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Archive for the ‘Cinema’ Category


Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated teens convicted of rape in the Central Park jogger case, talks about life after prison and about watching himself on screen in the film The Central Park Five.

Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of Maysles Institute.

Yusef Salaam was born and raised in New York City. He attended Public School 83, Manhattan East, The Arts Student League of New York and studied art at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and jewelry making at the Fashion Institute of Technology. On April 19, 1989, at just 15 years of age, he learned that he, along with other young boys were being falsely arrested for rape. Yusef Salaam served approximately 7 years of his life in prison along with 3 years on parole. Now a proud father, Yusef advocates for education, the need for videotaping of all police interrogations, for policy change in the child welfare system & the prison industrial complex, the effects of the disenfranchisement of poor people and its overwhelming effects on their families and the entire community at large. He sits on the Board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the advisory Board for The Learn My History Foundation: dedicated to Youth Empowerment, Education and Change, and is the inspiration behind People United for Children.


Why do immigrants come to the United States? Most people’s first thoughts involve economic reasons for a better life. But there is more to it than that. Harvest of Empire, a book by Juan Gonzalez that has been turned into a documentary, addresses the military, political and economic interventions that have spurred immigrants to look to life in the U.S. We speak to co-producer Wendy Thompson Marquez for an overview of the documentary.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Here is the full documentary, Harvest of Empire.

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Ms. Wendy Thompson-Marquez, is the President and CEO of the Onyx Media Group and EVS communications, Inc. Prior to joining EVS and the Onyx Media Group, she was the Vice President of ZGS Broadcast Holdings, a minority-owned communications company where she supervised the daily operations and advertising sales of eleven Telemundo network affiliates.
In 2004, she was honored by the National Conference for Community and Justice with the Media and Community Service Award. She has been featured in numerous newspaper and trade publications, including the Washington Business Journal, and has made several appearances on television and radio stations throughout the country. In addition, she is actively involved with a number of academic institutions in the Washington, D.C. area that have invited her to speak at student and faculty conferences, including Montgomery College, where she was the 2002 commencement speaker.

She is currently a board member of Latino Public broadcasting, the Washington Performing Arts Society and the Community Foundation in D.C. she is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (2000), and Leadership Washington (2001).


Mexican American women train to compete in Mexico’s Charro contest, raw poetry emerges from the Brooklyn projects, modernist architecture in Cuba, and an inside look at the masked men of Mexico’s Lucha Libre. These are documentary subjects on VOCES, a Latino arts and documentary showcase on public television. We speak to Sandie Pedlow, executive director of Latino Public Broadcasting.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Sandie Viquez Pedlow is the Executive Director of Latino Public broadcasting overseeing the development, production, and distribution of public media content that is representative of Latino people or address issues concerning Latino Americans. She brings to this position over 20 years experience in program development, production, and the development of international public media initiatives. Most recently she was Director, Station Relations for PBS Education where she led the implementation and marketing of PBS online and digital media products and services. Prior to PBS, Pedlow was Director of Programming Strategies, Associate Director of Cultural, Drama and Arts Programming, and Senior Program Officer with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for 10 years. She managed the development and funding of national public broadcasting programs which addressed social and diversity issues, history, the arts and many aspects of American culture. Pedlow was a key member of the CPB team that managed the founding of LPB. Prior to this work, Pedlow developed and produced documentaries, cultural/arts television programs for SCETV and was the U.S. National Coordinator for INPUT, an international public television conference with more than 35 participating

Born in East L.A, 25 Years Later

The iconic cult classic Born in East LA turns 25 this month. This film brought issues of Latino identity and immigration to the big screen with a sense of humor. Latino USA Producer Nadia Reiman explores the movie’s impact.

Click here to download this week’s show. To read more about Prof. Rosa Linda Fregoso’s work, click here. To check out what filmmaker Jim Mendiola is up to, click here.

Nadia Reiman has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the Latino USA team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps for almost five years, and her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody. She has also mixed audio for animations, assisted on podcasts for magazines, and program managed translations for Canon Latin America. Nadia has also produced for on None on Record editing and mixing stories of queer Africans, and worked on a Spanish language radio show called Epicentro based out of Washington DC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in International Studies and Spanish Literature.


More films by Mexican and Mexican-American filmmakers are exploring the social and cultural changes brought about by drug cartels in Mexico. We speak about “Reportero” and “El Velador,” two new documentaries that are part of this trend, with Carlos Gutierrez, co-founder and director of Cinema Tropical, an organization dedicated to promoting and programming new Latin American film.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Slant Magazine.

