Latinos In The Industry

NALIP Receives Prestigious Rockefeller Foundation NYC Cultural Innovation Fund Grant

The Rockefeller Foundation's NYC Cultural Innovation Fund announced today that NALIP will receive a 2011-2013 grant for LAMP, our new Latino Artist Mentoring Program for narrative and documentary producers and directors working on new media projects in New York. Their support will be matched by grants from the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Culpepper Fund.

NALIP's LAMP project was selected from a pool of nearly 400 applications to receive the Rockefeller Foundation 2011 New York City Cultural Innovation Fund award. The NYC Cultural Innovation Fund supports creativity and the arts, with an emphasis on innovation. The Foundation awards two-year grants, ranging from $50,000 to $250,000, for groundbreaking creative work that enriches the city's cultural life and strengthens the role that the arts will play in the future of New York. New York City is currently experiencing tremendous economic, demographic, and social transformation, opening new possibilities to enhance the City's traditional role as a global capital of creativity, culture and diversity and to ensure the future vitality of its cultural sector. With the Foundation's support, artists and art communities can build an innovative creative sector that provokes us to react, question and learn. These grants underscore the Foundation's commitment to the impact and influence that creative expression and innovation can exert on social progress.

The New York Times' ArtsBeat ran a short piece yesterday about the 2011 grantees. Watch for an ad tomorrow or Saturday that includes NALIP in the New York Times!

How Movies Like The Help Reinforce Hollywood's Race Problem

By Eric Kohn, indieWIRE

Nobody should be surprised by the dearth of minorities in contemporary media. On the surface, it's a boring issue: Whether or not the stories of gay, black or women characters make their way into movies and television only becomes a central issue if specific industrial forces continue to keep them out. If a truly progressive society is color blind, then everyone should let the chips fall and assume equal opportunity remains in flux. The reality is a lot more complicated, as demonstrated this week by the release of the antiquated civil rights drama "The Help."

Based on Kathryn Stockett's 2009 best-seller, Tate Taylor's nearly two-and-a-half hour period piece follows young college graduate Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone), an aspiring writer in the early 1960's driven to dictate the marginalized experiences of the black maids in her community. These include Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis), a wise middle-aged woman whose son's death leads her to take a maternal approach with the children she's hired to raise, and the loudmouthed Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), whose colorful personality often causes her white employers to show her the door.

Eugenia's decision to begin collecting the maids' testimonies stems from her frustrations after her mother (Allison Janney) abruptly fires the woman who had raised Eugenia from infancy. It would have been a noble project in its time, which "The Help" inhabits with no less period specificity than an episode of "Mad Men." Eugenia's attempt to gain the trust of her subjects while tolerating the overtly racist stances of her neighbors--led by the eerie Stepford wife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard)--give the movie an engaging arc with a predictably satisfying emotional payoff. But the very existence of this movie, prominently distributed by Disney and marketed as an important, heartfelt experience, symbolizes a rather backward state of affairs.

By positioning the struggles of African Americans during a period of great social upheaval as subservient to a charming white savior, "The Help" suffers from being markedly dated. That's not meant as a knock to the talented Emma Stone, whose understandably likable screen presence makes the role at least tolerable. However, the book's virtual overnight transition to the big screen (the movie rights were purchased shortly after its release) reflects the industry's continuing inability to construct African American stories without a vanilla filter. It's a cousin to the way "Schindler's List" tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a non-Jew to widen its accessibility.

In the 1970's, the black community essentially gave up on Hollywood and turned to the blaxploitation genre for inspiration. Although no longer around in exploitation form, that separate industry continues to this day, particularly through the isolated appeal of Tyler Perry. Meanwhile, breakout talents like "Medicine for Melancholy" director Barry Jenkins find themselves prematurely hoisted onto a pedestal, forced to prove that new black stories can work well without necessarily referencing the great strides of the civil rights movement. (After "Melancholy" became an indie sleeper hit, Jenkins was courted for a much bigger project by...Disney.)

Ironically, the best sequence in "The Help" does involve a historical event: The 1963 assassination of Medger Evers, whose untimely death at the hands of a white supremacist leads the terrified Aibileen to go scrambling for cover. Suddenly, "The Help" shifts focus from Eugenia's feel-good interview project to a much quiet, suspenseful evocation of an oppressed existence.

But then, just as quickly as it changes gears, "The Help" returns to its cheery pose, playfully engaging with its era in air quotes. "You better write this fast," Eugenia's editor tells her, "before this whole civil rights thing blows over." That gag line is aimed squarely at the audience. As a wink, it's a relatively tame throwaway bit. But it inadvertently emphasizes the movie's generally carefree attitude. That's not a problem for many audiences, who will find that "The Help" plays well enough in basic crowdpleaser terms, but it does help reinforce the idea that movies like this have lost their relevance.

Call for Applications: TFI's Latin America Media Arts Fund

The Tribeca Film Institute's Latin America Media Arts Fund is now accepting applications! The Latin Fund supports innovative film and video artists working in documentary, animated and/or hybrid projects and living and working in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Whether through unconventional forms or more traditional means, the supported artists are encouraged to invent, explore and redefine visions and stories that reflect their diverse cultures. Fund recipients will be announced in February 2012 and celebrated at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

In addition to funding, grantees will receive mentorship and orientation from the Tribeca Film Institute to ensure that each feature film reaches completion and is provided the best opportunities to infiltrate the North American market.

Submissions Deadline: October 10, 2011
Click here for more information!

TBS Cancels 'Lopez Tonight'

By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times

TBS asked comedian George Lopez to move his noisy and hip late-night program again - this time off the network.

