Partner News 2/4/21

Posted by on February 11, 2021

Check out our Partner news 2/4/21!


Awards go to 14 Film and Digital Media Projects that Tell Powerful, Up-to-the-Minute Stories Reflecting the Rich Diversity of the Latinx Experience

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) announced its latest funding recipients, including three projects funded through the Current Issues Content Fund, made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The remaining eleven projects were funded through LPB's 2020 Public Media Content Fund.

This year's awardees tell particularly timely stories, from North Carolina to Texas to California from Puerto Rico to Mexico to Venezuela, and many reflect the enormous impact that the past year has had on the Latino community. From the COVID-19 pandemic to a renewed focus on the devastation wrought by poverty and inequality, these films offer an on-the-ground look at the diversity of experience of Latinos here and abroad.

Below is a list of awarded projects from NALIP’s Fellows :

Broadcast Projects

Director/Producer: Leandro Fabrizi Rios
Producer: Neyda Martínez
Funding: Current Issues Fund
Tucked into the rural coffee-growing mountainside of remote western Puerto Rico is a tiny hamlet, Bartolo. It is home to an isolated agricultural community of just 12 families, landless and chronically impoverished, and longing for a new start following Hurricane Maria. The community seizes on a chance for a new beginning when a veteran organizer from outside of Bartolo comes to town with a radical new plan.


Lo Que Dejamos Atras (What We Leave Behind)

Director/Producer: Iliana Sosa

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

For as long as she can remember, filmmaker Sosa's grandfather Julián has traveled from his home in Durango, Mexico, to El Paso once a month to visit her and her mother. Now 89 and unable to make the journey, he begins building a new house in his rural Mexican hometown, where he lives with his blind son Jorge. The film follows Julián in the twilight of his life, as his granddaughter pieces together how their family has built and rebuilt home over decades of separation.


Los Desobedientes

Director: Rodrigo Dorfman

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

After 20 years of living in the U.S., an undocumented family decides to return home. Little do they know it will be the most difficult journey of their lives. Set between the rodeo rings of eastern North Carolina and the spellbinding Mexican hometown they long for, Los Desobedientes (The Disobedient Ones) is a story of reverse migration, rebellion and redemption.


Exodus Stories: Voices from the Caravan

Director/Producer: Ilse Fernandez

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

Escape, journey, hope. A dangerous 2,600-mile mass exodus to a promised land where a border separates a Central American nightmare from the American dream. Through intimate access, this powerful documentary follows three immigrants fleeing threats and violence as they journey on the Migrant Caravan through Mexico to an uncertain wait at the U.S. border to seek refuge. Amid anti-immigrant rhetoric, each must face their most decisive battle yet: staking their claim for asylum during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Paquito d'Rivera: From Carne y Frijol to Carnegie Hall

Director/Producer: Juan Mandelbaum

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

Research and Development for the story of jazz legend Paquito d'Rivera's extraordinary journey from child prodigy in Havana, Cuba to 14-time Grammy winner international music artist and composer.


Digital Media


El Paisa

Director/Producer: Daniel Eduvijes Carrera/Co-producer: Jana Diaz-Juhl

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

This short narrative comedy follows Queer skater punk Fernando, who undergoes an empowering transformation after his encounter with a charming vaquero on the streets of East Los Angeles.


Mi Casa

Director/Producer: Esau Melendez

Producer: Mario Contreras

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

Descendants of the first Mexican immigrants in Aurora, Illinois, who came in the early 20th century to build new lives as railroad workers in nearby Chicago, recall their family stories about the boxcar communities in which they lived and thrived.


My Queerceañera

Director/Producer: Marcos Nieves

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

Upon turning 50 years old, Karyna, a transgender immigrant from Mexico living in Arizona, is determined to fulfill her lifelong dream of celebrating her Quinceañera even if her family and society do not fully accept her.


The Next Message

Directors/Producers: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Mustafa Davis

Funding: Public Media Content Fund

Set during the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 and police violence, The Next Message explores the complex and compelling unfolding story of the Latinx/African American Abdul-Shakur family, featured in the 2017 PBS special The Talk. Four years later, the family cares for their loved ones and their larger communities in a time of unprecedented crises and opportunities for change.