Bernardo Ruiz’s “Reportero” will have its New York premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on June 21.

Natalia Almada’s “El Velador/The Night Watchman” will be screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art June 14 through 20.

Co-founder and Executive Director. Carlos A. Gutiérrez is a film/video programmer, cultural promoter and arts consultant based in New York City. As a guest curator, he has presented several film/video series at different cultural institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, BAMcinématek, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA) and Museo Rufino Tamayo (Mexico City). He is a contributing editor to BOMB magazine and has served as a member of the jury and the selection committees for various film festivals including the Morelia Film Festival, SANFIC – Santiago Film Festival, The Hamptons International Film Festival, The Asian American International Film Festival and New Fest: The New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, among others. Photo courtesy of El Financiero. 

Gael García Bernal

Gael García Bernal is one of Mexico’s biggest Hollywood exports — known for such films as Babel, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Y Tu Mama Tambien. His box-office and critical success has allowed him to pick his share of projects. It’s a luxury he uses wisely. With a passion for social and political justice, Gael raises awareness about human rights issues in his work behind the camera as a producer and director. Now he takes a closer look at the violence now plaguing his native Mexico in his latest film, Miss Bala.

Maria Hinojosa sits down Garcia Bernal to talk about his career and recent work in Washington DC, where he was awarded the 2011 Human Rights Award for his work on telling “Migration and Development: Stories that make a difference” by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA.)

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

The Latino List: Behind The Scenes

In time for Hispanic Heritage month, HBO’s documentary The Latino List offers an illuminating glimpse into the richness and diversity of the Latino life in the United States. Interviewed by Latino USA’s own Maria Hinojosa, along with Sandra Guzman, it features highly personal video portraits of accomplished and influential Latinos from the worlds of culture, politics, business, and sports – including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Eva Longoria, Pitbull, and more.

This week on Latino USA, Maria takes us behind the scenes of The Latino List with executive producers Catherine Pino and Ingrid Duran to talk about the inspiration of this ground-breaking documentary.

HBO’s Latino List is directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, the acclaimed photographer and director of the three editions of HBO’s Black List. The Latino List premiers on Sept. 28th at 9pm on HBO Latino and Sept. 29th at 8pm on HBO.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Jimmy Smits

Jimmy Smits is a Broadway, TV and Movie actor, an Emmy-award winner, an Activist, a father and an “Aspirante.” This last title comes from “ASPIRA,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to Latino Youth founded by Dr. Antonia Pantoja and a group of Puerto Rican community leaders in 1961. The organization has helped over half a million young Latinos, also known as Aspirantes, with career and college counseling, financial aid and other assistance.  Currently 95% of them graduate high school and 92% continue on to college.

Last week ASPIRA celebrated its 50th Anniversary and honored some if its most successful Aspirantes, including Jimmy Smits who was recognized for his on and off screen accomplishments. Smits was born in Brooklyn, NY, moved to Puerto Rico when he was nine and lived there for a few years, became a father at the age of 18 but continued pursuing his dreams and got his Master’s degree from Cornell. Today he is one of the most recognized Latino actors and is a co-founder of another organization dedicated to help Latino youth follow their dreams — the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA). Maria Hinojosa sat down with Smits to talk about his career, his activism and how ASPIRA has touched his life.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

John Leguizamo, The Ghetto Klown

John Leguizamo is one of the most recognizable Latino Actors in American movies. But making it big in Hollywood didn’t come easily, especially for an immigrant kid from Queens. He says he always felt like an outsider but he was determined to make his mark and found humor was a strong unifying force that helped him bridge cultures.

To break out of the stereotypical roles he was often offered as a Latino, over the years he created a series of one-man shows on and off-Broadway — shows that have won him Emmy and Obie awards. In his latest one-man show Ghetto Klown, Leguizamo candidly reveals his rocky career path, and the personal toll it has taken.

Told with a lot of humor and great energy, Leguizamo bears his soul on stage and takes the audience on the very personal and revealing journey of his life and career. Maria Hinojosa sat down with Leguizamo to talk about his play, his life and the risks he’s taken revealing the contours of his life, live, on stage.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

John Leguizamo’s GHETTO KLOWN is directed by Academy Award Winner Fisher Stevens and is presented by WestBeth Entertainment, Daveed D. Frazier and Nelle Nugent. Effective May 16, Ghetto Klown will play Monday – Saturday at the Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street) with extended performances through July 10. For detailed information and tickets, visit the official show website and watch selected clips below.

