NALIP Conference 9 Opening Plenary on Saturday, March 8: Creating a Pan-Latino Cinema with Global Appeal
Is there a pan-Latino aesthetic in films from the U.S. and abroad whether they feature Latino characters or not?
Are there pros and cons to identifying with the Latino community in one's work?
Where do our creative sparks originate and do we think these sparks have anything to do with our culture of origin?
Join us for this provocative Conference opening session. Speakers include co-chair Frida Torresblanco, producer of PAN’S LABRYINTH, producer/actor Yareli Arizmendi (A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN), writer/director Sergio Arau of A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN and the upcoming PLAN B, NY Times columnist Mireya Navarro, documentary director/producer Phillip Rodriguez (BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN) and film-TV director Rodrigo Garcia (NINE LIVES and the new HBO series “In Treatment.”).
Moderated by NALIP co-chair, playwright Elaine Romero. Don’t miss the entire Conference program, full of creative conversations, engaging discussions and in-depth case studies. All at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point, CA. For all program & registration information, go to www.nalip.org/conference2008/
Playing to Latino Audiences
By Roger Vincent, for the Los Angeles Times
Mathew Garcia of Boyle Heights goes to the movies about once a week, ignoring theaters in his Eastside Latino neighborhood and heading straight for the suburbs.
His favorite destination: nearby Alhambra, where he says he prefers the more up-to-date and comfortable multiplexes, often featuring big screens, surround sound and stadium seating. The theaters in his neighborhood are "smaller and louder," he said.
Garcia and moviegoers like him are the target of a new joint venture by well-known film producer Moctesuma Esparza and a Chicago real estate developer that aims to deliver first-class theaters along with restaurants and stores to inner-city Latino neighborhoods.
"As a producer, I know what a quality movie experience is," said Esparza, whose credits include "Selena," "Gettysburg" and "The Milagro Beanfield War."
Esparza's Maya Cinemas in a joint venture with developer Urban Retail Properties plans to build 500 screens in 40 locations over the next five years. Their first complex is operating in Salinas, Calif., and others are under construction or close to starting in Fresno, Bakersfield and Santa Fe, N.M.
Separately, Esparza plans to open a Maya Cinemas in Inglewood on his own with modern facilities and featuring first-run films in English and Spanish.
Theater operators in recent years have begun to recognize that ethnic neighborhoods are often underserved, said Patrick Corcoran of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. African American and Indian enclaves also have been identified as rich with opportunity for theater builders.
The association estimates that the nation's 175 million moviegoers generally reflect the U.S. population mix with whites in the majority followed by Latinos and blacks. But, Corcoran said, "the most consistent movie viewers are Latinos."
One of them is James Rojas, who went to theaters every Saturday as a boy. Now a planner for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Rojas lives downtown and takes the subway to new high-tech theaters in Hollywood.
"I like the collective movie-going experience," Rojas said.
Esparza, who grew up attending Spanish-language movies in downtown Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s, traces the strong Latino interest in movies to the Mexican movie industry's rich past when its films competed with Hollywood fare.
Another factor, he said, is that the Latino population skews young, and young people in general are more likely to attend movies.
The average American is about 40 years old, Esparza said, "but the average Latino is 26."
Esparza and Urban Retail Properties plan to tailor their complexes to neighborhood needs and tastes. Theaters will have soundproof "crying rooms," for example, where parents can retreat with babies and still see the movie. People will be able to enter the lobby even if they don't have tickets so that they can meet up and parents can find their children with greater ease.
"The lobby should be open and friendly and ticket control should be in the theaters," Esparza said.
Movie selection will include family fare plus action and adventure flicks, Esparza said. "We're going to stay away from hard-core ugly violence."
The builders will also shell out for such upscale finishes as marble and stone along with plush seating because cutting corners could backfire, he said.
"We believe these communities have suffered substandard developments which become self-fulfilling failures," he said. "The development community in the past has not respected dollars spent" by consumers from inner-city neighborhoods.
Each complex will also include restaurants and stores, said Ross Glickman, chairman of Urban Retail Properties. The centers will cost a minimum of $75 million each and some could cost "well above" $100 million, he said.
One of the largest centers -- expected to occupy more than 600,000 square feet -- is being planned in Chicago, where Urban Retail Properties is based, Glickman said.
He predicts that such projects will attract other builders and retailers that want to be near the center. "These kinds of developments can shift the center of gravity" in inner-city neighborhoods, Glickman said. "I think there is a tremendous amount of upside for everybody."
There are challenges, however, said real estate investment fund manager Bobby Turner, who works with former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson on mixed-use developments, including theaters in urban African American neighborhoods.
