Latinos In The Industry
  March 24, 2009  

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,'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


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 or, or contact Kathryn Lo at PBS, (703) 739-5226,, or Angie Palmer at CPB, 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

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: 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.



Latinos Writers Lab™ Deadline this FRIDAY March 27, 2009

Applications are due for NALIP’s seventh 5-month program designed to support and inspire NALIP members who aspire to work as professional screenwriters, and who want to develop a strong, viable screenplay for production or sale. The Lab includes skills development by professional instructors, direct mentoring of your work-in-progress by writer/mentors, and workshop lunches on valuable legal, guild, creative and industry information.

Only 12 – 15 writers will be selected to participate in this 10-day intensive lab. This program is not for beginning writers – it does not teach beginning screenwriting skills. It is a competitive program that digs deep into your project, and pushes you to write a refined and marketable screenplay.

The first five-day session and seminar will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico May 27 – 31, 2009, beginning Wednesday evening with an orientation and screening. All Fellows invited are provided hotel scholarships in Santa Fe. Scripts must be rewritten over the summer, then Fellows are invited to the second session in Santa Monica, CA at the end of September.

Applications MUST be postmarked by this FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2009. So visit the LWL webpage to download an application and apply today for NALIP’s 2009 Latino Writers Lab™!

Tribeca All Access 2009 Program Invites NALIPsters, Latinos

Tribeca All Access (TAA), a year round program of the Tribeca Film Institute, will present 27 new projects during the six-days of events taking place April 20 – 25 during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, held from April 22 – May 3.

Entering into its sixth year, Tribeca All Access is designed to help foster and nurture relationships between film industry executives and filmmakers from traditionally underrepresented communities in the film industry. Participating directors and screenwriters will have access to workshops and the opportunity to present their upcoming projects in one-on-one meetings with more than 100 potential investors, development executives, producers, and agents.

The 24 U.S.-based filmmakers involved in 21 narrative scripts and documentary work-in-progress, were selected to participate from an open call for submissions, which garnered over 475 submissions from across the country. Six international projects will participate as well through associations with the UK Film Council, Screen Australia (formerly Australian Film Commission), and the Canadian Film Centre. At the conclusion of the six days of events over $55,000 in cash awards will be presented. For more information on this year’s jurors please see TAA 2009 Program Highlight.


Xochitl Dorsey - Director, Producer
Xochitl Dorsey is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, whose narrative and documentary films have appeared on Showtime and PBS, as well as in numerous film festivals. She received the 2006 Director's Guild of America award for Best Student Short Film in the Latino Category, and won the Mercury Latino Lens Short Film Challenge for her film Tears & Tortillas. Her short documentary, Frozen Dreams, recently premiered at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival. Dorsey is currently completing a Media Fellowship with the National Minority Consortia and the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and she has directed and produced work for Mun2, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. She holds an MFA in Film Directing and Production from UCLA and a degree in Latin American Studies from NYU.

Monica Campbell - Producer
As a freelance journalist based in Mexico City, Monica Campbell has regularly contributed to Economist Intelligence Unit, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, I.D., The Boston Globe, and Amnesty International Magazine, among others. Campbell is also the Mexico consultant for the Committee to Protect Journalists and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She has covered the story of Brad Will since 2006.

Alex Rivera - Executive Producer
Alex Rivera (NALIP mentor and founding member) is a New York-based digital media artist and filmmaker. His first feature narrative, Sleep Dealer, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and garnered two awards, including the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Rivera is a Sundance Fellow and a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellow.


Hugo Perez - Director, Screenwriter
Hugo Perez’s (LPA 2008) short film Betty La Flaca was the winner of the 2006 HBO/NYILFF Short Film Award and broadcast on HBO through 2008, while his previous short film Julieta Y Ramon was broadcast as part of the 2005 Showtime Latino Filmmaker Showcase. Perez completed two documentary features in 2008, including the 2009 MOMA Documentary Fortnight selection Neither Memory Nor Magic, and the ITVS fundedSummer Sun Winter Moon. Most recently, he was named the recipient of the 2009 NALIP Estela Award for Documentary Filmmaking. Perez studied writing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, collaborated with novelist William Kennedy, and served as a guest artist for theater director Robert Wilson. He was a recipient of the Tribeca Film Institute Emerging Artist Fellowship for 2008 in support of his narrative feature project Immaculate Conception.

Katharyn Bond Marquez - Producer
Katharyn Bond Marquez (LPA 2008) is a founder of Converge Entertainment, LLC – a start-up company financing and producing American Latino themed projects – which is currently producing the documentary, Toxic Murder 602 (formerly Death in a Small Town). A partner at the law firm of Marquez, Bond & Meisel LLP, Bond Marquez serves as co-programming chair of the NALIP-NY Board.


