NALIP's Inaugural New Media Track at the Latino Producers Academy

By Kimberly Bautista

After a one-year hiatus, NALIP is back in Santa Fe, NM, offering an intensive 10-day workshop to producers who seek to bring their projects to the next level. This year, the illustrious Richard Saiz, formerly of ITVS, is directing the Latino Producers Academy. For the first time, NALIP has offered a track for new media projects, and is giving Latino producers access to resources and talent to help them conceptualize, design, and develop their transmedia and interactive projects. Jonathan Archer, also formerly of ITVS, is directing the new media track and has invited major talent in the new media world to mentor the LPA Fellows: Heidi Boisvert, Founder of futurePerfect Lab and Takaaki Okada, Founder of Office of Unspecified Services.

One of the main questions that our beloved Acting Executive Director Beni Matias had for the new media track was "How do you get your users to move from an online experience to an offline experience?" Heidi attempts to answer this key question when she talks about "transforming clicktavism into activism" and her work serves as some great examples. See a recent example here

With international funders and broadcasters such as National Film Board of Canada and Arte leading this cutting-edge world for the past several years, funders and broadcasters in the United States have also jumped on the bandwagon. Because of this, it's of utmost importance that NALIP has cultivated a space to harness talent in our community of Latino filmmakers.   

The second day of workshops, the new media teams were faced with a challenge: to produce an original interactive project collaboratively--based on a new topic--in less than 6 hours. This was an invaluable exercise in getting them to think about user profiles (who is your audience?), key partners, function and form, and user experience. Not only did they become familiar with brainstorming for a new media project, but they actually delivered a viable concept for a product that they have already bought the URL for! (The project is currently under wraps, but keep an eye out in the coming months for updates.) The talent and innovation in the room was astounding.

Once the groundwork was laid out, the new media fellows were able to dig deep into the projects they came here with, and really break down their whole strategy from understanding their audiences and their use of technology, to visualizing precisely want they want to accomplish with their interactive projects. This has dictated which route they will take now in deciding the platforms and design that they will use. 

Dawn Valadez of "Turn It Around" made a completely unexpected development on Day 5 at the LPA for her mobile application, which is a tool that evolved in response to a need that she identified in making her film about the Homegrown Teacher Movement. Dawn is rooted in the tradition of verité documentary filmmaking, and she is now thinking of new approaches to deliver content. "I wasn't sure what form the project would take, I just knew I wanted it to be functional and fun." Her new media project will have a life independent of her film, to connect potential teachers from underrepresented communities to resources and services. 

Patricia Benabe of "Puerto Rico: Going Forward" arrived to the LPA with a developed concept for her project, but her interactions with the mentors have pushed the concept even further, implementing animated data visualization. "It's invigorating to see how much more dynamic it could be," Patricia says. 

Laurie Coyle of "Adios Amor" and Albertina Padilla came to the LPA with an even more developed idea--in fact their project, which collects personal stories of Latinas is already live and active at mihistoria.net. "It's evolved to a more participatory experience for our users. Everyone here has been fabulous," says Albertina of her time at the LPA. 

Monika Navarro of "Marked For Life" has developed a whole new component to her new media project, which takes her interactive project to public space with installations in the name of reclaiming space which has been marked by gang injunctions. She credits the new development to the collaborative atmosphere of the LPA and the challenge to change her mindset to "design thinking." "I didn't know what this was going to look like before I came here," after working with great mentors, she has a clear idea on how she will visualize a complicated issue. "There's a lot more work to do," she says with enthusiasm and determination. Now, she has the blueprint she'll need to approach funders and deliver the first phase of her project. 

For the play-by-play on updates about the #LPA2013, follow @NALIP_org on Twitter. 

Latino Producers Academy was made possible by support of our funders and sponsors from Corporation of Public Broadcasting, HBO, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Fledgling Fund, POV/American Documentary, Latino Public Broadcasting, Univision, and the California Arts Council, among others.