Latinos In The Industry

Latin Legend Featured on PBS' "American Masters"

The Grammy-winning bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez died in Coral Gables, Florida in March 2008, almost 90-years old. A maestro of legendary status on the world stage and ultimately considered one of the greatest Afro-Cuban musicians of all time, he had made his home in the United States for the past four decades. Coming from a family of classical musicians, he had formal conservatory training and held a seat in the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra for 30 years, performing under the direction of all of the legendary international conductors of the time - beginning at age 10! American Masters pays tribute to the Father of Mambo in the series' bilingual film, Cachao: Uno Más. The film is produced, narrated and illuminated by the actor Andy Garcia, a close friend and ardent fan, who helped re-establish Cachao's career in the '90s. Among the film's many treats is Garcia playing the bongos with Cachao.

Check the American Masters webpage for upcoming airings of Cachao: Uno Más, or click here to watch the full film online (for free).

Currently in its 24th season, American Masters is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG - one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers.

"Cachao's stature is peerless," says Susan Lacy, series creator and executive producer of American Masters, a seven-time winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. "There are few who have come close to his legacy. What American Masters does best is to capture an artist's creative process. It's extraordinary to see Cachao's impeccable improvisations on stage and in the studio." The heart of the film is a sold-out 2005 concert at Bimbo's 365 Club, a famous San Francisco nightclub. Shot with nine cameras, bathed in warm lighting, with pitch-perfect sound recording and mixing, Cachao's infectious warmth and musical genius is palpable. Woven throughout the film is Cachao reminiscing about his remarkable life over lunch with Garcia and saxophonist Ray Santos. Other voices, including Cachao's daughter Elena, his driver, and fellow musicians such as percussionist and historian John Santos and Gloria and Emilio Estefan, shed light on his near nine-decade contribution to world music. As Garcia says, "You can put [Cachao] right next to Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Charlie Parker. That's the lexicon of the names that he's up there with."

"I think we would be a less rich musical country if we were not to really embrace and applaud and enjoy the music Cachao has contributed to the world and most definitely to America," notes Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan.

Cachao: Uno Más takes viewers from his start as a child prodigy in Cuba to his personal struggles in Vegas to his triumph as a world-class composer. A classical musician by day, he always had a double life at night, playing the Havana clubs and dance halls with his brother Orestes. Together, they revolutionized the heart of Cuban music - first in the late 1930s, literally inventing the mambo from the stately Cuban danzon - and later in the 1950s, at highly electric descargas cubanas - Cuban jam sessions - their spontaneous improvisations and innovations laid the groundwork for contemporary Latin jazz and salsa, rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues. Around this time, Cachao wrote "Chanchullo" which contained the signature hook appropriated in Tito Puente's classic hit "Oye Como Va," later made popular in Carlos Santana's hit crossover cover.

Cachao became an exile shortly after Fidel Castro came into power in 1962. He relocated to New York and played with leading Latin bands. As the '70s wore on, his life hit a sour note in Vegas, where he headlined casinos and battled his growing gambling habit.

Eventually, he settled in Miami as a forgotten artist, playing for tips at local venues. He slowly slipped into obscurity in the '80s until Garcia helped revive an appreciation of Cachao and his music and reinvigorated his career in the '90s. Their musical collaboration culminated in a series of Grammy-winning albums, cementing Cachao's well-deserved recognition in the industry.

In his final years, Cachao received numerous honors including a Hispanic Heritage Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Smithsonian Institute. In the words of John Santos, "Underlying his consummate professional demeanor, he [was] a sage and poker-faced philosopher...warmth, humor and humility [were] his trademarks."

American Masters' Cachao: Uno Más, a production of DOC Film Institute of San Francisco State, is directed by Dikayl Rimmasch and produced by Andy Garcia, Tom Luddy, Stephen Ujlaki and Anay Tarnekar in association with THIRTEEN for American Masters and Latino Public Broadcasting for PBS. Susan Lacy is the series creator and executive producer of American Masters. American Masters is made possible by the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding for American Masters is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Jack Rudin, Elizabeth Rosenthal in memory of Rolf W. Rosenthal, The Andre and Elizabeth Kertesz Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.

Call for Entries: Boston Latino International Film Festival

The Boston Latino International Film Festival (BLIFF), "Bridging Communities Through Movies," will screen and award the latest films and videos in the following categories: Feature Film, Documentary and Short Narrative Film. The Festival will be held the first weekend of December 2010. The BLIFF Selection Committee, representing the diversity of the greater Boston area, will select the films and videos to be screened. The committee will look for innovative works that are by, about, or for the Latino communities in the US or Latin America and Spain and have been produced between the years 2007 and 2010.

