News & Updates

  • New ‘Speedy Gonzales’ Film Announcement Reignites Debate on Whether the Character Is Racist

    Posted by on April 08, 2016



    For generations of Mexican-Americans few audiovisual icons can induce a more profound shudder than a little brown mouse known for crying “¡Ándale, ándale! ¡Arriba, arriba!” Officially introduced to American audiences in 1955, the sombrero-donning Speedy Gonzales quickly became a foundational character in the Warner Brothers cartoon repertory; but as we can expect from any mid-century American representation of a non-white “other,” the fast and witty Mexican rodent was a walking compendium of offensive stereotypes.

    Naturally though, that won’t stop Warner Brothers from bringing the world a 21st century update of the controversial cartoon icon, presumably with the well-meaning but naive intention of reaching out to Latino audiences. Signed on to voice the character is the motormouthed Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez, who recently rocked Mexican and American box offices with his 2013 hit Instructions Not Included. In an enthusiastic interview with Deadline, Derbez did unintentionally highlight some differences between Mexican-Americans, who often bristle under the caricatured representation, and the many Mexicans who revere the cartoon mouse as a national hero. “In Mexico we grew up watching Speedy Gonzales. He was like a superhero to us, or maybe more like a revolucionario like Simón Bolivar or Pancho Villa. He watched out for the little people but with a lot of bravado and a weakness for the ladies. I’m really excited to be bringing this character to the big screen.”

    Billed as an origin story, the project is still very early in its development phase, but we can certainly expect Warner Bros to tone down some of the character’s more offensive qualities and play up the heroic mouse’s resourcefulness and lightening-fast intelligence. Producer Dylan Sellers went so far as to suggest that the world “needs Speedy Gonzales” in a time where figures like Donald Trump are gaining momentum. Indeed, stereotypes aside, one need only look to animator Friz Freleng’s 1955 Oscar-winning animated short film where the Speedy Gonzales character premiered to appreciate some of Speedy’s more heroic qualities.

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  • Freeform and Selena Gomez are developing a “Latina Empire”

    Posted by on April 04, 2016

    By Sam Barsanti



    Though a lot of the hype from its first season has died down, Fox’s Empire is still a big-time hit. That means it’s overdue for other networks to swoop in and put their own spin on its music industry-themed soap opera setup, which is exactly what Freeform (née ABC Family) is doing now. According to Deadline, the teen-friendly network has teamed up with Selena Gomez and producer Aaron Kaplan to develop what they’re calling a “Latina Empire.” The drama series will be set “in a low income Latino neighborhood” and it will focus on “an 18-year-old girl destined for greatness,” which actually doesn’t sound anything like Empire.

    The show is also inspired by the story of a high school student named Ana Cobarrubias, who is working to “[make] a difference in her poor East L.A. neighborhood” and is doing her best to “defy society’s expectations for someone like her by being a strong and confident young woman.” Cobarrubias also “plans to pursue a career in cinematic arts” so she can tell stories about people like her, and she is a “consultant” on the project.


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  • Networks Challenge Netflix With New Binge-Streaming Strategy

    Posted by on April 01, 2016




    April 10 will be a big day for bingeing. All 13 episodes of Steven Soderbergh’s series “The Girlfriend Experience” will be available to stream that morning, as will all six episodes of Andrew Dice Clay’s new comedy “Dice.” But neither show will stream on Netflix, the company that made binge viewing a thing. “The Girlfriend Experience” will premiere on Starz, and “Dice” will bow on Showtime, dropping on their respective digital and on-demand platforms hours ahead of their cable-television debuts.

    Having watched subscription video-on-demand services generate massive buzz by delivering seasons of shows in toto, some television programmers have taken to binge releasing as a way to set their product apart in the too-much-TV era. And more are following suit.

    “Broadcast is starting to replicate SVOD, that’s for sure,” said TBS executive vice president of programming Brett Weitz.

    TBS made comedy “Angie Tribeca” available to stream when it premiered in January, part of a marketing offensive for the show that included a 25-hour marathon on the linear cable network. Parent company Turner Broadcasting had already experimented with binge releasing last year with TNT drama “Public Morals.” NBC did the same with summer drama “Aquarius.”

    According to Weitz, shifts in viewer habits have made such moves low-risk.

    “Those who consume on VOD and SVOD are a different consumer base than those who are going to consume things linearly,” he said.

