Latinos In The Industry

Latino Public Broadcasting Announces the Recipients of the 2011 Public Media Content Fund

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), a non-profit organization funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, announces 16 newly funded programs as part of its 2011 Public Media Content Fund. The funding initiative invites independent producers to submit proposals for funding on Latino-themed programs or series.

"We are proud of Latino filmmakers and producers who through their craft provide a window to our culture and heritage," said Edward James Olmos, LPB Chairman.

"We are very excited to support these projects that celebrate the diversity of the Latino experience in the U.S. We will work closely with PBS and our public media partners to bring these compelling stories to the American Public," said Sandie Viquez Pedlow, LPB Executive Director.

The 2011 awarded projects (alphabetically) are as follows. NALIP members' names are in bold.


The Arizona Project (wt)
Producers/Directors: Carlos Sandoval (NALIP mentor)/Catherine Tambini
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/90 Minutes

The explosive emotions and tragic tolls behind Arizona's struggle with illegal immigration are captured through the power of personal story.

Children of Giant
Producer/Director: Hector Galan (NALIP mentor)
Category: Development; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Children of Giant exposes the events and emotions that transformed small town Marfa, TX (the film site of George Steven's epic Giant) during and beyond Anglo/Latino segregation, through the voices of Mexican Americans and Anglos who experienced it firsthand.

Director: Bienvenida Matias (LPA 2003)
Producers: Tami Gold, Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez (LPA 2003, LWL 2003), Bienvenida Matias
Category: Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Coquito- the Puerto Rican traditional Christmas drink, is a metaphor for a cultural longing that many Puerto Ricans in the diaspora feel for the island they left behind--when they slowly sip it, a floodgate of memory opens.

Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart
Producer/Director: Robin Rosenthal/Bill Yahraus
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/90 Minutes

A team of first-generation Mexican American girls construct their identities through a romanticized equestrian tradition, while facing challenges at home, and escalating violence in Mexico.

Farewell, Ferris Wheel
Producer/Director: Jamie Sisley
Co-director: Miguel Martinez
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Farewell, Ferris Wheel is an examination of the endangered American carnival due to the immigration laws and the Mexican town of Tlapacoyan, which provides one third of America's carnival labor.

Lezama Lima, Una Sensible Pérdida
Producer/Director: Adriana Bosch (NALIP mentor)
Category: Development; 1 Episode/90 Minutes

A meditation on the personal and social costs of intolerance, this documentary tells the story of Jose Lezama Lima, a Cuban writer ostracized in the 1960's and 70's at the peak of the Cuban revolution's homophobia and political fervor. Lezama Lima is regarded as a giant of Cuban, Latin American and World Literature.

The Silence of Others
Producer/Director: Almudena Carracedo (LPA 2004, Estela winner)
Category: Development; 1 Episode/90 Minutes

The Silence of Others will be a deeply personal account of Spain's "silent" transition from dictatorship to democracy told through the stories of children stolen during Franco's dictatorship. For the first time, the victims search for their loved ones and confront the perpetrators.

Mariachi High
Director: Ilana Trachtman
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Mariachi High captures a year in the life of top ranked student musicians in Mariachi Halcon, the varsity level championship ensemble at Zapata High School on the border in South Texas. The film follows these students as they move from school to stage in competitions that are fierce battlegrounds filled with the flash and fire of musical virtuosity.

Producer/Director: Cristina Ibarra (LPA 2003, LWL 2007)
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Marthas is about the extraordinary rite of passage in Laredo, TX where Mexican American daughters of aristocratic Texas border society debut in a grand Colonial ball dressed as American revolutionaries - a tradition that is 114 years old.

Son Siglos
Producers/Directors: Marco Villalobos/Daffodil Altan
Category: Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Son Siglos follows the struggles of Rubi, Noe, and Jose Luis - three young Afro-Mestizo descendants of Mexico's oldest musical tradition el Jarocho. The documentary traces their journey to preserve and elevate their culture on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

Tales From a Ghetto Klown
Producer/Director: Benjamin DeJesus
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/90 Minutes

Tales From a Ghetto Klown profiles the renowned actor/playwright John Leguizamo and his unorthodox rise to success, while capturing his struggles to mount his latest one-man show on Broadway.


Frontera! Animated Histories of the Southwest Borderlands
Producer/Writer: John Jota Leanos
3 Webisodes/10 Minutes

Frontera! Animated Histories of the Southwest Borderlands, a series of animated documentary shorts, traces the social history along four major river systems in the Americas that influenced the makings of the southwest borderlands of the United Sates.

Nuestro Mundo, Mi Voz
Producers/Directors: Amie Williams/Kamala Lopez
10 Webisodes/3 Minutes

A ten part interactive new media webisode series following the adventures of ten teenage new media journalists in training during the summer of 2011 in Los Angeles.


