Limited NALIP Media Summit Early Bird Registration

NALIP members, register today for the NALIP Media Summit and get $200 off the regular price! Don't miss out on the chance to learn the secrets from the industry's top executives, through panel discussions, keynote lunches and countless networking opportunities that will move your career forward.

If you’re not a NALIP member, we’re offering an early bird special just for you! For $230 you become a NALIP member and are automatically registered to the NALIP Media Summit. Don't think about it too much, this special offer will be over before you know it!

Prime Latino Media Salon, Mar. 25 in NYC

NALIP-NY, Tio Louie, HOLA, and United Latino Professionals NY invite you to join us at the Prime Latino Media Salon, New York's only monthly series for Latino multimedia-makers and actors. The next event is Tues., Mar. 25 from 6-10pm.

This month's program features networking and a conversation with five urban Latino comedians in web series: Michael Diaz, Jaime Fernandez, Anthony Palmini, Jesenia & Jenni Ruiza.

Three Latino comedians and two Latina comediennes walk into a bar and the bartender asks, “Is this some kind of a joke?” No, this is serious business! They write, film, produce and act in their own comedy sketches and launch it digitally as a web series. How do you capture the challenging “funny,” put it on the web and build a following? We screen works by two different groups who are connected by New York Latino urban flavor determined to distribute their projects through alternative channels with the objective of developing opportunities to further their careers and break down some barriers. Hear some funny & serious stories as they take us behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera for their rollercoaster ride as successful multimedia-makers and actors doing it. Join us as the movement continues!

Date & Program Schedule: Tuesday, March 25th, 6-10PM
6-8PM: Networking (Happy Hour 6-7PM)
8-9: Fireside Chat: 2 Interviews & Networking
9-10: Networking


Venue & location: Alquimia (Bistro Bar), 506 Ninth Avenue, bet. 38-39 Sts.
Food and drink available at cash bar.

• Moderator: TIO LOUIE/Louis E. Perego Moreno, President, Skyline Features
• Interview #1: Michael Diaz, Jaime Fernandez & Anthony Palmini of the web series, STUDIOHEADS
• Interview #2: Jesenia & Jenni Ruiza of the web series, Becoming Ricardo, Comedy Girls Radio Show & SNL (Still No Latinas)

Michael Diaz
In 2006, Michael wrote, directed, produced and starred in his first independent film, The Story of Juan Bago. He has appeared in HBO’s Habla, The Bochinche Bueno Show on Urban Latino radio and now on video at UrbanoTV, a short film Act of Love, and has worked on NUVOtv’s Latino101 and MTV Tr3s’ Chisme Club. He formed Heights Entertainment that led to a viral hit as the spoof of Wiz Khalifa’s hit song “Black and Yellow” called Pan con Queso. Michael is involved in a couple of projects including Brisk Bodega Chat and several webisode projects including hosting 123unodostres, a new digital hub for a young, multi-cultural demographic.

Jaime Fernandez
First a stand-up comedian, he transitioned into acting in both live & filmed sketch comedy as co-founder of comedy troupe, Room 28. He has been in The Ghouligans! (mini-series), Sandman’s Box, The Tickets, and Arthouse Film. TV credits include HBO Latino’s Habla Ya!, commentator on NUVOtv’s Latino 101; commercials: Optimum Online and Jackson Hewitt. Voiceover work for Citibank, Tecate Beer, MIO Liquid Enhancer, and voicing the character of Armando in Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony. He wrote & acted in webseries, Work Jerks and Studio Heads. He stars in web series, Henry, recently accepted into the NY Television Film Festival.

Anthony Palmini
He is an actor, stand-up comedian, director, editor and composer who first started by directing shorts and sending them off to film festivals to sharpen his skills in the craft, then furthered his artistic abilities by editing and composing music for his own projects. Today he covers the gamut from composing music for independent films to serving as an Assistant Editor for TV networks and directing promotional videos.

As a proud NuyoRican-StandUp, Sketch & Improv Comedy Actress, Writer and Producer, in 2009, she began co-producing & writing for Ay Que Funny Sketch Comedy Show running for 3 years at the NuyoRican Poets Café, the National Comedy Theater and Broadway Comedy Club. In 2012 she began her own Improv performance group called the Loco Motives. She then began writing ten episodes and shooting some for the TV Sitcom webseries, Becoming Ricardo. In 2013, Jesenia began co-producing & co-hosting the Comedy Girls Radio Show, a monthly show on blogtalkRadio, featuring her and Jenni Ruiza, as lead actors. 

Jenni Ruiza
A comedy actress & writer with TV/Film experience, she began writing sketch comedy and was a featured player for Ay Que Funny, an off-broadway sketch show produced by Jesenia in 2011. She then joined the improv troupe, the Loco Motives, performing musical improv. She acts, Co-writes, produces and is Assistant Director on the comedic webseries, Becoming Ricardo. She most recently signed on as contributor for Fusion Network for "Alicia Menendez Tonight." Latina Magazine named her as one of the "Latina comedians who fit the bill" for Saturday Night Live and by FOX News Latino as one Latina comedian who's "taken the internet by storm". Jenni is also the co-host of the COMEDY GIRLS radio show with Jesenia.

Stay tuned... next PRIME LATINO MEDIA Salón: April 2014

Deadline Approaching: POV Hackathon LA & NY

Documentary filmmakers, multimedia journalists, new media artists, web developers! Do you have vision for how your next project could re-invent the documentary for the web? Apply to participate in POV Hackathon, the nonfiction media lab that Fast Company recently called one of 2014's "most anticipated events." 

