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10th annual Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival offers free movies online

The Grand Rapids Film Festival's 10th annual event goes virtual for the first time due to COVID-19. (WWMT/ Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival)

The 10th annual Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival kicked off Tuesday, but like so many other festivals this year, this one looked a lot different during the pandemic.

The film festival, that aims to celebrate and share Latino and Latin American experiences and stories through film, went entirely virtual for the first time. The festival originally was set to start the first weekend in April, but had to be pushed back because of COVID-19.

The festival's new date lines up with National Hispanic Heritage Month and runs from Sept. 15, 2020 through Oct. 15.

Festival members said bringing these stories to West Michigan is important because of the large Hispanic population that is here and to create a dialogue between people.

"We are not only addressing the Latino community, but the community in general," said Mayra Fortes Gonzalez, a Co-chair of the festival committee and a professor at Grand Valley State University. "We want to foster a dialogue and to create some space for understanding that experiences for some people are just different because it's a different reality, a different history, a different everything."

This year's festival featured nine movies and a series of short films that can be watched anytime until Oct. 15.

The event is free to everyone. Visit their website for more information.