Mrs. Freda Sideroff was born in Punta Gorda Toledo District, Belize to Rosenda and Guadalupe Paulino. She was later raised in Punta Gorda Town during her formative years and moved to Los Angeles, California in 1978. She owes her upbringing to her aunt Virginia Roches, uncle Edison Roches now deceased, grandparents, Stephen and Eulojia Paulino, Thomas and Felipa Enriquez. Since a kid, she was born into the Garifuna culture and later discovered that her great grandmother, Maria Teul, was Mayan. This is how her love and respect towards indigenous cultures emerged.
“The essence of our culture is lost if knowledge is not passed down into the next generation.”
She is a wife, mother, grandmother, businesswoman, Producer, Director, filmmaker, writer and humanitarian who is currently a student at the University of South California (USC) for Creative Writing. Mrs. Sideroff is happily married to Dr. Stephen Sideroff, a distinguished Psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s School of Medicine.
Since her stay in Los Angeles, Mrs. Sideroff has built and maintained a strong relationship with the Consulate of Belize in Los Angeles and its staff. She recently served as one of the sponsors and speakers at the September 10th Celebrations and continues to serve as the President and Founder of the critically acclaimed Garifuna International Film Festival in its 9th year. Freda Sideroff’s focus has been to enlighten, educate, and give voice to the Garifuna culture, paying homage by including indigenous cultures of all nations.
In 2012, the first year of the GIIFF, a proclamation was issued proclaiming May 26th “Garifuna Film Day” in the city of Los Angeles & State of California, signed by former Mayor Antonio Villaregosa and his council members. Congressional commendations have been issued from Congresswoman Janice Hahn and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Thanks to the success that the festival has had, she was able to start the nonprofit 501c3 Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival this year.
Mrs. Sideroff enjoys travelling back home at least three times a year where she often has brought the Garifuna Film Festival to southern places in Belize such as Seine Bight, St. Vincent Greiggs, and Punta Gorda. During her visits to Belize, she also documents, films and very soon, in 2020, she will publish her own documentary featuring Garifuna and Spirituality.
Mrs. Freda is also the Director and Producer, along with his husband, of the documentary titled “Blessed by Blood” and of the Harrington Trapp’s soon-to-be released Christmas CD. She is currently in the process of writing her first book of poetry and invites the community to submit their art, films and documentaries to the 9th annual GIIFF.
Besides being interviewed in several occasions such as in Voice of America and Channel 5 TV, Mrs. Freda is a producer of Ambassador of Music Awards and an advocate for Mental Health Awareness. She has two great children, Eulogia and Akil Goree and two stepchildren, Desiree Sideroff Michels and Alexandra Sideroff. Thanks to individuals like Mrs. Freda Sideroff, the knowledge of Belize’s richness in culture and diversity has been able to be promoted and spread in the US and the world.