Two labs will take place over two weekends - in New York City (POV Hackathon 5, May 10-11, 2014) and, for the first time, Los Angeles (POV Hackathon 6, May 17-18, 2014). Applications are due Wednesday March 26 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. 

Find out more at, read the FAQ or go directly to the application form.

POV Hackathon 5 will take place the Center for Social Innovation in New York City, home for a diverse community of people and organizations that are creating a better world. POV Hackathon 6 will take place in partnership with CreatorUp!, the place where anyone can learn to make great video content, and Hub LA, a gathering place for people working to create positive change in the world.

Study Shows Film & TV Tax Credits Boost California Economy

Today, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) released a study, which was conducted by the LAEDC's Economic & Policy Analysis Group, assessing the impact of California's Film and Television Tax Credit Program. Specifically, the study reviews 109 film and television projects that have been allocated credits and completed production (to date) in the first three fiscal years of the program; it assesses the impact of the first three years of allocated funding of California's Film and Television Tax Credit Program; and it evaluates several alternatives to the current program.
Highlighted economic and fiscal impacts of the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program, described in further detail in the study linked below, include: 
For each $1 of tax credit certificate issued, total economic activity in the state increased by $19.12
For each $1 of tax credit certificate issued, labor income increased by $7.15
For each $1 of tax credit certificate issued, total Gross State Product increased by $9.48
For each $1 of tax credit certificate issued, $1.11 was returned to local and state governments
To read the full study, go here.

Where You'll Find Financiers For Your Film (& What Not To Do)

I was speaking to a client the other day about his Business Plan and how he was going to raise money for his film.

For the type of film he is going to make and with the new-ish director that is on board, there is very little chance for pre-sale financing... which is of course OK but requires a unique approach.

When raising money for your film, if you're not 'baking' distribution into the equation with pre-sales, then you should be making the film for as little as possible or using as little private equity as possible as to protect your investors.

Just one look at the sales numbers that completed films are making in the marketplace should change your mind on using private equity to fund a big budget indie!

So what are the options then for finding investors then if you don't have the type of film that is pre-saleable?

One way to go about it is to look for investors who have a vested interest in your film or in the subject matter of your film.

For example, if you have a film like FS member Samantha Lavin's 7on10 where one of the themes is recovery from addiction, you could seek out investors who are recovering addicts themselves and passionate about spreading that message.

I'm not saying finding investors is easy by any stretch, but if you have that all-important target audience and 'hook' built in to your project, it gives you a direction to start searching for investor prospects. (or like in Samantha's case, they will find you)

And who knows, along the way, you might find one of those investors who is passionate enough about the story you're trying to tell that they want to finance your film and have it as part of their legacy.

In short, if you're making a film that isn't going to have pre-sales baked into the financing equation, you need to…

1. Bring that budget down as much as possible since the prices you can pull from the market once the film are completed is lower than you think….

2. Seek out investors who aren't necessarily motived by profit (since it is highly unlikely they'll profit from a film based on pure equity financing anyway) but who are passionate about the message of your film and are more interested in supporting your cause and/or leaving a legacy.

Announcing the NALIP Moves Me Forward Video Challenge!

Dear Media Makers, it is our pleasure to announce the first ever NALIP Moves Me Forward Video Challenge!

We are awarding a limited number of applicants a full 2014 NALIP Media Summit registration, entrance to the Gala Awards ceremony, plus shared hotel accommodations and, if applicable, a $200 travel stipend (for winners outside of California only). A $1000 value! So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and start rolling!

Not enough time to submit a video? No worries! You can now register for the NALIP Media Summit at

See you at the Sheraton!

Fox Broadcasting COO Joins Top ABC, NBC and CBS Entertainment Executives in NHMC MediaCon Keynote Panel

Joe Earley, Chief Operating Officer at Fox Broadcasting, will join previously announced speakers CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, and ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee in a keynote panel session moderated by NHMC President & CEO Alex Nogales at the 3rd Annual NHMC MediaCon, to be held at the Hilton Universal City Hotel on Thursday, March 27, 2014.

The network executives will discuss the changing climate in broadcast television and what is in store for the future. They will also address the importance of diversity and the networks' efforts to include more Latinos, other people of color, and women both in front and back of camera.

The 2014 NHMC MediaCon will also feature a dynamic line-up of media and entertainment experts, including HBO Vice President of Original Programming, David Levine; noted film director, writer and producer Gregory Nava ("Mi Familia," "Selena," "Frida"); Google Sr. Policy Counsel Katherine Oyama; NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios Vice President of Programming Talent Development and Inclusion, Karen Horne; UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Director Chon Noriega; and National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Executive Director, Axel Caballero.

The 2014 NHMC MediaCon will cover the following topics:
- The Latino Moviegoer
- Reaching the Emerging Online Audience
- Opportunities in TV Content and Programming
- Empowering Latinas in Entertainment

NALIP members: Register now for 2014 NHMC MediaCon and get 40% off registration

The Incoherent Backlashes to Black Actors Playing 'White' Superheroes

By Noah Berlatsky, The Atlantic

Michael B. Jordan has been cast as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four movie. For many prospective viewers, that announcement will raise the question that any announcement of a Michael B. Jordan movie raises: Will he be shirtless, and for how much screen time? Other superhero fans, though, are distracted by less wholesome concerns. Johnny Storm, they have noticed, is white. Michael B. Jordan is black. How, they wonder, can this be?