    But results have been mixed. “Angie Tribeca” had already been picked up for a second season when it premiered. “Public Morals” had not, and was canceled after its first. The drama debuted
    to a decent 519,000 viewers 18-49 in Nielsen live-plus-seven numbers, but quickly fell off. The series finale drew fewer than half that number.

    More precipitous was the decline of “Aquarius.” The series bowed to 1.9 million viewers in the demo, but the finale drew only 490,000. NBC renewed “Aquarius” nonetheless, citing multiplatform success. But the network hasn’t made a decision regarding future release strategy.

    Ad-supported NBC and TNT can draw a straight line from bad ratings to low revenue; premium networks such as Showtime and Starz, not so much. Dependent on subscriber dollars only, the premium nets are emulating the streaming services in more than just scheduling strategy. In December, Starz announced a deal that allows Amazon Prime customers to subscribe to the network without a cable subscription. Showtime has similar deals with Amazon and Hulu. It makes sense for the premium cablers to deliver product to a growing base of paying
    customers, digital or otherwise.

    “Once you subscribe to Showtime, we’re happy to share our programming with you; that’s the beginning, middle and end,” said Showtime programming president Gary Levine. “Exactly what the timing is — exactly what device you watch it on — is practically irrelevant to us.”


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  • The Producers Guild of America Diversity Workshop Taking Submissions Now for the Twelfth Annual PGA Power of Diversity Producers Workshop

    Posted by on April 01, 2016


    Early Bird Discount through April 1
    Final Deadline
    April 17 6pm PST

    The PGA POWER of DIVERSITY PRODUCERS WORKSHOP helps foster producers and projects that advance diversity in film, television, documentary and new media. There are no barriers here; not for cultural background, creed, sexual orientation, physical ability, age or gender. In fact, we celebrate your unique voice!

     A very competitive 2-month summer program, it is FREE for those selected. This is producing training by some of the best producers in the world with personal mentorship from Producers Guild members. There are NO BARRIERS here, we define diversity as any under-served voices in media: all ethnicities, all religions, all ages, all genders, all sexual orientations, and all levels of ability. 

     Advance your project through master classes on the art and business of creative producing with renowned professionals in film, television and new media. You will be supported with one-on-one mentoring by PGA producers at our headquarters in Beverly Hills.

    Topics include: story development, pitching, packaging, financing, marketing, and new media opportunities. Every session will be tailored to our participants and their individual projects.

    The Intensive 8-Week Summer Workshop Covers: Motion Pictures TV Series Web Series Documentaries

    For more information and application, see



  • 5 Questions with Ángel Manuel Soto, the Director Taking Puerto Rican Cinema to New Heights

    Posted by on April 01, 2016


    In awarding La Granja (The Farm) with its award for Best First Latin American Film, the Guadalajara Film Festival praised NALIPster director Ángel Manuel Soto for offering a vision of Puerto Rico that remains all too unknown.This is not the tourist-ready Puerto Rico you know from postcards and beach resort ads. This is a bleak look at the island from a filmmaker intent on exposing the current problems that face Puerto Rico. Despite having been made over four years ago, it’s even more timely now given the escalating debt crisis which has led to close to one million people leaving the island to flee its economic downturn.

    A young boxer is used as a hitman. A middle-aged woman attempts to steal a baby. A fat kid in a bike is drug mule. In the world of La granja, Puerto Ricans are all at their wit’s end, forced to make drastic decisions to get by. Offering a gritty look at the island, with colorless buildings and clouded skies as its backdrop, Soto’s film is unflinching in its portrayal of a number of desperate characters. Even the opening sex scene, which is surprisingly candid and inviting, turns a darker not only when you see the girl shooting up, but when you realize it’s a sex tape in the making — a crucial plot point that’ll bring various strands of the film together.

    Check out some of the highlights below, including some real-talk on what he sees happening in his home turf.



     On Taking Inspiration From Amores Perros

    When I wanted to write this story, I’d been talking with Guillermo Arriaga. And the way he goes about this type of writing is very inspiring, especially given his subject matter. Every character is a mirror character of one self. So I thought there was a way that I could put that to work in La granja. I have a lot of feelings against the status quo in the island, and I kept wondering how to write this while being true to them. So that’s why I went in that Amores Perros-structure. To tell the story of La granja which represents the struggles of the Puerto Ricans’ heart and how they’re oppressed by the system.

