PEPE VARGAS, Founder & Executive Director

Entity: International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago

Pepe Vargas personifies creativity, dedication and leadership. As founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, he fosters the understanding of Latino culture through the universal language of the arts by showing, through cultural expressions, that Latinos are defined by more than 20 different nationalities and come from all social and racial backgrounds. In 1985, with a budget of $10,000, an audience of 500 and 14 films projected on a wall, Vargas launched the Chicago Latino Film Festival, which has evolved into the largest and best Latino film festival in the U.S. and Chicago’s biggest International Latino cultural event.