The outcry over interracial casting here appears to be much more muted than the stir over Idris Elba's role as Heimdall in the Thor franchise, which provoked boycott threats. Still, I've seen people on Twitter talking about how the casting will "ruin" the franchise. I'm not going to link because I'm leery of shaming people that way on a mainstream site, but if you look around you can find them without too much trouble. (Niki Cruz has rounded up some of the response, with names redacted, here.) This echoes earlier controversies in which a campaign to get Donald Glover cast as Spider-Man met with racially fraught backlash, while the casting of Amandla Stenberg as Rue in The Hunger Games provoked angry social media whining.

People say they object to black casting because it's untrue to the original source material, and a betrayal of the characters—a claim that seems particularly dicey in the case of The Hunger Games, where Rue is black in the original novel. But even in the case of the Fantastic Four, where Jack Kirby and Stan Lee did in fact make the team white, the plea to be faithful to the founding seems to raise a lot of questions.

After all, it's not like there's been one, true, unwavering Fantastic Four over the decades. The Thing was originally drawn by Jack Kirby as a lumpy mess; it took a while for him to settle down into the more-streamlined orange form fans know and love. Sue Storm at first could only turn invisible; it was some time before she developed the invisible force fields that made her useful in a fight. For that matter, She-Hulk replaced the Thing on the team for a while. And then there was a popular series where the Fantastic Four turned into zombies. Comics are serial soap-opera fantasies; people change costumes, grow blue fur, die, grow a third eye, come back to life, are replaced by a clone and turn to the dark side. Nothing stays the same. Why, then, is this particular, relatively minor alteration in canon seen as a betrayal?

You could argue that racial difference is more noticeable, or different in kind, than plot-driven death or blue fur or zombiefication. But then, how account for the fact that in the comics characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Green Lantern have, at various times, been black? More, certain changes in racial background or casting seem to provoke little comment. No one, as far as I'm aware, has complained about Scarlett Johansson's casting as the Black Widow on ethnic grounds. Yet Johansson’s background is Jewish. The original Black Widow, Natalia Romanova, has what appears to be an ethnic Russian name; there was no indication that she was originally supposed to be Jewish. Given the anti-Semitism in Cold War Russia, a Jewish ethnic identity would in context be a significant alteration to the character. Why, then, do people care about Storm, but nobody cared about Romanov?

The answer is obvious enough. American racism holds that only certain racial differences matter. Jews, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Irish—all those people are white and can play one another with nary an eyebrow raised. Nobody is worried about whether Sue Storm has exactly the mix of Irish, German, and French-Canadian ancestry as Kate Mara, who has been cast to play her. For that matter, no one would say a thing if the actors cast to play Sue and Johnny, sister and brother, came from different ethnic backgrounds and didn't look much alike. It's only when one is black and one is white that you need to start worrying about family logistics. (And yes, you can find folks doing that on Twitter as well—because getting turned into living fire by cosmic rays is an everyday thing, but adoption is weird.)

"Fans often seem to believe that if a character is changed from white to black, they will no longer be able to identify with that superhero" Aaron Kashtan, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech who teaches a course on transmedia storytelling, wrote in an email to me. Kashtan adds that this is an example of "unconscious or overt racism"—a point underlined by the fact that the barriers to identification are so clearly arbitrary. Certain different people—Jews, or Irish, or folks with a hide made of orange rock—can be points of identification. Others, especially African-Americans or anyone with dark skin, can't.  The issue here isn't staying true to the original.  The issue is racism.

Kashtan points out as well that staying true to the original is in itself not easily separable from racism. "Superhero comics were developed in the cultural context of '60s America," he says,  "where it was just normal for all the characters to be white. When Stan Lee included a black character, Gabe Jones, in Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, he actually had to tell the color separators that this character was supposed to be black, because the default assumption was that every character would be white." Kashtan adds that, "This default assumption of whiteness is no longer acceptable."

That's a good thing.  Hopefully, Fantastic Four will be a hit in part because of Michael B. Jordan (shirtless or not); Hollywood will continue to put African-American superheroes on screen, and eventually folks won't feel any more need to grumble than they did when that non-Kryptonian Henry Cavill was cast as Superman. 

Support NALIP in our Fight for Online Freedom

Knight News Challenge made an open call for ideas that would strengthen the internet, driving free expression and creative innovation.

With our recent loss of net neutrality this January, NALIP responded to this challenge with OPEN | ABIERTO - An Online Freedom Film Festival, that will ask our producers and community at large to submit videos for a virtual online film festival embracing online neutrality, equality and freedom. 

Read more on OPEN | ABIERTO - An Online Freedom Film Festival and make sure you click the pink "Applaud this" button to support NALIP and net neutrality.

Call for Applicaitons: Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund

The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund will provide annual production grants totaling $95,000 to be used in the creation of original, independent documentary films that illuminate pressing issues in the United States.  Grants will be made to up to 6 projects that tell a compelling story and focus on one of Pare Lorentz’s central concerns - the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all or the illumination of pressing social problems.

The fund supports full-length documentary films that reflect the spirit and nature of Pare Lorentz’s work, exhibiting objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, high production values, artistic writing, outstanding music composition, as well as skillful direction, camerawork and editing.  A program of the International Documentary Association, the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund is made possible by The New York Community Trust.

Read about the application guidelines and eligibility requirements are available on the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund application page. Click on the 'Submit Letter of Inquiry Now' button on the bottom by March 31st, 2014 to submit your LOI.

Indie Film VOD Myths vs. Reality

By Roger Jackson, co-founder of KinoNation, for Truly Free Film

At Kinonation we talk to dozens of filmmakers every week, and often discuss myths about Video-on-Demand. Here's my top ten...

1. Myth: Every VOD outlet will accept my film.

Reality: Most outlets select or decline films at their discretion and rarely give reasons for a "NO" decision. In the USA, only Amazon and Google Play accept all films. (Amazon is limited to Amazon Instant Video. Amazon Prime will typically reject films that contain drug use, sex, nudity, violence, etc.)