Granito: Every Memory Matters
Producer: Paco de Onis
Director: Pamela Yates
Documentary, 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Granito: Every Memory Matters will implement a multi-platform approach to the documentary by facilitating an intergenerational exchange to awaken and restore the collective memory of Guatemala through an online public archive.

Justice for My Sister
Producer/Director: Kimberly Bautista (LPA 2010, LAMP)
Documentary, 1 Episode/70 Minutes

A documentary about one Guatemalan woman's search of answers to her sister's brutal murder. The community engagement campaign seeks to help women take action for justice through community screenings, an interactive map and website and a text message based hotline known as the Texting Peace project.

TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives
Producer/Director: Nancy Kelly
Documentary, 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Trust follows the story of a teenage survivor of child sexual abuse who transforms herself through theater as part of Chicago's Albany Park Theater Project. A multi-platform engagement campaign will include an interactive website, bilingual engagement tool kit and discussion guide and community screenings.

About the Public Media Content Fund

Every year LPB invites independent filmmakers to submit proposals in various stages, from research and development, to production, post-production, new media and community engagement. All proposals are reviewed by a selected group of public television professionals, station programmers, independent filmmakers, academics, and executives from funding organizations.

This year, sixteen (16) proposals were selected for funding. Emerging filmmakers comprise 40% of total funded producers; mid-level producers make up 35%; veteran filmmakers constitute 25%; and 55% of the funded producers are women. More than half of the awarded programs have never been funded by Latino Public Broadcasting before - a direct result of an extensive outreach program for independent filmmakers throughout the nation.

The funding category breakdown is as follows: Research and Development - 19%; Production - 12%; Post-production - 38%; New Media - 12%; Community Engagement - 19%. The final slate of programs represents filmmakers from different regions within the U.S. including California, New York, Texas, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

About Latino Public Broadcasting

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of public media content that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of interest to Latino Americans. These programs, including the series 'VOCES', are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting system. Edward James Olmos is founder and Chairman of the LPB Board of Directors. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is Executive Director.

For more information please visit

What You Need to Know About the New Crowd-Funding Bill

By Jeff Steele, The Wrap

The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed its first significant crowd-funding legislation, in the form of H.R. 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act.

The bill (now in the Senate [and not yet a law]) amends the Securities Act of 1933, by allowing entrepreneurs to crowd source (online) up to $2 million per year in investment capital directly from individuals without having to register the investors with the SEC. However, the commencement and completion of the raise do need to be filed with the SEC.

Entrepreneurs (the "issuers") must provide potential investors with audited financial statements in order to qualify for the $2 million cap, otherwise you are capped at $1 million. Individual investments from crowd-shareholders are capped at $10,000 (or 10 percent of their annual income), whichever is less.

To be clear, this is not free money; these are bona fide investor-securities for which they will receive a return on their investment as well as ownership interest in your enterprise, be it film, music, games, art, books, inventions, startups, etc.


Karin Chien's Open Letter to the Producers Guild of America

By independent film producer Karin Chien for The Huffington Post

Recently, a film I produced with Melissa Lee and Maryam Keshavarz, Circumstance, was submitted for the Producer's Guild of America's awards consideration. Circumstance is a hard film to categorize: It's a story of teenage love and personal freedom set in Iran, filmed in Beirut, edited in Chile, finished in France, and financed primarily by US sources. And the film is in Farsi. We knew we were a long shot to be nominated, but we were still excited by the prospect. Producing is often thankless and invisible work, and awards that solely recognize a producer's contribution are few and far between.

That excitement ended when I received an email from the PGA's Director of Arbitrations & Legal Affairs on December 1. It informed us "unfortunately under the current rule structure, we are unable to accept foreign language films at this time."

I wrote back to clarify Circumstance is not a foreign film and received this reply: "We do accept foreign films, as long as they are in the English language. The PGA Rules state that only English language films qualify for awards consideration."

In the email was attached the regulations for 2012 Award Eligibility. Sure enough, the first paragraph stipulated "the motion picture must ... be an English language production." The rule allows foreign films to qualify, if they are in English and have a US distributor. So the deciding factor in our film's eligibility came down to the language spoken by our film's fictitious characters.

It's possible this rule is a holdover, but from when? It was over a decade ago when Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon broke the $100 million box office mark for foreign language films. Does the language of a movie mean more to the PGA than the nationality of the producers, or the movie's primary audience?

This rule also meant important independent films by important independent producers have been neglected by the PGA's 4,000+ members. Films like Sin Nombre produced by Amy Kaufman, Treeless Mountain produced by Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Ben Howe, and Maria Full of Grace produced by Paul Mezey wouldn't qualify. Interestingly, Sin Nombre, Maria Full of Grace, and Circumstance all premiered in the US section of the Sundance Film Festival, where the films won audience and directing Awards.