    On Working With Child Actors On Those Gruesome Violent Scenes

    Well, we tried to make it fun. (Laughs) “You’re going to kill kids, let’s make it fun!” The boxer kid he’s a real boxer and right now 21 or 20. When we got him he was pretty young and we had to constantly make them feel like we weren’t taking it too seriously. I developed a relationship with them for months before we started shooting and after the casting period. I spent a lot of one-on-ones with them. And then, like the young kid being beat up: he was a natural! You could snap your fingers and tell him to cry and he’d do it. He really wanted to act. The same thing with the fat kid with the bike, he always wanted to be an actor but he never got cast because he was fat and this was his big break so they were all very grateful. The boxing kid the same thing, he was a little rising star and getting all this attention — he was very eager.


    On Painting A Bleak Portrait of Puerto Rico

    Getting it made was a challenge because of the budget. Getting it done at the time wasn’t as bad as one would expect. Because we went in naive and eager to make a film and every obstacle on our way we wanted to face it. Looking back, it wasn’t that different than the situation that we’re in; where we have to make stuff work with what we’ve got. It’s a very good representation of what’s going on with Puerto Rico right now. Making it back then, I guess, it wasn’t a problem even though the subject matter is anti-establishment. I had very good reception from the government at the time — it was only when the government changed that I got some push back from the Puerto Rican Film Commission. And I do believe it has to do with the current economic situation. At the same time, it portrays a Puerto Rico that is not that far away if we don’t take action. And you know, opening your eyes and realizing that you’re wounded is never nice. That’s what I hope to do, and that’s what La granja’s been doing whenever I show it. It opens a dialogue about what can be done to Puerto Rico to keep it from getting this way. And some people don’t want to hear that.


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  • Trailer: Netflix’s ‘Special Correspondents’ Stars Benjamin Bratt, America Ferrera & Raul Castillo

    Posted by · April 01, 2016




    Naturally, we were excited when we caught wind that Ricky Gervais was writing and directing a new original feature for Netflix. Maybe his previous cinematic endeavors hadn’t made a lot of noise (did you catch The Invention of Lying?), but the man virtually defined a generation of TV comedy when he created The Office with Stephen Merchant. To make things all the more intriguing, photos eventually started rolling out from the set showing Benjamin Bratt, America Ferrera, and Raúl Castillo all holding down principal roles on the film. Was this a dream? It’s as if Gervais had assembled the cast for a new Latino X-Men, or at the very least had acknowledge that nearly one in every five Americans is of Latin American extraction.

    Now, in the lead up to Special Correspondents’ Netflix premiere on April 29, we have a brand-new trailer to help us make sense out of all this. To start with, it seems Gervais has made some subtle tweaks to the original French film of the same name: both tell the story of a duo of radio correspondents sending out fake war dispatches from the comfort of a New York City basement, but Gervais’ version has one crucial difference in that the war zone was changed from Iraq to Ecuador. Wait, what?

    Sure, Ecuador has a history of political upheaval, and maybe el presidente Correa’s fallen on some tough times, but the South American country isn’t anywhere near a war zone. So why on earth would Gervais invent a war in Latin America when there are plenty of real ones going across on the world right now? I guess we can chock it up to artistic license and let it slide, but it’s hard not to roll your eyes when faced with images of armed “Ecuadorian guerrillas” running through the jungle with machine guns.


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  • BorderBall: From the Mexican League to MLB

    Posted by · April 01, 2016

    David González is a Mexican baseball agent who works tirelessly to bring Mexican baseball players to Major League Baseball. Two of his three sons play in the major leagues. In a quest to contribute and help young athletes, they’ve co-founded an agency to bring Mexican baseball players to MLB.This short documentary by Alan Domínguez brushes upon the fraudulent baseball contracts by Mexican baseball leagues and the court case that changed everything. - See more at:

    David González is a Mexican baseball agent who works tirelessly to bring Mexican baseball players to Major League Baseball. Two of his three sons play in the major leagues. In a quest to contribute and help young athletes, they’ve co-founded an agency to bring Mexican baseball players to MLB.

    This short documentary by Alan Domínguez brushes upon the fraudulent baseball contracts by Mexican baseball leagues and the court case that changed everything.


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