2. Myth: Theatrical creative will work for VOD

Reality: Your film will be more successful if you create for VOD from the beginning. A 4-foot high poster that looks fantastic at this size will often NOT work for VOD. We constantly see posters that at VOD thumbnail size have difficult to read titles, and wholly unreadable loglines, press quotes, etc. Not to mention the credits block at the bottom which is entirely a waste of space. With VOD you have perhaps a few seconds to convince the browsing audience to "pick me." That means a highly provocative title, a readable logline that makes it instantly clear what the film is about, and simple but engaging artwork that reinforces title and logline. Important: direct your designer to make it ALL readable at half the size of a pack of smokes!

3. Myth: iTunes is the most important VOD platform

Reality: iTunes is still huge for big studio films, and of course it's a prestigious platform for indies also. But many filmmakers are disappointed by their iTunes numbers, particularly if it's a film that iTunes have accepted, but not promoted or given high-level online real estate.

4. Myth: IMDb isn't important

Reality: The IMDb page for a film will be the first stop on any outlet's Select or Decline decision process. First impressions count for a lot. You absolutely must have an IMDB poster image, and the page needs to be complete, including logline, description, etc. Most important, mobilize your posse of friends, family, cast & crew to write positive reviews. And help them with review ideas – IMDb mandates long-ish reviews (10 lines minimum) which is a fairly high bar. At the very least get them to rate the film highly. It's harder for us to successfully pitch a movie that is rated less than 5/10.

5. Myth: Filmmakers should do their own delivery to Amazon

Reality: You can, but at the risk of sounding self-serving, it's a bad idea. Using an aggregator (Kinonation or whoever) ensures your film is eligible for Amazon's global outlets (UK, Germany, Japan, etc.) It's also much faster — from deliver to live for us with Amazon is 2 weeks or less. Plus, we often deal with films that are already on Amazon via CreateSpace, but are simply not getting any action — often because the filmmaker simply didn't understand the importance of creating custom creative, per #2 above.

6. Myth: VOD "views" equates to how many watched the full film

Reality: Well, not really. The devil is in the details, and here the detail is a statistic called "Average View-Thru." Expressed as a percentage, this shows how far thru the film the audience got on average. ("mean average" that is.) What that means is that some people bail in the first 5 mins – and some watch to the end. We find 45-55% average view-thru is common, but movies with a "grab 'em fast and hold 'em hard" open tend to keep much more of the audience to the end. Take-away is the obvious one: grab your audience fast, with a cold-open and straight into the action.

7. Myth: Once my film is live on a VOD outlet, the audience will find it.

Reality: The film will get a certain amount of "organic" traffic. But for it to make any serious money, someone needs to pour marketing gasoline over it – and then ignite!

8. Myth: Social media is all I need for marketing.

Reality: Social media can be very helpful if you know what you're doing and work very hard at it. But don't expect the "affinity group" for your film to just find you. You must (first) identify them, then (second) find out where they hang out, and (third) find ways to reach them.

9. Myth: Negative reviews & comments are highly damaging.

Reality: You cannot avoid bad reviews, whether it's a theatrical or a VOD release. They are as inevitable as death & taxes. Embrace them, engage with every single person who takes the time to comment, however nasty they seem. Thank them for watching your film, and tell them you hope they'll enjoy your next movie more. You'll be amazed how this takes the sting from their comments, and it creates action around your film (we call it "review velocity") that helps with the outlet algorithms.

10. Myth: If the reviews/comments are really horrible, I can pull my film.

Reality: Sometime, but not always. If you're so offended that you want to pull down your film, talk to your aggregator. But not all outlets will play ball. Amazon, for example, will disable the video but leave the film record live. Then you have the worst of all worlds – negative reviews, and no way for anyone to watch the film and write a good review.

Instead, the solution to negative reviews is to a) develop a thick skin and b) mobilize many more positive comments.

Roger Jackson is a producer and the co-founder of film distribution start-up KinoNation. He was Vice President, Content for digital film pioneer and has produced warzone documentaries in Darfur, Palestine, Bangladesh and Nepal... plus a reality series for VH1 and one rather bad movie for Fox’s FuelTV. You can reach him at

Hollywood Networking Breakfast With '12 Years A Slave' Producer Dede Gardner, Mar. 26

This month's Hollywood Networking Breakfast will be held Wednesday, March 26th from 8:00-10:30am at Raleigh Studios.
Wednesday, March 26 from 8:00-10:30am
Raleigh Studios
5300 Melrose Ave, LA, CA 90038.
Have breakfast and Q&A with Dede Gardner, Academy Award-winning producer of "12 Years A Slave" ("Best Picture") and president of Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment, where she oversees a wide range of film and television projects. Currently, Dede is preparing to go into pre-production on Ava DuVernay's Sela, a film Plan B Entertainment is producing in association with Oprah Winfrey. Gardner is also working with ABC, HBO, and Starz on several TV projects as well as developing films with directors David Fincher, James Gray, and Greg Mottola.
READ FULL BIO, Online Reservations, Breakfast Info, Policies & Guidelines & Private Meeting Guidelines with Breakfast Speakers Here: It is your responsibility to read/be aware of the policies and guidelines.
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: Full buffet breakfast. $5 discount off the regular on-time price of $45 for first-time attendees from THIS list (i.e. $40- mail-in only -- Changing Images in America, P.O. Box 2688, Hollywood, CA 90078; deadlines apply).

