Blockbuster Courts Latino Auds
By Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety
Beleaguered homevid retail giant Blockbuster is making a pitch for the fast-growing U.S. Hispanic market by teaming with mini-Latino studio Maya Entertainment to set up a film festival and screenwriting competition.
"We've always had an eye on the growing Hispanic demo, which has overindexed on movies and DVDs for a number of years now," said Keith Leopard, Blockbuster's film content director.
Move is aimed at driving more customers to the retailer's 3,900 U.S. stores, which account for roughly 70% of its revenues. At least 400 of the stores are in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.
Fest, dubbed Maya Independent Sponsored by Blockbuster, will screen Latino-themed pics in 10 cities including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Fest kicks off in June and wraps in September (Hispanic Heritage Month), when pics will be available for rental exclusively at Blockbuster.
Titles include 2008 Sundance Film Festival entry "Mancora" and 2008 Toronto selection title "Once Upon a Time in Rio." The official list, including mainstream, genre and arthouse titles, will be unveiled shortly.
"The biggest problem in expanding Latino shelf space among homevideo retailers was the lack of a consistent quality flow of product," said Maya Home Entertainment VP Victor Elizalde.
The Los Angeles-based upstart, founded in February 2008, aims to release each year some 30-40 Latino-themed pics, including theatrical and direct-to-video titles that it produces or acquires.
Festival films will be shown on some screens belonging to sister exhib Maya Cinemas, which will have 50 screens in California by September.
Maya aims to spend up to $1 million on P&A, using local TV, radio, Internet, mobile campaigns and grassroots promotions, according to Maya VP of marketing and digital media Jaime Gamboa.
Meanwhile, the winner of screenwriting competition Project Goldenlight will likely have a theatrical release before being made available exclusively at participating Blockbuster stores.
The selection panel includes "Transformers" and "Star Trek" scribe Roberto Orci, Maya founder and CEO Moctesuma Esparza, LatinoReview.com's El Mayimbe and Endeavor agent Alexis Garcia.
Blockbuster posted a net loss of $359.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Maya Entertainment Names Jose Martinez, Jr. New Executive V.P.
Maya Entertainment, a vertically integrated entertainment company targeting the growing U.S. Latino market, today announced the promotion of Jose Martinez, Jr. to executive VP of the company effective immediately. Martinez is a NALIP Trustee and former NALIP Board Member.
Since joining Maya Entertainment a year ago as general counsel/head of acquisitions, Martinez has lead company efforts to acquire several notable films such as HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER starring “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera, MALDEAMORES produced by actor Benicio del Toro, AUGUST EVENING, winner of the Cassavetes Award at the 2008 Spirit Awards, SLEEP DEALER, a futuristic Sci-Fi feature, which premieres theatrically nationwide on April 17th.
As Executive VP, Martinez is charged with overseeing all company operations, specifically TV and foreign sales, acquisitions, and business affairs. Additionally, Martinez will supervise the integration of department activities, increase cross-departmental efficiencies, and improve communication within the various departments including Maya Cinemas, Maya Releasing, Maya Entertainment Home Video, and Maya Productions.
“We have seen a tremendous amount of growth since we launched a year ago,” said Moctesuma Esparza, who founded Maya Entertainment and co-chairs with Jeff Valdez. “Jose brings the level of experience and expertise we need to successfully manage our budding business objectives and needs. We are thrilled to be recognizing his achievements with this promotion.”
About Maya Entertainment
Maya Entertainment, headed by award winning producer Moctesuma Esparza and co-chaired by Jeff Valdez, is the only Latino owned and managed filmed entertainment company specifically focused on the growing U.S. Latino film-going audience. Maya Entertainment will release 8 to 10 films theatrically and 24 straight-to-DVD releases a year. Maya Entertainment is the sister company of Maya Cinemas North America, Inc. a movie theater exhibition company featuring state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas with a site in Salinas, CA and new sites soon to be opened in Bakersfield, CA, Fresno, CA, Santa Fe, NM, Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, New York and more.
Latin Horror Presents "The HORRORphiles #2 - Scaring up a Revolución" (NYC)
LATIN HORROR, in association with NEWFILMMAKERS, cordially invite you to another special edition of the NewLatino Filmmakers Screening Series "The HORRORphiles #2 - Scaring up a Revolución," featuring the work of emerging Latino/a directors working within the genre of horror (including several NALIP members). Q&A with filmmakers in attendance immediately following final program.