The following formats are accepted for submission: DVD, Mini DV and VHS
The following formats are accepted for exhibition: Film: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP (NTSC) DigiBeta and Digital: DV and Mini DV
All entries will be pre-screened for eligibility; however, not all entries will be programmed. If your work is selected, you will be notified to send the film in its original format.

Deadline and entry fee for each film:

Regular film submission deadline: October 15, 2010. Standard fee: $30. Student fee: $15
"Without a Box" extended deadline: October 22, 2010. Standard fee: $40. Student fee: $20

Films must be postmarked by the submission deadline date. All fees are nonrefundable. Payment must be made by check or money order. Checks and money orders should be made payable in US dollars to: Boston Latino International Film Festival. For those who prefer to pay by credit card, we recommend that you use, the International Film Festival System.

Fee waiver: BLIFF will consider waiving the submission fee for qualified filmmakers. To apply, please send an email to explaining the reason for your waiver request. If the waiver is granted DON'T APPLY THROUGH Withoutabox. Just send us your application via regular US mail, FedEx or UPS.

To enter your film, please submit each of the following:
1. COMPLETED Entry Form located in our website:
2. Two (2) DVD or VHS (NTSC) video copies of your film
3. Brief synopsis (40 words) in English or Spanish. Any synopsis in Spanish should also have an English translation.
4. Still photos (300 dpi if submitted electronically should be sent to
5. Entry Fee Due to the large number of submissions, the Festival cannot return any submission materials (VHS tapes, DVD's, D5s, CD's, press kits, etc.) that are submitted with your entry form.


The shipping cost of any exhibition film, video, and/or promotional material to the Festival is the sole responsibility of the owner/distributor. The Festival is responsible for the return shipping of the exhibition film/video to its owner/distributor. Our staff will take every precaution in handling all films and videos. However, the Boston Latino International Film Festival cannot accept or assume responsibility for damage to, or loss of, materials submitted.

Deadline Approaching: NALAC Fund for the Arts

The deadline for submitting proposals for this year’s NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA) grant is Friday, September 24, 2010. Now in its sixth year, the NFA provides critical funding to Latino artists, ensembles and small and mid-sized Latino arts organizations.

The 2010 NALAC Fund for the Arts will offer the following types of grants:
- Individual artist and organization grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000
- Artist Fellowship grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
- A Master Artist Grant ranging from $10,000 to $20,000,

NFA guidelines, forms and online application are available at

  The Fence (La Barda): Film Examines Border Boondoggle
(The Miami Herald) - What's the easiest way to get around that $3 billion fence the U.S. government built on the border with Mexico? "The easiest thing to do, frankly, is if you go down this road here, there is no fence," a rancher who lives near the border tells filmmaker Rory Kennedy during one of the many amusing moments in The Fence (La Barda), a documentary airing on HBO. FULL STORY

King's Speech Wins in Toronto
(Variety) - Toronto fest auds voted for true-story pics this year, with Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech," starring Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist to Colin Firth's King George VI, winning the People's Choice prize. FULL STORY

Interview: Devil Takes A Toll On Actor Jacob Vargas
( - Actor Jacob Vargas stars in the M. Night Shyamalan produced horror thriller Devil and the veteran actor admits to CineMovie his role in Devil put the fright in him on set and off. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

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

NALIP member seeks a cameraperson to shoot a 15-20 minute cable access interview naturally DVD. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

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

NALIP 2010 Audiocasts for Indie Filmmakers

NALIP's Audiocasts page is an invaluable resource for indepenent filmmakers, with recordings of hundreds of hours of panels and workshops from our national conferences. You can stream them on your computer at home or work, or download them as MP3s for your MP3 player.

In the Performer/Director Series section, find "A Conversation With... Peter Bratt: The Director's Craft." The filmmaker and 2010 Estela award winner discusses his film La Mission with Ligiah Villalobos (La Misma Luna).

In the Producers Series section, listen to "The Cutting Edge of Distribution" featuring Peter Broderick (Paradigm Consulting) leading a workshop on new distribution strategies available to producers of documentaries and independent features.

These and many more on the NALIP Audiocasts page!

Josefina Lopez
NALIP mentor's play Detained in the Desert premiering Oct. 1

CASA 0101 announces the World Premiere of a new play by award-winning playwright and NALIP mentor Josefina Lopez (co-screenwriter of the hit HBO movie Real Women Have Curves). Detained in the Desert - directed by Hector Rodriguez - is a satirical drama set in Arizona and explores Arizona's controversial Senate Bill 1070, considered one of the toughest on immigration in decades. Detained in the Desert is Lopez's response to the anti-immigrant atmosphere in Arizona and the rise in violence against Latinos fueled by extremist media.