First Kiss: 44 Million Views in 72 Hours

By Zing Tsjeng, Dazed

If you've been anywhere near your laptop or phone in the last 3 days, you've almost definitely seen people talking about First Kiss, the video that features 20 improbably attractive strangers make out with each other for the first time. As with most feel-good viral videos, not all is as it seems: the short film by rookie director Tatia Plleva is actually from Wren, a clothing brand based in New York. But by racking up 44 million views – and counting – since it was put on YouTube at around 2 PM Monday, some people are already deeming First Kiss to be an "unprecedented achievement" for a fashion film. In fact, it just might be the most successful fashion film ever made. 

It's not the first time a fashion film has pulled in huge numbers of online viewers, but First Kiss is unique in that it doesn't rely on a huge budget or big names to do it. A lot has been made of how the people in the video are actually musicians, models and actors, including French singer/actress Soko and model Langley Fox, sister of Dree Hemingway. So far, Wren founder and creative director Melissa Coker has maintained that the cast in the film are actually her real-life friends and colleagues. They're just, you know, super good-looking. Obvs. 

But the central conceit of the film – that none of these people have met prior to the shoot – appears to be real. Coker told Fashionista that she paired people up based on  “who aesthetically would be a nice pairing” as well as “who are my guy friends who my girl friends would think are cute.” 

"Action was never called, so a lot of these people didn’t necessarily know if they were being filmed or not, so you see these real moments," Coker explains. First Kiss just captures the natural interaction of two incredibly attractive strangers as they encounter each other for the first time.

On one hand, it's difficult to gauge the success of this film. Despite the "Wren presents" text that opens the film, it's only now that its association with a fashion label is coming to light. Most people weren't immediately aware it was branded – certainly, none of the 20 or so people I saw posting the video on Facebook knew that they were inadvertently promoting a brand. The clothes aren't exactly the focal point, either.

But if you're going to gauge success by audience reaction alone, First Kiss blows every other fashion film out of the water. First Kiss doesn't rely on celebrity sponsorship, elaborate sets or big-name directors – and it's shot in a simple studio, too. While labels won't usually disclose how much it costs to shoot a video, you can bet it often goes into the five or six figure sums. Louis Vuitton's latest film, L'Invitation au Voyage, took four months to get to 33 million views – and it featured hundreds of extras, Arizona Muse, a Venetian palace, and – oh yeah – David Bowie. Karl Lagerfeld's film for Chanel, Once Upon A Time, cast Keira Knightley as Coco and demanded a painstakingly detailed recreation of the designer's first ever boutique in Deauville, circa 1913. (It currently has less than 110,000 views on YouTube.) 

This isn't a diss of big budget videos, of course, which have their place in the seasonal promotional cycle for a brand. Films can qualify as successes on their own artistic terms, too: Candy, Wes Anderson's uber-charming Parisian short with Lea Seydoux for Prada comes to mind. But the success of First Kiss suggests that sometimes, a breathtakingly simple concept can triumph about all else. 

But judging from the response to the video – people have told Wren that it "restores their faith in love" – First Kiss has managed to elicit more emotion in three and a half minutes than any of its big budget contemporaries. Whether or not you're a cynic about the advertising motives behind the video (or just worried that some of these people are going to get glandular fever from all this kissing), that's definitely something to think about. 

New PBS Exec Touts More Latino Content, Talent

By Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News

When Ken Burns' documentary series "The War" spurred protests in 2007 for not including Latino veterans, the gifted filmmaker who so effortlessly can tell a story seemed totally oblivious to his own.

Latinos pressed PBS for change. Grudgingly, Burns corrected his omission with additional footage on Latino vets.

Ill feelings lingered, however. Today, critics can debate how much real change PBS has undergone in seven years. But in hiring Juan Sepúlveda to join its senior management team in Washington, D.C., it might have made its biggest move to date.

Sepúlveda, a former San Antonian and former host of KLRN's "Conversations," has been promoting the Latino story for decades.

He told one especially close to his heart. "The Life and Times of Willie Velásquez: Su Voto Es Su Voz," published in 2005, paid tribute to his mentor, the late founder of the San Antonio-based Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.

A veteran of the Democratic National Committee and White House, Sepúlveda became PBS senior vice president for station services in January. Last week, he was in San Antonio for meetings.

Sepúlveda is a graduate of Harvard, Oxford and Stanford and was the third Latino Rhodes Scholar. He was the first in his family to go to college. His relatives were railroad workers.

Of his Topeka, Kan., hometown, he says, "Brown vs. Board of Education is my neighborhood," referring to the Supreme Court case that found segregated public schools unconstitutional.

Sepúlveda met Velásquez as an intern at SVREP. Like many others, "I fell under his spell," Sepúlveda says.

He met Barack Obama in the 1990s, when a professor friend, Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," brought them together for a national advisory panel.

The lone Latino there met the "skinny black guy, a community organizer from Chicago, who was working on Project Vote," says Sepúlveda, who became an early supporter and ran Obama's campaign in Texas.

Sepúlveda went to Washington as executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. He was tapped next by the Democratic National Committee for the president's re-election effort, serving as senior adviser for Hispanic affairs.

It's worth mentioning Sepúlveda met Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, when she came on "Conversations," which he hosted from 2004 to 2009. She was new to the job. They stayed in touch.

"Fast forward to last November," he says. She reached out. He was thinking of coming home (meaning San Antonio) and looking for a job outside the administration. She made him promise not to take anything until talking with her.

That was that.

In his new job, Sepúlveda says he'll represent independent stations "to ensure that PBS programs, products and services support each station's connection to its community and audience."

He'll help reshape his post and will push "the diversity of talent pipeline" at PBS. That will be important, especially given Ray Suarez's departure from PBS' "NewsHour" last year.

