Latinos In The Industry

MEDIA ADVOCACY INSIGHTS: The Last Days of the Internet

By Robert Eisele for Written By magazine
Artwork by Lou Beach

Seven years ago, a train thundering into Minot, North Dakota, at two in the morning derailed and caromed across a frozen ground. Tank cars, herniated by the impact, gushed 240,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia in a toxic cloud that shrouded much of Minot, the state's fourth-largest town. But when local residents turned on their radios, instead of an emergency broadcast, they heard music. All six commercial radio stations in Minot were owned by media giant Clear Channel, including the station designated for emergency announcements. Each was operated by computer, so only one employee was on the job. Authorities tried to override their signals by activating the Emergency Alert System, but it failed. As a result, more than 300 people were injured from inhaling the poisonous gas, and one person died. But the music continued to play uninterrupted over Clear Channel's stations, beamed in from out of state.

This could not have happened 15 years ago. No company could legally own and operate more than one AM and FM station in any single market. Today, they can own eight in a single market, and Clear Channel owns 1,200 nationwide. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, guided through Congress by Newt Gingrich's Contract for America and signed by Bill Clinton, is responsible for that nightmarish breakdown in our Emergency Broadcast System. The deregulation of the 1990s led not only to the Telecommunications Act, but to further media consolidation when the FCC and Congress began to roll back the protections of the financial interest and syndication rules (known as fin syn). These rules had prevented broadcasters from owning all the shows they exhibited, requiring them to air entertainment content from independent producers so consumers could view shows from varying perspectives. The intention was to create a marketplace of ideas and stimulate economic competition, the lifeblood of a free market. But as the fin syn rules eroded, so did the percentage of independently produced shows. In the 1992-93 television season, 67 percent of primetime broadcast TV shows were independently produced; in 2007, according to the FCC's Media Ownership Study, that number shrank to only 18 percent.

In 1980, I was a young junior college professor writing plays for regional theater. Then I made my first Hollywood sale. At that time, 29 major corporations in the entertainment media shared $100 billion in annual revenue. The opportunities seemed limitless. And young screenwriters, inspired by the groundbreaking American films of the 1970s, were ready to make their mark. A writer with few or no produced credits could pitch an idea to a studio or production company and get paid to write the screenplay. A generous portion of Hollywood's profits were funneled into such research and development because the competition was fierce. Innovation and originality were at a premium.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the millennium. That $100 billion of annual revenue in 1980 ballooned to $400 billion in 2008. Meanwhile, the 29 companies that shared those revenues in 1980 shrunk to only six conglomerates today. News Corp, NBC Universal, Disney ABC, CBS, Sony Television, and Warner Bros. now control more than 80 percent of all writers' employment.


Latina Named to Top Disney Channel Post

We are pleased to share the news that Carolina Lightcap has been promoted to President, Disney Channels Worldwide, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, Co-chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, to whom she will report. Ms. Lightcap will assume her new position within the Disney/ABC Television Group effective immediately and will relocate from Buenos Aires to Burbank.

Reporting to Ms. Lightcap, Gary Marsh will assume the new title of Chief Creative Officer in addition to his current title of President, Entertainment, Disney Channels Worldwide, remaining in charge of all program development, creative and production. Also reporting to Ms. Lightcap are The Disney Channel global executive teams representing Programming and Production, Business Affairs, Business Planning and Development, Marketing, Brand Management, Advertising Sales and Radio Disney.

A highly-regarded executive with more than 20 years in the media/entertainment industry, Ms. Lightcap joined The Walt Disney Company in 2000 and most recently served in the dual roles of Senior Vice President, Programming and Creative Affairs, Disney Channels Latin America, and Chief Marketing Officer, The Walt Disney Company, Latin America.

In making the announcement, Ms. Sweeney stated: "Carolina has made enormous contributions to Disney over the past decade, especially in launching and building Disney Channel Latin America into the #1 cable channel in the region. She's a highly respected member of our global team and her wealth of experience, leadership acumen and programming, marketing and franchise building skills make her the ideal executive to lead Disney Channels Worldwide into the future."