With the economy stuttering, many national retailers are reducing their number of stores and may not be available, said Turner, managing partner of Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds.
"Consumer spending is shrinking," Turner said. And with the nation's credit market in disarray, "the biggest challenge is just financing."
But there are still many development opportunities in the inner-city neighborhoods that developers have mostly ignored for years, Turner said. "The urban consumer wants the same product the suburban consumer does," he said.
Urban Retail has ample backing from pension funds and Maya Cinemas is self-financed, Esparza said.
Urban Retail's developments include well-known shopping venues such as Water Tower Place in Chicago, Copley Place in Boston and Valencia Town Center in north Los Angeles County.
While the developers plan, Garcia of Boyle Heights will keep making his weekly journey to the big multiplexes.
"I like drama and some horror," said Garcia, an accountant at a paint store. "But no dumb-funny comedies."
New La Plaza Video Blog
NALIP Mentor and Conference 9 Speaker Joseph Tovares is the Executive Producer of La Plaza, the Latino production unit of WGBH Boston that offers viewers a vista onto the Latino community through a cross-platform presentation of award-winning documentaries, cutting-edge music programs, and provocative studio-based talk series.
La Plaza has a new online video blog on the topic "The Latino Vote '08 - Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza."
Every four years talk turns to the Latino Vote. Will this be the year the “sleeping giant” awakes and decides who will get sworn in next January? Janet Murguía, the President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza thinks she knows how things will play out.
View the video blog online here!
American Latino TV and Latination Debut New Episodes
The award-winning, nationally syndicated TV programs, American Latino TV (ALTV) and LatiNation announced today that new episodes will air this weekend, February 9 and 10 in over 100 cities throughout the U.S. The groundbreaking, English-language shows will debut new episodes that continue their mission of celebrating American Latino culture for everyone.
On American Latino TV, "celebrating American Latino Pride," experience a day in the life of Chicano Style creator, Danny Gamez, a Latino entrepreneur whose vision came from his desire to represent all Latinos through fashion. In the Cine segment, Brazilian film Director, Tata Amaral, discusses her latest film, Antonia, a critically acclaimed movie focused on the struggles of a female Hip-Hop group trying to make a name for themselves while confronting poverty and prejudice. Later, American Latino TV gives viewers a look at the unusual yet creative characters of Crazee Comics illustrator, Samuel Vera. Then the show visits jewelry designer, Kathleen Gomez Grandfield, who dazzles us with the one-of-a-kind pieces she creates at her Texas boutique, Red Texture Jewelry. Lastly, American Latino TV takes us to Californiasnowboarder, Jamie Madrid, who is breaking stereotypes and turning the extreme sports world upside down to meet 13-year-old
LatiNation, "representing a new generation," takes viewers to meet Puerto Rican sculptor, David Cortes, who tells us how he got to the top of the toy industry. Also on LatiNation, Latino fraternities and sororities talk about their experiences. Then viewers will be astounded by the street magic of Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini and they will laugh out loud with the funny ladies of The Latin Divas of Comedy as they poke fun of Latina stereotypes. To close the show, LatiNation jams with Spanish rock band, Circo, whose members take a break from touring to tell us about their massive success.
FMM Project-A-Thon Starts This Saturday (Miami)
The Florida Media Market has pushed the first Project-A-Thon meeting to THIS Saturday, February 9th. The last meeting is now scheduled for Saturday, March 8th. The times and location remain the same:
Location: FMM Headquarters
25 SE 2nd Ave., Suite 1148, Miami, FL 33131
So come ready to learn, pitch and collaborate on the next batch of brilliant stories! If you have any questions, please contact us at (305) 372-4563 or via email at email@example.com
Remember: Seats for the Project-A-Thon are going fast, so act now! Click here to register for the Project-A-Thon right away.
Pretendiendo (Ugly Me) Starring Bárbara Mori Opening in LA
The most Successful Latin American Film of All Time in Mexico is in LOS ANGELES Theaters, February 8.
A Romantic Comedy That You Can Not Miss!
West Side theatre opening première: Regent Showcase Cinema (La Brea & Melrose) and other 17 theatres in the LA area.
To View the Trailer and for Theater Listings Information Log to www.uglyme.com
Read about "Ugly Me" in the Los Angeles Times.
The Imagen Foundation Job Fair
13th Annual Imagen Entertainment Industry JOB FAIR FREE To The General Public.
Saturday, February 9th, 2008 - 9AM - 4PM
Double Tree Hotel - 924 W. Huntington Dr., Monrovia, CA 91016
FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO TO www.imagen.org