Sepúlveda says a lot of Latino content is in the works to follow up from last fall's documentary series, "Latino Americans." "The number of our Latino viewers doubled after that," he said. "It's not rocket science."

He's excited about an upcoming documentary on the life of Ruben Salazar, the Latino journalist killed in the Los Angeles anti-war moratorium marches in 1970, and a Latino-themed historical drama by Dennis Leoni ("Resurrection Blvd") called "Alta California."

At 9 p.m. Monday night, KLRN will air "Las Marthas," a documentary about the young women presented during Laredo's annual George Washington celebration.

Sepúlveda says PBS has to become better at telling its story, and that it's a myth that it's not providing Latino content.

And there's some truth to that. Though the Burns' chapter was indicative of a total lack of awareness and sensitivity, PBS largely has stood alone among non-Spanish-language networks in airing and distributing Latino-themed programs. Serious filmmakers, Latinos included, have found audiences through PBS.

In another pointed example, he said Ken Burns is working on a new series for PBS on the war in Vietnam. Latino veterans will be included.

Call for Submissions: CBS Diversity Institute's Writers Mentoring Program

CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 season. The submission period for this next session runs from March 3, 2014 thru May 1, 2014. The deadline for 2014-2015 submission period is May 1, 2014.

The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.

The Writers Mentoring Program is not employment and there is no monetary compensation. It is, instead, a structured program of career development, support, and personal access to executives and decision-making processes, with the goal of preparing aspiring writers for later employment opportunities in television.

Appy online at:

Robert Rodriguez, Mountain Dew Team Up to Find New Filmmakers

By Brian Steinberg, Variety

In Robert Rodriguez's 2007 film "Planet Terror," a greenish gas causes havoc and turns normal townspeople into rampaging zombies. In 2014, the director will team up with a greenish liquid to find new filmmakers and gain some promotional assistance for his new cable network.

The maverick director, best known for films including 2001's "Spy Kids" and 2005's "Sin City," will partner with PepsiCo's Mountain Dew soda in a video-making contest known as Green Label Studios: Open Call that will award $250,000 to the winner along with an opportunity to gain Rodriguez and producer Roberto Orci as mentors. In turn, said Rodriguez in an interview, Mountain Dew will work to promote "Matador," a drama series from Orci and partner Alex Kurtzman set to debut on the recently launched El Rey Network in July.

The idea, said Greg Lyons, VP of marketing for Mountain Dew, is to mix the beverage more deeply in the interests of its consumers without throwing traditional advertising at them. For several years, Mountain Dew has, under the rubric of its Green Label content venture, highlighted efforts from emerging voices in music, fashion and sports. Now its backers want to raise the drink's profile in the world of film.

"We want professional and aspiring creators to submit content that embodies 'doing the Dew,'" said Lyons, or expressing the passion one feels for a hobby or favorite activity. "It doesn't matter what the content is as long as it embodies the spirit of the brand."

Rodriguez is beating the promotional drums for his cable outlet, El Rey Network, which launched late last year and features a TV-series version of the director's 1996 cult favorite "From Dusk Till Dawn" as its flagship series.

"We have talked a lot about some of the things we could do together," Lyons said. "There are so many different avenues we can take to partner together that I don't want to commit to one thing." Univision Communications is a minority investor in El Rey Network.

To secure some of its initial advertiser support, El Rey Network has liberally offered Rodriguez's creative services. Rodriguez and his creative team will create 30- to 90-second video vignettes for General Motors that play off themes from original programs on El Rey. Heineken USA's Dos Equis beer will be woven into "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series," in which the storyline will feature scenes at a bar. The network will also create specific content for Heineken that can run on its air.

While that amount of activity may seem overwhelming for any TV network, which also has to develop and launch shows, Rodriguez said he thinks the deeper partnerships with initial advertisers will provide a good return to sponsors coming to El Rey before it has proven itself. "I really want to do right by the partners and give them something extra that can help their brands as well," he said. "I'm totally excited about working with these companies that come early on and put their money where their mouth is."

The director said he appreciates the opportunity to find new, even raw, talent and may well find some opportunities for the winner of the Green Label contest.

According to Lyons, content will need to be submitted to by April 25, after which it will be judged. Ten finalists will be culled from the initial entries. Those contestants will travel to New York to meet with an expert panel of filmmakers and content creators and will be required to fulfill an assignment: Each will receive $10,000 to create a new video. Rodriguez and Orci will pick the grand prize winner.

Prime Latino Media Salon, Mar. 13 in NYC

NALIP-NY, Tio Louie, HOLA, and United Latino Professionals NY invite you to join us at the Prime Latino Media Salon, New York's only monthly series for Latino multimedia-makers and actors. The next event is Thurs., Mar. 13 from 6-8:30pm.

This month's program features networking and a conversation with four Latino actors turned producer-directors: Adel Morales, Mónica Palmieri, Luis Caballero, Adrian Manzano.

Thursday, March 13th, 6-8:30PM
Metro-New York's only monthly series for Latino multimedia-makers & actors

One new directive to actors has been, "If you can't find work, create projects that showcase your talent." Then there are the ones whose talents have evolved to calling the shots behind the camera. Experience storytelling magic by people who know what it is to be in front of the camera with behind-the-scenes crafting. We screen work by four diverse Latinos who share their pearls of wisdom, journey and how they have overcome challenges to successfully produce. Join us as the movement continues!

