Glaucia Baena Soares has a big secret. "I will not die until I do it," she says. "I don't know how it will come out, but it's for sure."

Part of her secret, she will admit, is a desire to direct a film, but more than that she will not say.

Meanwhile, the native Brazilian is keeping close to the pulse by heading the Latin American Film Festival advisory committee, which brings its first festival of Latin American films to Washington this week. From Oct. 17 through 24, films from such countries as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico and Puerto Rico will be screened in the American Film Institute auditorium of the Kennedy Center.

Soares sees the festival as a showcase. "I want the public to get more familiar with Latin American cinema -- especially considering the large number of Hispanics in the D.C. area," she says.

As to whether the films share a "Latin" theme, Soares is adamant. "There's no such thing," she says. "If a film is good, it's good. It's like a poem -- you admire its beauty and purity -- you don't ask where the artist is from."

And as to what makes Soares such an authority, she says, "I think it has to do with a person's constitution. It was something underneath my skin. I was born. There were movies. I was simply attracted, drawn in.

"It simply has to be done."

For information call 946-8400.