Independent producers do not make films to win awards. But producers know how much a nomination, not to mention a win, can contribute to a film's life and its audience. Awards legitimatize an indie film for an audience, and awards make a difference when Jane Moviegoer is deciding what to spend $12 watching at the theater.

And award eligibility fluctuates constantly. Recently the Motion Pictures Sound Editors union changed their foreign film category to a foreign-language category, in recognition of US members who create incredible sound design on foreign cinema. Globalization is no longer a buzzword. That was the 90s. Now it's just a fact of financing, consumption, and every facet of business. For example, more than 70% of the American film industry's grosses come from foreign markets. And in LA County, where Hollywood and the PGA are based, 56% of households speak a language other than English. It's time to wake up to the new world order.

The PGA's English-only stipulation is at best, an outdated, archaic rule. And at worst, it opens the PGA up to the charge of xenophobia.

The PGA's mission statement starts with "The Producers Guild of America is the non-profit trade group that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team."

PGA, whose interests do you represent?

Post-script note: We sent emails a week ago questioning the English-only rule to the PGA's Director of Arbitrations & Legal Affairs, the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the now defunct Independent Committee at the PGA, and are still awaiting a substantial response.

Karin Chien is an independent producer of 10 American feature films, and the winner of the 2010 Independent Spirit Producers Award. Karin is the founder and president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of Chinese independent cinema. Karin is not a member of the Producers Guild of America.

Call for Entries from Developing Countries: Jan Vrijman Fund

IDFA's Jan Vrijman Fund supports documentary filmmakers and documentary events in and from developing countries. The fund is looking for proposals for creative documentaries and events that offer a platform for documentaries and filmmakers.

The deadline to submit a project for the first selection round of 2012 is January 15, 2012. For the regulations, the online entry form, the project form and frequently asked questions please visit our website. There are different regulations and project forms required for every category.

  Hulu Launches Latino Service with Spanish-language Programming
(Los Angeles Times) - Hoping to attract a rapidly growing U.S. Latino audience, online video site Hulu has launched a Spanish-language programming service with popular shows from networks Univision, Estrella TV and Azteca America. FULL STORY

A Complete Guide to the 2011-12 Awards Season
(Indiewire) - Award season is in full swing, with months of announcements from critic groups, guilds, boards, academies, and organizations underway. To help everyone keep up, Indiewire has this comprehensive summary of all the announced awards and will continue to update through February 2012's grand Oscar finale. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
AMARTE Design & Digital Printing
9513 Longden Avenue
Temple City, CA 91780

1323 Lincoln Blvd., #220
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Eva Longoria
Sells scripts to ABC, the CW

By Jeff Sneider, Variety

Eva Longoria could be plenty busy after "Desperate Housewives" wraps, having sold a pair of scripts to ABC and the CW through her shingle, UnbeliEVA-ble Entertainment.

The Alphabet has bought "Behind the Seams," a single-camera comedy about two Latina sisters - one a hard-working fashion designer, the other a party-going ex-runway model - who open a bridal boutique after their careers fall apart.

Ernie Bustamante ("Boston Legal") is onboard as co-exec producer and writer.

Longoria will also exec produce "Vega vs. Vega," a drama from Warner Bros. Television for CW about a young, successful lawyer who suddenly finds herself forced to go into practice with her mother, a pioneering female attorney with whom she has a love/hate relationship.

Also exec producing are George W. Perkins ("Housewives"), Sunta Izzicupo ("The Ron Clark Story") and Yahlin Chang ("Pan Am"), who is also writer on the project. Elizabeth Bradley ("The Law Firm") is onboard as well as a producer.

"Seams" is the second script Longoria has set up at her home network. Already in development is "Soy Tu Duena," an adaptation of a Mexican telenovela from Televisa, ABC Studios and Lionsgate Television. The drama about a Texas heiress who loses her money is also exec produced by Jorge Zamacona ("10-8: Officers on Duty") and Tariq Jalil.

Longoria is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment and Bloom Hergott. APA reps Bustamante.

(Andrew Wallenstein and Stuart Levine contributed to this report.)

Robin Rosenthal
NALIPster's doc awarded Living Cultures Grant

NALIP member Robin Rosenthal's documentary Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart has been awarded a Living Cultures Grant from The Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Escaramuza tells the story of Escaramuza Charra Las Azaleas, a team of eight, first generation Mexican American horsewomen from California. Striving to preserve their inherited cultural tradition and strengthen their Mexican identity, they embark on a quest to represent the United States at the National Charro Championships in Mexico, amidst unprecedented drug violence across the border, and challenges to their way of life at home.


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