To see the full list  Film and Digital Media Projects Awardees read here 

Comcast Launches ‘Black Experience’ on Xfinity, Endorsed by African American Film Critics Association

Courtesy of Comcast/Sony Pictures Entertainment 

Comcast launched ‘Black Experience’ on Xfinity, a new destination with black content endorsed by the African Film Critics Association. This content is available to customers on Xfinity X1, Flex, and Stream App at no additional cost. The ‘Black Experience’ content hub includes more than 100 titles and counting. Additionally, this hub will feature new content by up and coming Black creators. Read more about the new ‘Black Experience’ programming here


Univision Acquires VIX, Will Combine Free Streamer With PrendeTV in U.S.

Courtesy of Variety 

Univision Communications acquired VIX, a streaming service with 20,000-plus hours of free Spanish-language film and TV programming. Univision is planning to combine VIX with PrendeTV in the U.S. aiming to offer over 30,000 hours of content to streaming audiences. Univision’s acquisition of VIX is set to bring “immediate scale and momentum” to the PrendeTV partnership. Read more about these initiatives here


Netflix Dominates Golden Globes as ‘Mank’ and ‘The Crown’ Each Lead With Six Nominations

Courtesy of Netflix 

Streaming services have dominated the 78th Golden Globe Awards nominations indicating a power shift in Hollywood and setting the top players as digital upstarts. This shift has been accelerated during the global pandemic as theaters have remained closed. The leading player of this change is Netflix, acquiring 42 nominations across the film and television categories. Amazon Studios is also a contender with 10 nominations. Read more about this power shift and the Golden Globe nominations here.


Calling all Black writers for a 10-week paid summer internship!

DIVERSO has partnered with RIDEBACK (Aladdin, It, The LEGO Movies) and THE WRITERS GUILD FOUNDATION, to create Black Writers in Focus: a paid internship program for Black student screenwriters.

Vetted by a rigorous committee of all Black readers, four talented students will spend ten weeks over the summer fine-tuning a writing sample with a personalized mentor, attending panels and classes with industry leaders, and learning from the best by shadowing in a writers' room.

Selected students will receive a $5,000 stipend to support a part-time commitment over 10 weeks. Interns are expected to make a 20-hour commitment each week. The internship program will be hosted virtually over the summer (June 7th - August 16th).


WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff Acknowledges ‘I May Destroy You,’ ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Globes Snubs

Courtesy of Variety 

Ann Sarnoff, the head of WarnerMedia’s studios and networks, congratulated the company’s staff on their 15 Golden Globe nominations, while also arguing in a memo that more needs to be done to promote and celebrate stories from underrepresented artists.

The WarnerMedia executive made a point of noting that several of the company’s shows from Black artists were either ignored by Globes voters or shut out of key categories.

“We honor the casts of ‘Judas and the Black Messiah,’ ‘I May Destroy You’ and ‘Lovecraft Country’ for their incomparable individual and ensemble performances this past year,” Sarnoff wrote. To read more about Ann Sarnoff’s acknowledgement you can visit here


 Sundance 2021 Proved That a Virtual Film Festival Can Be Real

Courtesy of IndieWire

The Sundance Film Festival always has a few surprises in store. This year, they didn’t come from record-breaking deals or overnight talent discoveries. All of that happened, but the surprise of Sundance 2021 was that it worked so well. The virtual festival also represented an opportunity. Sundance has long endured its own existential crisis: Attendance is cost prohibitive, which opposes pressure to expand its audience base, while the mayhem of parties and Main Street activations threaten to overwhelm the impact of the movies themselves.


This year, Sundance was forced to go back to its roots with a lineup built around discovery titles, It also benefited from technological developments including consumer-friendly VOD strategy and social opportunities in the virtual realm. Read more about the Sundance Film Festival here


PBS Wants to Diversify Storytelling and Issues an Open Call for Submissions

PBS, already known for its incisive examinations of current events, has been knee-deep in conversations on how to make the network even more reflective of the times. “We are at such an extraordinary moment in this country,” said Sylvia Bugg, Chief Programming Executive for PBS, during the network’s Winter Press Tour TCA panel on Tuesday. In terms of upcoming programming, PBS is looking at a range of different topics — from the climate to democracy — and, most importantly, they’re hoping to expand out to more diverse storytellers.

PBS announced an open call for submissions for long and short-form films by content creators. According to the network: “This initiative will further amplify the voices of diverse/BIPOC producers across public media, inviting submissions that explore a broad range of experiences, perspectives, and points of view.” The network will be launching a call on March 1st for the “next generation of filmmakers,” with top contenders receiving funding by PBS and having their work featured on PBS’ platform. More information can be found on next month. Read more about PBS here