Detained in the Desert opens October 1st and runs through October 24th (12 performances only), Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 5 pm. Casa 0101 is located at 2009 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033, in Boyle Heights. For ticket reservations visit

Detained in the Desert parallels Sandi Sanchez (a 2nd generation Latina) and Lou Becker (a Hate Talk radio host) - two people on opposite sides of the immigration debate. Sandi is arrested as an "illegal" by an Arizona policeman after refusing to show her identification in protest. Lou personally experiences the fallout of his actions when he is kidnapped by three masked figures. Through a series of deceptions and mishaps, Sandi's and Lou's paths converge in the Sonoran Desert where they come to understand the true severity of the plight of undocumented immigrants.

The immigration debate is a subject close to Lopez's heart. At age 5, she and her family emigrated to the United States from Mexico. For 13 years thereafter she lived in the US without documentation. During these difficult times she tried to stay invisible, fearing that even parking enforcement officers had the authority to deport her and her family. She eventually benefitted from the 1987 Simpson-Rodino Amnesty bill which legalized thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Frances Negrón-Muntaner
NALIP Founding BOD Member and Advisory Board Member interviewed about writing process

By Nilki Benitez, Musings

NB: What are the different approaches you take to write your prose, poetry and narrative work? Do you step into a different persona for each, do they reflect different parts of your personality? Do you have different writing habits for each?

FN-M: Yes, I think different media touch different parts of me. My most successful poetry and prose are concerned with what we can call the insides of me. My essays and films, however, tend to be about broader social themes. Over time, I have also developed different rhythms. When I started writing, for instance, I would write poetry every day and occasionally write essays. Now I write essays almost every day and poetry on occasion.

NB: How do you know when your poetry is ready to go out into the world? Do you rely on critiques? If so, do you rely on the same set of eyes/ears, or do your reviewers change from work to work?

FN-M: First I read the poem out loud. If it stirs me in an interesting way, I have my partner read it. I consider her a great reader because she can actually pinpoint when the poem lost her. So, I focus on what made her stop reading and I go back to that place in the text. Once I have another version I ask my partner to read it again. She then usually says that the text is perfect but I don't always believe her!

In time, I realized that this was the case because when I ask others to read my work, I am not asking for approval. Rather, I am hoping to discover new ways to tackle my own insatisfaction.

NB: What is your process for working with an editor? Is it a close relationship? Is it the same for writing and film-making?

FN-M: In contrast to almost everyone I know, I like to work closely with tough print editors that literally mess with my work. For example, it is helpful to me when an editor changes a word or a paragraph even if I end up returning to my initial phrasing. This unsettling allows me to read the text with fresh eyes and at times makes me a more articulate defender of my choices. But finding these editors is extremely hard as many people increasingly feel that writing does not require that kind of dialogue.

My relationship with film editors can be more combative. With film I immediately know how I feel about a sequence and why it may not be working. At that point, it doesn't really matter what editors say! Although, at the end, the final film is almost always the result of a much closer collaboration than when I work on a book.

NB: Do you ever listen to your gut and ignore editorial suggestions?

FN-M: All the time. When writing in English, sometimes an editor will tell me that a turn of phrase is not written in the English language. Similarly, a Spanish-language editor will correct a word saying it's not proper Spanish. I sometimes ignore this.

NB: How is the process of film-making different or similar to writing? Does it have elements of each, poetry, prose and narrative? Or is it a beast all it's own?

FN-M: Writing is like fighting demons on your own and filmmaking is like leading a battalion into war.

NB: Which language do you work most comfortably in? English or Spanish? How do you determine which language you will work in?

FN-M: Context, circumstances, and desire; it all depends on who is asking and whom I would like to address.

NB: What are your thoughts on rejections, negative feedback? How do you handle it?

I was asked this once before and I had answered: "When I receive any harsh critique I am like a village hit by a hurricane: Devastation, reconstruction and renewal." Now I do not really see criticism as devastating. It is more of an opportunity to think otherwise.

NB: Looking back, what do you think was the biggest mistake you made when you were starting out as a writer?

FN-M: To believe that writing is about my self-expression. It's really about enabling others.

NB: What words of advice do you wish you had received when you were first starting out?

Fn-M: To see differently is more important than to write perfectly. Although I don't think that I would have listened.


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