Jorge Santiago Arce was born in Bélgica, a working class neighborhood of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Ponce is a city well known for its rich cultural traditions and is characterized by the emergence and evolution of important Afro-Caribbean music and dances such as the “Bomba,” “Plena” and “Danza.” Arce toured the United States from 1975 to 1982 as an actor and musician. Since 1983, he has been responsible for expanding Bomba and Plena through workshops, classes, residencies programs and performances at schools, festivals, parent and community organizations, and universities, thus becoming one of the most important cultural liaisons to the Puerto Rican community in the United States. After completing his educational program at Boston Conservatory in 1985, where he majored in Musical Theater, he decided to share his experiences with youth and children and to learn more from the community of people who best knew the traditions of his native culture.
In 1987, Arce conceived “Humano” and around the same time, he became the coordinator of a successful cultural program and gained valuable experience leading cultural projects in schools and the community. He then rejoined the community as an artist, combining the elements of tradition with community and cultural awareness.
Jorge received his Master of Education Degree from Harvard University in 1994. He has also received numerous awards, including: the Cardinal Cushing Center Award for Outstanding Services to the Community (1987); the Alianza Hispana Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to the Continuing Growth and Success of the Hispanic Community (1991); the Mayor's Recognition to Outstanding Contributions to the City of Boston (1991); and the Massachusetts House of Representatives Recognition for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts (1991). In 2012, Jorge was recognized as a Traditional Arts Fellowship Finalist by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Mauricio Cadena is a film programmer and promoter who has been actively involved in film festivals and film related projects for the last 18 years. He was the Director of La Orquídea Cuenca Film Festival, for three editions; General Coordinator of the International Documentary Film Festival “Encounters with the other cinema” EDOC, for eight editions, and Producer of the IV DOCTV LATINOAMÉRICA film program, organized by CAACI.
His experience in feature films includes: Second Assistan Director for the 2º Unit in Proof of life, directed by Taylor Hackford; Production Coordinator in Rodents (1999) and Video Assist in Crónicas (2004), both directed by Sebastián Cordero.
He is currently a member of the Council of Advisors in charge of the film nominations for the Fénix Awards organized by Cinema 23, a platform created to promote Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese cinema.
Lyda Kuth is a founding board member and current Executive Director of the LEF Foundation. She has been recognized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council with the prestigious Commonwealth Award and honored by Women in Film and Video New England with the Image Award for Vision & Excellence in the media arts. She is a board member of Creative Capital and IndieCollect. In addition to her philanthropic work, she is also an independent filmmaker. In 2011, she had her debut as director/producer with her film, Love and Other Anxieties; and served as executive producer for Secundaria, with director Mary Jane Doherty, which premiered in 2013.
Lisandra I. Rivera has worked as a Producer, Executive Producer and has been the head of production for several Ecuadorian films such as “Ratas, ratones, rateros” (Sebastián Cordero, 1999), 1809-1810, Mientras llega el día (Camilo Luzuriaga, 2004), Crónicas (Sebastián Cordero, 2004). In 2011, she co-produced Pescador (Sebastián Cordero, Ecuador-Colombia, 2011). In 2013, she co-directed and co-produced the documentary film, La muerte de Jaime Roldós (Ecuador-Argentina, 2013) with Manolo Sarmiento, which won the following awards: the Ibero-American Gabriel García Márquez Journalism Award; the FNPI Imagen category in 2014; Best Documentary Feature Film at the 36th edition of New Latin American Cinema Festival in Havana, Cuba in 2014; Best Latin American Documentary, ex aequo in Cinelatino; 26es Rencontres de Toulouse in 2014, as well as 15 other awards. In 2001, she co-found and for many years served as Executive Producer of the selection committee of the International Documentary Film Festival EDOC-Encuentros del Otro Cine in Ecuador. She has coordinated the technical unit of the fourth edition of the DOCTV Latin America program (2013 – 2014) for the CNCine and CACI (Conference of Cinematographic Authorities of Ibero-America) and from 2015 – 2016 directed and organized the emerging School of Cinema at the University of the Arts (UArtes) in Ecuador.
Alan West-Durán (Cuba, 1953) is a poet, translator, critic, and essayist. He is the author of two books of poems, as well as a book of essays Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined (1997). West-Durán edited African Caribbeans: A Reference Guide (2003) and Latino and Latina Writers (2004), which includes over sixty full-length essays on Latino/a authors of the U.S. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the 2011 two-volume reference work titled Cuba. He is currently writing a history of Cuba through its culture. West-Durán is a contributor to the website “Panoramas” and is editor of the webzine “Cuban Counterpoints”.