Date & Program Schedule: Thursday, March 13th, 6-8:30PM
6PM: Arrival & Networking
6:30-7:30: Live recording for TV broadcast on Manhattan Neighborhood Network
7:30-8:30: Networking

Venue & location: El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center, 175 E. 104th Street (between Lexington & Third Avenues)

• Moderator: TIO LOUIE/Louis E. Perego Moreno, President, Skyline Features
• Adel Morales: Writer/Director/Producer/Editor Web Series, Pushing Dreams
• Mónica Palmieri: Producer/Lead Actress short film, Derailing
• Luis Caballero: Director/Writer of Spanish-language feature, El Color de la Guayaba (The Color of Guava)
• Adrian Manzano: Director/Writer/Actor feature film: Sex, Love & Salsa
Adel L. Morales
A former high school English teacher of 17 years, in 2004 co-founded HollyHood Productions. He is known for making a series of urban short films delving into moral dilemmas: The Reckoning, Repentance and Trouble Child. Adel, already a SAG member, became the President of NALIP-NY in 2008 and in 2011 appeared in the critically-acclaimed feature film Gun Hill Road, which premiered at Sundance. He wrote, directed, & produced HollyHood's fourth short film, Promises Promises, in 2011. Adel is working on his 2nd Master's at NYU's Film School: Have Knot (his 1st NYU short film) & Missing Grandma (his 2nd NYU short film). He is in post-production for The Watermelon Lesson, Some Last Day and Since I Laid Eyes (his 3rd NYU short film). Adel recently launched his web series, Pushing Dreams; and is developing a horror feature, The Congregant.

Mónica Palmieri
Born in Guatemala and fluently bilingual, she is a Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute NY Alumnus, and affiliated with the Marcelle Bonge Ballet Company, where she danced for 16 years. However, she's taking New York over by storm in the production world. In 2013 Mónica line-produced the feature film Split with award-winning director Deborah Kampmeier. She directed and co-produced her second short film Complete Sentences, and produced and acted in the short film Derailing. Her directorial debut Black Hole (2012) is an Official Selection of the Corto Circuito Short Film Festival New York and Icaro International Film Festival. In 2013, Mónica became part of the Labyrinth Theatre Workshop Ensemble where she directed her first on-stage show, I Just Want To Look Good Naked.

Luis Caballero
He is an acclaimed writer, actor, as well as theater and film director who has directed extensively in his native Puerto Rico, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Among his directing credits are María, No Exit, The House of Bernarda Alba, Don Quixote, Bedtime Stories (the musical), Resurrection (commissioned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), Puerto Rico…¡fuá! (HOLA Best Director Award), Lorca, and La Lupe: My life and My Destiny (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, NYC). His credits as a film director include La Gringa: A Tale of a Town and El Color de la Guayaba, which won the Rincon Film Festival and was selected for the Chicago International Film Festival, among others. Luis is currently working on his next film El Monaguillo. His latest show is the Off-Broadway production DC-7, The Roberto Clemente Story.

Adrian Manzano
As an actor, nominated at the American College Theatre Festival. He has worked with various Theatres in NY, including Intar, ID Studio, Teatro la Tea. His first feature as writer/director/actor, Sex, Love & Salsa is about a womanizing salsa dancer. The film has gone on to win numerous awards at various festivals including the Audience Award at the Harlem film Festival and Best Film & Best Actor at Reel Independent Film Extravaganza. The feature was also part of the official selection of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. The film was admitted to the Guadalajara Film Market 2014. Adrian is currently in pre-production for a black comedy about a recent college graduate and her family, as well as a romance/drama set in the Dominican Republic about sexual tourism and male prostitution.

Next PRIME LATINO MEDIA Salon: "Comedy," Tuesday, March 25th

A Conversation With Rita Moreno, Mar. 13

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) invites you to a special evening with our friend and NCLR ALMA Awards honoree, Rita Moreno. This special evening will take place Thursday, March 13 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live.
KTLA's Lynette Romero will guide us through a lively conversation with Rita Moreno, sharing insights about the journey of her incredible career and accomplishments featured in her new book, "Rita Moreno: A Memoir." Following the program, Ms. Moreno will sign copies of her book for guests. Books will be available for purchase on site the evening of the program.
Due to the nature of the book content we recommend that the attendees are 18 and over.
Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; Please RSVP to ASAP and mention that you are a NALIP member or friend.

SAG-AFTRA Presents 'Just Say Si!: The Latino Media Explosion,' Mar. 18

The SAG-AFTRA Spanish Language Media Committee presents a coast-to-coast live-stream educational event, Just Say Si!: The Latino Media Explosion, on March 18. Members in Los Angeles, New York and Miami are invited to attend this event in person with live screenings taking place at viewing events in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Philadelphia.

Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the United States. Bilingual, bicultural, second-generation and third-generation Hispanics have seized the imagination of advertisers, distributors, producers and content providers, creating an explosion in Latino media. 

There is a proliferation of content being created in English to capture the attention and buying power of this important and growing market, while not ignoring the landscape and strength of the Spanish-language audience.  

Don't miss a fantastic opportunity to learn about this segment of our industry, how it affects you and how to best realize opportunities in your market — whether you speak or work in español, English or both! 


Los Angeles: Ruth Livier, Drag Me To Hell, Ylse, Louie Perez, Los Lobos and Oscar Torre, The Hangover Pt. 3, Ladron que Roba a Ladron

Miami: Adriana Barraza, Babel, Drag Me to Hell and Memo Sauceda, On-Camera and Voice Actor 

New York: Adrian Martinez, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Casa De Mi Padre and Clemson Smith-Muñiz, Los Knicks en español

Yareli Arizmendi, Like Water For Chocolate, A Day Without A Mexican
Lalo Alcaraz, Bordertown, La Cucaracha

When: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
4 – 6 p.m. P.T. / 6 – 8 p.m. C.T. / 7 – 9 p.m. E.T.

