Latinos In The Industry


This is part of a series of informative articles that we are offering our readers. Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!

Article by Marvin V. Acuna

Recently, I read a story about how they used to capture monkeys in Africa. Apparently the locals anchored a narrow-necked bottle to the ground. The neck of the bottle was just large enough for a monkey's hand to fit through. Then, they put a small banana in the bottle, sat back and waited.

Before long a monkey would come by, see the banana, reach his hand into the bottle, and grab it. But then, the monkey discovered that he couldn't get his hand out of the bottle while holding on to the banana. There would be a loud chattering and squealing as the person who set the trap walked up to the monkey and placed a burlap sack over him. In the darkness, the monkey released the banana and was captured.

The monkey could, of course, let go of the banana and run before getting caught. But most of the monkeys hang on to the banana until the sack goes over their head. Why? Because the banana has value to the monkey, and the monkey is unwilling to let go of that value. So unwilling that he gives up his life for it.

What does this have to do with screenwriting, Marvin?...Everything!

In my experience, I have observed many aspiring screenwriters hold on to their dialogue, their scenes, and their characters with such reverence and preciousness that they stifle the creative and collaborative process of filmmaking. Opportunities lost, relationships devastated, and careers deflated, even destroyed.

Deadline Approaching: POV 2010

Attention, all filmmakers! POV, public television's premier showcase for independent, nonfiction film seeks programs from all perspectives to showcase in its annual national PBS series. All subjects, styles and lengths are welcome.

Check out the POV Blog to learn more about the categories of submissions that we are looking for. Please note: All entries must be received by Tuesday, June 30, 2009.

Apply online:

Deadline Approaching: Disney | ABC Television Group Writing Fellowship Program

The application deadline is approaching for Disney | ABC Television Group's 2010 Writing Fellowship Program. Launched in 1990, the Writing Fellowship gives participants the opportunity to hone their craft and jumpstart their careers through intensive workshops, seminars and personalized mentoring with creative executives from ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios, Disney Channel, and ABC Family. Fellows also receive a salary for a one-year period.

Thus far, staffed 2009 Fellows include Lana Cho (ABC Family’s Greek), Michael Cinquemani (ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You and ABC’s Brothers and Sisters) and Shalisha Francis (ABC Family’s Lincoln Heights). Additionally, 2008 Program Alumni Erika Johnson and Matthew Whitney have been staffed as Staff Writers on ABC’s Ugly Betty and ABC Family’s Greek, respectively. Deadline for Submissions to the Industry-Leading Program is July 1, 2009

Applications and detailed submission guidelines for the Writing Fellowship can be obtained at

Maya Snaps Up Theatrical and DVD Right to Casi Divas

Maya Entertainment has acquired U.S. theatrical and home entertainment rights to the Mexican Spanish-language comedy Casi Divas. In 2008 Casi Divas premiered in the number one spot at the boxoffice, and was among the top five grossing films.

"Maya is excited to distribute Sony's hugely entertaining film about the hopes and aspirations of women everywhere. This commercial and heartwarming film supports our mission to distribute great stories about the Latino experience," said Tonantzin Esparza, Maya Entertainment's Director of Acquisitions.

Casi Divas is written and directed by Issa Lopez and scored by producer Hans Zimmer. The story revolves around four ambitious and beautiful young women from four very different corners of Mexico, who get caught up in the frenzy that sweeps the country during a nationwide talent search for a lead role in a movie. Maya Zapata, Ana Layevska, Patricia Llaca and Daniela Schmidt star as the four "Divas" along with Julio Bracho.

Casi Divas is produced by Luz Maria Rojas (The Mask of Zorro, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, Curandero) for Columbia Pictures Producciones Mexico, the local production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Ignacio Darnaude is executive producer and creator of the original idea which Lopez transformed into the screenplay.

"Casi Divas is the second hit feature from Columbia Pictures Produccions Mexico. It's a testament to the genius of writer/director Issa Lopez that the film speaks a universal language and has found distribution outside Mexico in the U.S. market. Our very own Ignacio Darnaude, Sony's International EVP of Creative Advertising, came up with the original idea and treatment and it's a truly wonderful collaboration."

This marks the second successful collaboration for Columbia Pictures Producciones Mexico, the other bieng Ladies Night which was also written by Lopez and directed Gabriela Tagliavini in 2003 and starred Ana Claudia Talancon

Casi Divas will premiere in the U.S. in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Diego on August 21, followed by a national rollout.

10 Best Picture Noms? Sid Ganis on The Academy's Big Decision
(indieWIRE) - About to end his tenure as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this summer, Sid Ganis made quite the mark on his legacy this afternoon when he presided over the Academy’s decision to expand the best picture category to ten nominations. FULL STORY

Maya Ups Escobedo
(Variety) - Mary Escobedo has been promoted to Maya Entertainment VP for sales, home entertainment division. 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

DEADLINE APPROACHING: 2009 HBO/NALIP Documentary Filmmaker Cash Award

HBO has teamed with NALIP to find the next great Latino Documentary Film! Through the HBO / NALIP Documentary Filmmaker Cash Award, HBO wants to focus its lens on the Latino experience and support the growth of social commentary by Latino documentarians.

One Latino Filmmaker will win $10,000

Postmark deadline: June 26

For details, requirements, and submission information, download the Submission Form as a Word Doc or PDF File.

Estilo Hip Hop on PBS World, June 28

Hip Hop music has the ability to give a voice to the disenfranchised in any country, and as music with a message it is a form available to all societies worldwide.

Directed by New York based filmmakers, Loira Limbal and Virgilio Bravo, Estilo Hip Hop chronicles the lives of three hip hop enthusiasts from Brazil, Chile and Cuba who firmly believe that hip hop can change the world. These three inspirational leaders mobilize young people to become politically active. However as the stakes assume greater risks, the leaders are faced with challenges and have to make life-altering decisions that ultimately impact the course of their lives and of the hip hop movement.

Estilo Hip Hop will air nationally on Global Voices on PBS WORLD on Sunday, June 28 at 10 PM.

Free Screening of Which Way Home in downtown LA, June 26

Documentary feature Which Way Home will have a one night only, outdoor screening on Friday, June 26th at 8:00pm at California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles.

Each year, thousands of migrants use Mexican freight trains to reach the United States. Of those, roughly five percent are children traveling alone. Which Way Home follows several children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the ones you never near about - the invisible ones.

California Plaza
350 South Grand Ave.
(between 3rd St. and 4th St.)
Los Angeles, CA 90013


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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.