Deadline Approaching: Going Green Film Festival

The Going Green Film Festival is currently taking submissions. Submit your film NOW for a chance to win the $2000 plus many more prizes. Chipotle Mexican Grill to award a filmmaker $2000, April 4, 2010 during the ECOtainment Awards at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

The Going Green Film Festival's motto: REthink. REplenish. REcommit. This is the only festival of its kind to focus exclusively on green filmmaking, from production to content!

Deadline: November 30

Details and application information available at

All genres are welcome! Films are being considered in 3 Main Categories:

*GREEN PRODUCTION, where a film's production worked to lessen the carbon footprint left on the planet. (any genre of film)

*OUR PLANET, where the film's topic covers third world issues, ecology, nature or the environment; and

*HYBRID/ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION, where the film features a hybrid vehicle, bicycle, electric scooter or public transportation (any genre of film).

Prizes include: $2000 from Chipotle, Hybrid Bikes, Tree Planted in Your Name, Fuji Film, Movie Magic Suite Software, Showbiz Software, Super 8 Production Facilities and much more!

Weitz Digs Gardener
(Variety) - As "New Moon" soared toward a $258 million opening weekend worldwide, director Chris Weitz was in discussions with Summit Entertainment for his follow-up: "The Gardener," about a hard-working immigrant who lives in Los Angeles and his efforts to protect his son. FULL STORY

NBC's Canceled Trauma Given New Life
(Latin Heat) - NBC, in an eyebrow-raising announcement, has just ordered three new episodes of Trauma, the ensemble-cast medical/action show from Peter Berg. And yes, this is the same show the network canceled just a couple of weeks ago. FULL STORY

The Battle of Chile Released on DVD
(Cinema Tropical) - Icarus Films have announced that Patricio Guzmán's classic and epic documentary The Battle of Chile will be available for the first time on DVD in North America on December 8th. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

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

Editor for Music Video
Looking for editor to edit music video as soon as possible. Paid gig. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Director and Production Company with CGI Capabilities for Sci-Fi Film
Supernova Legacy Productions is seeking a Director, and a Production company with Computer Generated Images (CGI) capabilities, for the sci-fi film "Rupturian." FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Production Crew for One-Day Shoot
Brightside Films is hiring the following positions for a one day shoot for a promotional video coming up on December 18, 2009: Director, DP, Sound Mixer/Boom, and Lighting Tech. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION


From the Editor

Happy Thanksgiving! We will see you next week.

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

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

Frances Negrón-Muntaner
NALIP Founding Board Member appointed director of the Center of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University

Nicholas B. Dirks, the Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University in the city of New York has announced the appointment of NALIP founding board member Professor Frances Negrón-Muntaner as the new director of the Center of Ethnicity and Race (CSER). Frances assumed the directorship on July 1, 2009 succeeding Claudio Lomnitz, whose leadership over the past three years resulted in a profound rethinking of the role of ethnic studies in the undergraduate curriculum and at Columbia University more broadly.

Born in Puerto Rico, Frances received a BA in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico, an MA in Anthropology and an MFA in Film and Video, both from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers. The breadth of her educational background is reflected in her scholarly work which traverses several fields including cinema, literature, cultural criticism, and politics.

Since 2003, Frances has been a member of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia where she specializes in 19th and 20th century Caribbean and U.S Latino literatures and cultures and a member of CSER where she has worked closely with previous directors and students in shaping its mission. Beyond academia, she has extensive experience in journalism, both as a columnist and editor, working for publications such as The San Juan Star, El Diario/La Prensa and The Puerto Rico Herald. With respect to film, her undertakings have had considerable influence: she was the founder of Miami Light Project's Filmmakers Workshop, a founding board member and former chair of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and since 1998, has been the president of Polymorphous Pictures, Inc.

A prolific writer, in addition to numerous articles and reviews, Frances is the author of Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture (named 2004 Choice Outstanding Book) and has edited several books including Sovereign Acts (South End Press, 2008) and None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era (Palgrave 2007). Also a widely respected film maker, Frances has directed, written and/or produced a number of films including Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican, which garnered several prizes and distinctions and AIDS in the Barrio which was awarded First Place at the John Muir Medical Film Festival. She currently is completing two documentaries on the relationship between the military and civilians in Guam and Vieques, and writing a social history of the reggaeton genre.