George Reyes - Director, Producer
Born to Colombian immigrants, George Reyes graduated from Harvard University and Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he directed and produced numerous award-winning short films. Reyes went on to serve as director of the Teen Media Program at the Cambridge Community Art Center and director of International Programs at the New York Film Academy, and he later taught in the Communications Department at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico City. Most recently, Reyes has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, Outfest, and Sundance Institute in their International Feature Film Program. He is currently a 2009 Project Involve Film Independent Fellow.

Claudia Lopez - Director, Producer
A native of Mexico City, Claudia Lopez graduated from the Communications Department of Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Her first short film and graduation project Hora de muerte 8:36 premiered on Mexican Television’s Channel 11. Lopez has pursued post-graduate studies in Photographic Production and Theory, and has directed and produced videos and television commercials for clients such as Saatchi & Saatchi, SARE, Intel, Microsoft, Estudios Churubusco, Telmex and Telcel.

Gemma Cubero
NALIPster's doc feature airing on 2009 P.O.V. series

Ella Es El Matador (She is The Matador) the feature length documentary directed and produced by NALIP member Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco and winner of the 2008 Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award for Documentary, celebrated its world premiere at the 24th Guadalajara International Film Festival on March 22nd and 23rd. The film has also been announced as part of the 2009 P.O.V programming series. Ella Es el Matador reveals the surprising history of women in the sport of bullfighting, and offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena: the acclaimed Mari Paz Vega and neophyte Eva Florencia.

Dalia Tapia
NALIPster's film screening at Chicago Latino Film Festival

NALIP member Dalia Tapia's recently completed film Silent Shame will be showcased as part of the 25th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival in CHICAGO. The film stars Leti Guzman, Fernando Luis, Jose Lagunas & David Blancas. Logline: Every parent has a secret… A young man discovers the unexpected… The truth will be revealed!

The movie will screen at the Landmark Century (2828 N. Clark street, Chicago, IL 60657) on Saturday, April 18th at 9:00pm and Monday, April 20th at 6:00pm 2009.

Carlos A. Ascencio
Film The Waitlist screening in Babelgum fest

Carlos A. Ascencio's film The Waitlist - shot during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival - has been tapped to screen online during the 2009 Babelgum Film Festival. The film is available for viewing and voting online until 1pm GMT April 2nd, 2009. Honorary Judge Spike Lee will be judging from the final shortlist of films most voted on during the festival run. Search for "The Waitlist" at

The film chronicles the passion of film and the effect it has on filmmakers and film goers alike. By covering the waitlist lines during the festival, interviewees expressed their thoughts on why they waited so long in the freezing cold just to watch a movie and also they gave their thoughts about how certain movies have inspired them and changed their lives.



Hulu Making Documentary Push
(Broadcasting & Cables) - Hulu is planning a new section of the site dedicated to documentary programming, to help the site reach out to Indie film community and users to find doc content. FULL STORY

Telemundo, Televisa Launch Venture
(Variety) - Spanish-language web Telemundo and Mexican mega-conglom Televisa get even cozier with the launch of a joint-venture cable channel aimed at Mexico and Latin America. FULL STORY

Documentaries Thrive in Tough Times
(Variety) - If it's true that serious times demand serious fare, a new golden age of docus may be on the horizon. FULL STORY

Broken Embraces Falls Short of Volver Box Office
( - Pedro Almodovar's latest film Broken Embraces took $1.3m in its opening weekend at the Spanish box office, a full $1m less than his previous offering Volver, following a mixed response from critics. FULL STORY

Broadcasters Upbeat for Populist Fare
(Variety) - As program budgets head south in these belt-tightening times, distributors are betting that TV documentaries can punch above their weight by delivering value-for-money in broadcasters' schedules. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

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

Casting: Latina Lead for Horror Film
Currently casting a breakout role for the next upcoming Latina superstar, union or non-union, for a horror project (no Spanish necessary). FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Production Coordinator Needed Immediately
Experienced production coordinator needed in Soho office for 2 episodes of new docudrama about notorious fugitives shooting in the US and Europe, must be fluent in Spanish. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Mexican Wrestling Scripts
Miracle Mile Entertainment is looking for completed feature-length scripts with stories about Lucha Libre or Luchadores - Mexican Wrestling. FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

Art Director with Quirky Sensibility
We need an art director for a fun, colorful project, that will eventually be launched on the Internet. 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

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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.