Agustin Lara

Agustin Lara’s musical career started in his early childhood and it turned him into one of Mexico’s greatest legends.  He composed over 400 songs that have been recorded by world-renowned artists, ranging from Andrea Bocelli to Nat “King” Cole.  Best known for his passionate boleros, Lara also created rancheras, fox trots, waltzes, tangos, paso dobles, and even an operetta.  In the 30’s he became a major contributor to a new, yet flourishing Mexican film industry –  and he composed music for Santa, one of Mexico’s first films with sound.

There are many stories behind his music. Producer Angelica Luevano is in search of what made Lara one of the most influential musical personalities of Mexico.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Agustin Lara performs the soundtrack of the film classic María Bonita

Listen to one of Agustin Lara’s biggest hits, Veracruz

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.


Lola Beltran

For many Americans, the name Lola Beltran, brings to mind the title track of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 hit film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  But Lola Beltran is much larger than one song or one film. One of the the most popular Ranchera artists in Mexico, she was known as Lola La Grande, “Lola the Great.”  Throughout her career she has starred in a number of films, musicals, a telenovela, and performed in front of numerous world leaders.

Alex Avila profiles the life and career of the Great Lola Beltran.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Latino Media Today

On this week’s program, we look at Latinos and the media: particularly, television. The Latino audience is a force to be reckoned with in the United States. Content produced for Latinos, both in Spanish and in English, is widespread–and hugely profitable. Recently, the Nielsen company reported that Univision is the most popular television network — that’s any network — for viewers 18-49 years old.

The programming on Univision runs the gamut from the serious, to the sensual, to the silly: Noticiero Univision, the network’s evening newscast, airs weeknights with anchor Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. The network’s telenovelas include Soy tu dueña and Eva Luna, among many others. And no Saturday evening would be complete without an appearance by the master showman Don Francisco, longtime host of Sábado Gigante.

To examine the role that Latinos play in the media, and how the media has a role in communities throughout the United States and Latin America, we turn first to the University of Texas at Austin’s America Rodriguez.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Another perspective on Latinos and television comes from Flavio Morales at Mun2 [pronounced: mun-dos]. It is a hugely popular music and entertainment channel aimed at young Latinos. One of the most interesting things about the channel is that its hosts are continuously engaged in a complicated dance of code-switching, bouncing back and forth between English and Spanish within a single sentence. The rapid-fire Spanglish, and the channel’s tone and content, mirror the interests and behaviors of young Latinos.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

9500 Liberty

Maria talks with filmmaker Eric Byler about the documentary “9500 LIBERTY,” which he made with Annabel Park. It chronicles the public discussion, passage, and eventual repeal of an anti-immigrant measure in Prince William County, Virginia.

Byler describes the role of FAIR — the Federation for American Immigration Reform — in the anti-immigrant legislative efforts popping up around the country, including Arizona. FAIR, founded by John Tanton and directed by Dan Stein, is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “Teflon Nativist Hate Group.”

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

The innovative film began with an interactive YouTube channel online. You can still watch many of the scenes which would eventually become the final documentary.

State legislators across the country have announced plans to introduce bills similar to Arizona’s SB-1070. Already, in just the first quarter of 2010, legislatures in 45 states have considered bills and resolutions dealing with immigration. The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking the movement.

La Mission

Benjamin and Peter Bratt tackle homophobia and violence in the town where they grew up.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

‘Avatar’ and Native-American Themes

Earlier this month, Avatar, the big-budget science fiction space adventure film was nominated for nine Academy Awards. Just a few days later, it became the highest crossing movie of all time. Worldwide receipts for the film are now approaching $2 billion. And the film has been hailed as a critical as well as popular success.

But for many Avatar opens a discussion on Native-American themes as well as issues of historic colonialism. The film’s male lead, Jake Sculley played by Sam Worthington, is compared to a messianic figure. The movie’s female lead, a Na’vi named Neytiri played by Zoë Saldaña, is seen as a Pocahontas figure.

And the native connections of the Na’vi to their indigenous environment have focused on Native-American issues of colonialism, conquest, and cultural preservation.

To explore these issues more closely Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa speaks with Native-American and Latina writers.

Kara Briggs is a Yakama and Snohomish Journalist and editor of the book Shoot The Indian: Media Misperception And Native Truth.Angela Valenzuela is an education professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of several books and articles about Latinos, Latinas and education.

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.


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