Last year "Lopez Tonight" became an unwitting player in a late-night domino game when TBS pushed back the talk show an hour later than originally planned to make room for Conan O'Brien - who had been shoved off his late night perch at NBC.

On Wednesday, the cable network announced Thursday's show would be the last one.

"TBS has reached the difficult decision not to order a third season of 'Lopez Tonight,'" the network said in a statement. "We are proud to have partnered with George Lopez, who is an immensely talented comedian and entertainer. TBS has valued its partnership with George and appreciates all of his work on behalf of the network, both on and off the air."

Despite A-list guests, an informal party atmosphere and Lopez's irreverent Latino-flavored comic persona, the show still struggled to find an audience after a high-profile launch. "Lopez Tonight" had dropped 40% in viewership in its second season, and was averaging 546,000 viewers nightly. O'Brien's 11 p.m. show, by contrast, has been attracting a nightly average of more than 1.1 million viewers

  Spike Orders New Series from Jennifer Lopez
(The Hollywood Reporter) - Big Easy Justice invites viewers into the gritty underworld of post-Katrina New Orleans. The series is produced in association with Jennifer Lopez's Nuyorican Productions. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

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

RFP from Latino Content Producers
BabyFirst Americas, the only channel devoted to Latino babies and toddlers, has just released a Request for Proposals. The RFP seeks Latino producers and content creators for programing devoted to Latino/a babies from the age of 8 months to 3 years old. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
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Latino Filmmakers Selected for IFP's Project Forum and Independent Film Week

From an article by Nigel M Smith, indieWIRE

New projects from some Latino producers and executive producers are among the 150 that made the cut for this year's Project Forum, hosted by IFP during Independent Film Week (September 18-22) at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. The Forum is widely regarded as one of the best places for independent filmmakers and media artists to find funders, supporters, collaborators and/or producers. Among the directors who took part in past editions are Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Michael Moore, Joel and Ethan Cohen, Kevin Smith and Todd Solondz.

All projects showcased in the Project Forum are features and documentaries ranging from films in development, or the early stages of production, to those nearing completion. The 150 selected projects were evenly split between documentary and narrative features.

One of 21 features by first-time directors in post production invited to the Independent Filmmaker Labs is The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, written and directed by Ryan O'Nan, and exective produced by Sergio Aguero and Mark G. Mathis. It is a musical comedy about two musicians on the verge of abandoning hope drive across the country armed with a guitar, a broken heart and an arsenal of children's instruments. (Musical Comedy). Included in the No Borders International Co-Production Market, one of 44 Scripts in development with 15% financing and established producers in place, is The Woman Who Feared the Sun produced by Rodrigo Guerrero and Ole Landsjaasen, written and to be directed by 2011 NALIP Estela award winner Javier Fuentes-Len. It is a fantasy love story between a woman who burns in flames when touched by sunlight and the human cannonball who crashes into her roof before sunrise.

Selected for the Spotlight on Documentaries, two of the 60 Documentary features at an early financing stage (i.e. early development/production) to those nearing completion (i.e. in postproduction or at the rough cut stage) is The Arizona Project (working title) directed and produced by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini and written by Carlos Sandoval. It examines the explosive emotions and tragic toll behind Arizona's headline-grabbing struggle with illegal immigration, as told through the power of personal story. Also included in this section is Junior Summer directed and produced by NALIP mentor Peter Gilbert and Lisa Gildehaus, and executive produced by Robert Fernandez. It is about Curtis, who is fighting for his Detroit community basketball program for aspiring teenagers. He and his team are being fractured by the business of basketball.

Mauricio Alexander
NALIPster's short screening at NYILFF

Writer/director and NALIP member Mauricio Alexander's music-driven short film Departure will be premiering at the New York International Latino Film Festival in the "Music is My Weapon" showcase August 19 at 12pm at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea Screen 8 and August 20 at 12pm at AMC Empire Screen 14. Details online here.

Departure is a short romantic comedy featuring music from Mexican-American artist Mauricio Alexander, examines the struggle to find the balance between love and labor living in New York City. The film blends romantic comedy and music video formats with a sincere character study of artists searching for something bigger than themselves.

Shot on location in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and Dumbo, Brooklyn, Departure follows a week in the life of recently dumped and unemployed computer store manager Alex Reyes as he tries to deal with the departure of his long-term, ex-girlfriend, Ana.

Alex's closest friends add comic relief to his troubles, while he bares his soul performing in Fort Greene Park by day and sleeping in subways at night. In the park, Alex meets Mina, a beautiful, quirky aspiring visual artist, and their chemistry ignites into original music and a fresh romance.

Adrian Martinez
NALIPster appears in Flyaper, opening Aug. 19

Actor and NALIP member Adrian Martinez (LWL 2007, LPA 2008) can be seen in a supporting role in the film Flypaper, currently available on VOD and in theaters August 19. The film stars Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd.


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The Latinos in the Industry e-Newsletter is a free service provided by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) with the generous assistance of Alex Mendoza & Associates (AMA) in an "as-is" basis for the education and information of users only. NALIP and/or AMA, their principal(s), employees, agents or representatives shall under no circumstances be liable for any loss or damage, including, but not limited to, loss of profits, goodwill or indirect or consequential loss arising out of any use of or inaccuracies in the information. All warranties expressed or implied are excluded to the fullest extent permissible by law. All comments and postings, including those by the Editor, are the responsibility of those individuals posting and no endorsement by NALIP and/or AMA should be inferred. Referral links and individual e-mail forwarding are permitted. NALIP reserves the right to withdraw or delete information or to discontinue this service at any time. All quoted, linked and/or referred information, as well as all copyrights and trademarks, are the property of their respective holders, used here under license and/or "fair-use" rules. © NALIP.