When: Saturday, April 4, 2009 ~ 6:30-9:30PM
Where: Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at Second Street, Lower East Side, NYC
6:45PM - Narrative Shorts Program
8:00PM - Narrative Feature
Series Director/Curator: NALIP member and former Board Member Edwin Pagan (LPA 2008)
Short Film Line-up -
* "434" - Directed by Leonard Zelig [NALIP Member] & Javier Perez-Karam
* "MY WIFE IS A ZOMBIE" - Directed by Monica Winter Vigil [NALIP Member]
* "3:52" - Directed by Shawna Baca [NALIP Member]
* BLOOD DRIPS - Directed by Pepper Negron
* "THE CRYPT CLUB" - Directed by Miguel Gallego
Feature Presentation -
* "THE MUD BOY" - Directed by Jorge Algora
ABOUT LATIN HORROR - http://www.latinhorror.com
LATIN HORROR is the first English-language publication dedicated to the emerging genre of Latin horror and will feature the leading Latin/Hispanic/international proponents working in film, theater, music, photography. illustration, graphic novels, "dark art" novelas, comic books, literature, and games -- from the seasoned masters -- to the up-and-coming Latin horrorphile whose work is grounded in horror, the macabre, and gothic arts. "LATIN HORROR - The Official Home of Latin Horrorphiles Everywhere"
Deadline Approaching: CPB/PBS Producers Academy Scholarship
CPB and PBS are offering scholarships for 20 filmmakers to attend the CPB/PBS Producers Academy Workshop to be held at the studios of WGBH Boston, from Saturday, June 20 through Friday, June 26, 2009. The scholarship includes the cost of the workshop, accommodations and travel expenses.
Over a seven-day period, participants in the Producers Workshop will attend an intensive course that covers a range of production skills and draws on the expertise that has made PBS a recognized force on the American cultural landscape. The goal of the Producers Workshop is to encourage a diverse and talented group of producers who will create new and greater programming achievements in public broadcasting.
All interested applicants must complete and submit the application by 5:00 pm eastern on Friday, April 3, 2009. Further details and application form can be found at:
The Workshop will be located at and administered by WGBH Boston, one of the largest organizations of producers in public broadcasting. The executive director of the Workshop is Judith Vecchione, Executive Producer, WGBH National Productions.
ELIGIBILITY: The Producers Workshop will be open both to public broadcasting station staff producers and to independent producers who are involved in public broadcasting.
FOCUS: Media Production, Professional Development, Scholarship, Television, Training
FOR: Public broadcasting station staff producers and to independent producers who are involved in public broadcasting.
DEADLINE: April 3, 2009
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Detailed workshop and application information is available here from the PBS Web site.
For additional information refer to the posting on PBS Connect, or pbs.org or cpb.org, or contact Kathryn Lo at PBS, (703) 739-5226, email@example.com, or Angie Palmer at CPB, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not contact WGBH.
Deadline Approaching: HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition
HBO and The New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) are still accepting entries for the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition. Jointly created in 2004, the competition seeks to foster films by Latino filmmakers and/or about the Latino experience. One winner will be chosen from among applicants to receive $15,000 in funding from HBO to produce and direct a short film based on an original script entry. The completed short will be presented on screen this summer at the 2009 New York International Film Festival, July 28 - August 2, and considered for broadcast on one of HBOs programming services.
Postmark Deadline: March 27 , 2009
Applicants will be notified if their screenplay has been selected by May 22, 2009. For official rules, regulations and submission forms, log on to www.NYLatinoFilm.com
The Imagen Foundation's Entertainment Industry Job Fair & Workshop
Time is running out to register for the 14th Annual Imagen Job Fair and Career Workshops, held on Saturday, March 28, 2009 in Glendale, CA. This year's companies include: The Oprah Winfrey Network, ABC, Warner Bros., and ABC7. There will be a limited number of companies participating given the down turn in the economy. We will also have entertainment industry human resource counselors available to provide advice as well workshops on the changing business environment in the industry.
All of the details are available online at: www.imagen.org. There is a $5 fee to attend.
All Job Fair and Workshop fees must be received by 5PM on Thursday March 26th in order to participate. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT REGISTRATIONS AT THE DOOR ON SATURDAY.
Cinema Tucson Mexico 2009 Film Festival
The Mexican Consulate in Tucson cordially invites the community to “Cinema Tucson Mexico 2009" film festival, to be held on March 26 thru 29, and April 3 and 4. The films will be exhibited at the Harkins Theaters Tucson Spectrum 18 (5455 S. Calle Santa Cruz) and Grand Cinemas Crossroads 6 (4811 E Grant Road). The festival screening calendar is available here.
The featured films are:
1. Remember Lake Tahoe? by Fernando Eimbcke. (Revelation Year Award at Cannes 2008)
2. Silent Light by Carlos Reygadas. (Jury Prize at Cannes 2007)
3. Nail Year by Jonas Cuaron.
4. My Life In by Lucia Gaja. (Best Documentary at the 2007 Morelia International Film Festival)
5. The Fallen by Rudy Joffroy.
6. Rudo and Cursi by Carlos Cuaron. (Starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna)
The festival also includes a section devoted to the first Mexican science fiction movies such as El Santo vs. the Martians and The Planet of the Invading Women; these films are part of "The future here," series by which the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) releases new 35 mm format classic genre features. Moreover, filmmakers Rudy Joffroy, Carlos Gutierrez, co-director of Cinema Tropical, and Frida Torresblanco, considered producer of the year for “Rudo and Cursi” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”, among others, are expected to attend the festival .
“2009 Tucson Film Mexico” is presented by the University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute (UA), the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, the Tucson Film Office, the Western Hemisphere Program at UA and Cinema Tropical, with the support of Cox and Harkins Theaters, and media sponsors such as 102.1 KCMT La Caliente and La Estrella de Tucson.