in 1997 when a group of Los Angeles Latina/Latino cultural activists and cinéastes identified a lack of exposure of Latin America’s extensive filmmaking traditions and of the contemporary works of North American Latina/Latino film and video artists. The group initially screened vintage Mexican films as part of the Los Angeles Conservancy‘s “Last Remaining Seats” series in Los Angeles’ historic downtown theatre district.
In the year 2000, the cinéastes incorporated as the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA), a California non-profit corporation. The same year, the Latin American Cinemateca presented its inaugural event, a centennial celebration of Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel who had an illustrious career in Mexico. Simultaneously the organization established a unique scholarship program aimed at supporting film and media students. Planned for the future is a resource center for the purpose of collecting, researching and exhibiting film, video and related works of Latin American and Latina/Latino artists from all the Americas. The Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles fulfills its mission and goals by producing film screenings and related programs, independently and in partnership with other cultural organizations.