This event will fill up fast so be sure to make your reservation online here ASAP!

'Hispanic' Or 'Latino'? Polls Say It Doesn't Matter - Usually

By Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR

Carlos Mencia is well-known for his standup humor, which is slyly good-natured and often focuses on race and ethnicity. The 46 year-old Mencia has had a successful series on Comedy Central (Mind of Mencia) and draws huge crowds when he tours the country. When he was starting out in the business, he spent a lot of time on college campuses. And he learned pretty quickly that how he talked about the ethnicity he thought he shared with his audience could get him into trouble.

He told TV host Katie Couric about the scoldings he'd get as he thrashed around trying to find a name for the politicized students who'd come to see him.

"I said 'Latinos,' and they said, 'We're not Latin!' " he told Couric. "And then I said 'Chicano,' and they said, 'We're not of Mexican descent.' So I said 'I don't know what to say — Hispanic?' And they said, 'There's no such country as Hispania!' " He's chuckling now, but the memory was still clearly frustrating. "How am I supposed to describe us?" he wondered.

Those exchanges took place 20 years ago, and people — and institutions — are still trying to figure it out. The census used to ask people now commonly referred to as Latino or Hispanic to check the "Spanish-speaking" box, but that was too restrictive. What if you were Latino but didn't speak Spanish? Or if you were from the Iberian Peninsula and didn't speak English. ¡Ay!

Using One, Or The Other — Or Both

So in 1980, the Census Bureau switched to using the term "Hispanic," which had been chosen during the Nixon administration in the 1970s and up till then had been used on all government forms. But some people liked describing themselves as Latino — sometimes it indicated one's geographic origins, sometimes one's political leanings. Public figures decided to try to please everyone, and many use both Latino and Hispanic, sometimes interchangeably. Sometimes in the same sentence.

The president did this when he launched "Latinos for Obama 2012."

The Spanish-language news behemoth Univision also uses the term interchangeably, as do many Hispanic/Latino Americans. (And, as you might have guessed, so does NPR.)

NPR surveyed almost 1,500 randomly selected people to ask whether they would choose to describe themselves as Hispanic or Latino. We found a very slight preference for Hispanic, but not a terribly significant one. When Code Switch asked its followers on Facebook how they felt about this, we saw a kaleidoscope of responses:

Debbie Pastor wrote: "I find the term Latin@ more appropriate than Hispanic.... Latino includes all Spanish speakers regardless of country of origin, including spain."

Arturo Czares also said: "I prefer Latino but Hispanic is OK. Neither is perfect, but both are general terms that encompass a lot of people."

David Alejandro Haros commented: "I used to hate the term Hispanic, but now it doesn't matter. I use either interchangeably."

As with NPR's poll, the Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project found the same thing in its latest Latino survey.

Mark Hugo Lopez, director of the Hispanic Trends Project, says this demographic identifies much more readily with its country of origin — or the country its parents or grandparents came from. While traveling through Latin America, Lopez said, "You'll find people aren't necessarily describing themselves as Hispanic first. They'll say they're Salvadoran or Peruvian when you go to those countries."

And there's a local equivalent of that here in the U.S.: Marketing specialist Mando Rayo says he's "part Mexican, part American, 100 percent Tejano!" Texas trumps everything, although Rayo said if forced to choose, he chooses Latino, because he feels it connects him more to his Latin American roots.

But, he said, everyone describes himself differently, which is why he tells clients wanting to capture part of the Latino market it's important to do some research first. "They're thinking about trying to sell something to the Latino community," Rayo said, "and I always say, well, which one?"

The Latino community?

Rayo is not kidding. There is no one Latino community. Variables like age, whether a person is born in the U.S. or has migrated here, level of education — all those things can be important. Even within people with the same ancestry: A sales pitch crafted to Mexican-Americans in Texas could be very different from one aimed at Mexican-Americans in California.

Different geography, different customs, different cuisines, all have to be taken into consideration. Which has corporate America and politicians eyeing this important demographic, while scrambling to try to figure things out.

"Welcome to multicultural America," said Angelo Falcon. "Reality is a very complex thing for everybody — including Hispanics." Falcon, who is Puerto Rican, heads the National Institute for Latino Policy and has been working with — and on — the census for years to develop a more accurate categorization for Latinos/Hispanics. Falcon says getting people to switch from Hispanic or Latino to a yet-to-be-devised descriptor is going to be a lot harder for Latino leaders than it was for Jesse Jackson to persuade people to switch from black to African-American in the 1980s.

Those descriptors had evolved over the years, from colored to Negro to black and most recently, African-American. Jackson and the people subscribing to African-American wanted to switch, Falcon says, because "they thought African-American was a more culturally-based, ethnic term that would identify more with the American experience." (Think about how different the perspective of an Oxford-educated Nigerian immigrant might be from a first-generation college graduate whose people have been in this country for 150 years. Both are black. Both are African-descended. But only one is African-American, with everything that history implies.)

Falcon believes the critical difference between getting "African-American" accepted and widely adopted was the salient fact that the term came from the community being urged to use it; it wasn't chosen by the government. (The government has since chosen to use it, though.)

Eventually Hispanic/Latino or something else will probably be moot, if this demographic's experience reflects its predecessors. Succeeding generations will take pride in their ancestry, but they'll describe themselves as being New Yorkers or Louisianans — or "100 percent Tejano."

As Alejandro X Terrazas wrote on Facebook that he considers himself "American first, ethnically Hispanic."

And Karen Villatoro also commented: "I like to think of myself as American with Central American roots."

And that's a classically American thing to do.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

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