Her extensive work in the fields of Latino Studies and mass media has been widely recognized. She is the recipient of Ford, Truman, Scripps Howard, Rockefeller, Creative Capital/ Warhol Foundation, and Pew fellowships as well as a Social Science Research Council grant. In 2005 she earned a spot on Hispanic Business Magazine's "100 Most Influential Hispanics" list and in 2008 was recognized as a "global expert" by the United Nations' Rapid Response Media Mechanism.

Alyssa Diaz
NALIPster stars in Ben 10: Alien Swarm on Cartoon Network, Wed. Nov. 25 at 7pm

NALIP LPA Fellow and LPA actor Alyssa Diaz (LPA 2006) stars as Elena in the live-action movie Ben 10: Alien Swarm, premiering Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7:00pm on Cartoon Network.

Read the Variety review by Brian Lowry below:

Further milking and aging the "Ben 10" franchise into teen territory, Cartoon Network has churned out a second live-action movie infused with a slick comicbook feel while at times feeling more like product placement for cars and motorcycles than a movie. Still, "Ben 10: Alien Swarm" has upped "Ben 10's" game in terms of visual effects, and it races along briskly enough that it should connect with the older boy/younger-teen audience that the Turner-owned channel is cultivating (actually, pandering to) with a slew of live-action reality shows.

Alex Winter reprises his role as director-producer, working from a script by James Krieg (an alum of the "Ben 10" series) and John Turman, whose credits include "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." The influence of the latter is apparent, inasmuch as the movie's central trio approximates a superhero team -- maybe the Threat-Thwarting Three or something.

For the uninitiated, Ben Tennyson (Ryan Kelley) -- a kid in the original animated version, a teenager here -- is the keeper of something called the Omnitrix, a way-cool watchlike alien device that allows him to transform into a variety of bad-ass extraterrestrial creatures. Working as part of a group named the Plumbers to repel alien threats, he's flanked by his pals Gwen (Galadriel Stineman) and Kevin (Nathan Keyes), each of whom brings his or her own unique powers to the monster mash.

Enter Elena (Alyssa Diaz), a girl from Ben's pubescent youth, who's searching for her father, Validus (Herbert Siguenza). Only Validus ran afoul of Ben's grandpa, Max (Barry Corbin, under a fright wig), who thinks he betrayed the Plumbers.

Alien invaders are on the loose, meanwhile, swarming like metallic insects and turning humans into zombielike drones, doing the bidding of their unseen "queen."

Although the visual design is strong (one villain resembles Rorschach from "Watchmen") and the pace rumbles along, Winter indulges in too many vehicular chases set to loud music that do little more than kill time -- presumably as an alternative to expensive visual effects and clunky dialogue.

Fortunately, there's reasonably good chemistry among the leads and plenty of heroism, even if it falls to Ben to do most of the heavy lifting in the well-shot climactic battle.

Cartoon Network clearly wants to attract a slightly more mature audience, diving into live-action series to augment movies like this and the recent "Scooby Doo" reboot. The sad part is that its scripted efforts have been overshadowed of late by the summer's misguided swarm of reality -- the kind of menace even Ben would be hard-pressed to vanquish.

Cruz Angeles
NALIP Estela winner invited to Estonian fest

By Gunnar Rehlin, Variety

For the first time, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival will include a section in which indie productions from North America will compete for distribution rights in the Baltic states, and advertising and distribution support on NonStop's TV channels Silver and Star!

Among the 10 films from the U.S. and Canada to unspool in the Estonian capital between Friday and Dec. 6 are [NALIP 2009 Estela Award Winner] Cruz Angeles' "Don't Let Me Drown," Nicholas Jasenovec's "Paper Heart," Bernard Emond's "The Legacy," Dia Sokol's "Sorry, Thanks," Scott D. Rosenbaum's "The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll" and Bradley Rust Gray's "The Exploding Girl."

Main program includes Gaspar Noe's "Enter the Void," Jessica Hausner's "Lourdes," Margreth Olin's "The Angel," Nicolo Donato's "Brotherhood," Klaus Haro's "Letters to Father Jacob," Duncan Jones' "Moon," Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Air Doll," Kira Muratova's "Melody for a Street Organ," Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's "Ajami" and Ermek Tursunov's "Kelin."


Contact us at to post news, announcements, business data or job postings.

To SUBSCRIBE send an email to

to UNSUBSCRIBE send an email to

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.