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Awards Go to 11 Projects for Research and Development, Production and New Media

Los Angeles, CA (December 17, 2015) – Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), a non-profit organization funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, announces eleven newly funded programs as part of its 2015 Public Media Content Fund. The initiative invites independent producers to submit proposals on Latino-themed programs or series for funding consideration.

“LPB works with filmmakers across the country to develop and fund programs that contribute to a better understanding of the Latino experience.  We are extremely pleased with the diversity of stories represented in this new slate of programs, and look forward to working with the filmmakers to bring these documentaries to PBS,” said Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Executive Director, Latino Public Broadcasting.

Every year LPB invites independent filmmakers to submit proposals in various stages, from research and development, to production, post-production and new media. All proposals are reviewed by a group of public media professionals, station programmers, independent filmmakers, academics, and executives from funding organizations.

This year, eleven projects were selected for funding. Emerging filmmakers comprise 37% of total funded producers; mid-level producers make up 21%; veteran filmmakers constitute 42%; and 68% of the funded producers are women. The funding breakdown per category is as follows: 36% post-production; 27% production; 10% R&D and 27% new media. The final slate of programs represents filmmakers from different regions within the U.S.

The 2015 awarded projects (alphabetically) are as follows:

Research and Development

Salvadoran American Civil Rights Documentary Project
Director/Producer: Nina Alvarez, Zócalo Media
1 Episode/60 Minutes

In the 1980s, Salvadoran refugees fled from repressive military regimes and death squads in El Salvador and sought asylum in the United States. However, unlike refugees from other countries, many Salvadoran refugees were denied asylum and were placed in detention centers suffering civil rights abuses in the country they hoped would be their adopted home. This documentary will explore an unknown chapter in American civil rights history told through two landmark lawsuits against the U.S. federal government, Orantes v. Smith and American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh which resulted in sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy


500 Years
Director: Pamela Yates, Producer: Paco de Onis, Skylight Pictures
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

A Mayan nonviolent resistance movement to protect ancestral lands in Guatemala is galvanized by the first trial in the history of the Americas to judge the genocide of indigenous peoples. Will this be a tipping point for Mayan survivors of genocide in their struggle to overcome Guatemala’s powerful elite and win the battle for their country’s soul and destiny?

Beyond La Bamba
Co-Producers/Directors: Marco Villalobos, Daffodil Altan, Flywitness Films
Category: Post-production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Through the compelling story of two young musicians who leave home to follow their dreams, Mexico’s 300-year-old son jarocho tradition comes vividly to life in Beyond La Bamba. From the rural roots of Veracruz to the urban rhythms of the Midwest, these musicians will forge new lives but remain true to their music.

Coming Out of the Dark: The Times of Gloria Estefan (w.t.)
Director/Co-Executive Producer: Soledad O’Brien, Starfish Media Group
Co-Executive Producer: Rose Marie Arce
Producer: John J. Valadez
Category: Production: 1 Episode/60 Minutes

This documentary explores the extraordinary life and music of Gloria Estefan, from a refugee fleeing communist Cuba to her extraordinary rise to the top of the pop charts. Through her journey, Estefan re-defined American popular music, and opened the way for a new generation of artists.

Empowering the People: The Willie Velasquez Story (w.t)
Director/Producer: Hector Galán, Galán Productions, Inc.
Category: Production; 1 Episode 60 Minutes

Through Willie Velasquez’s journey from radical student activist to respected statesman, this documentary will examine the history of the Latino vote, the barriers Latinos had to overcome to obtain representation, the contemporary issues facing Latinos today and the role of the Latino vote in the upcoming 2016 election.

Lezama: Una Sensible Pérdida (w.t.)
Director/Producer: Adriana Bosch, Bosch and Company, Inc
Category: Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Lezama: Una Sensible Pérdida (w.t.) explores the relationship between intellectuals and the Cuban revolution during the years 1961 and 1976 through the experience of writer José Lezama Lima, author of the controversial homoerotic novel, Paradiso.

Memories of a Penitent Heart
Director/Co-Producer: Cecilia Aldarondo
Producer: Patricia Benabe
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Memories of a Penitent Heart follows a filmmaker’s journey of discovering the truth about her uncle’s life 25 years after his death from AIDS as told through the contradictions of family members, open secrets, and shifting memories. Her investigation uncovers his life as a gay man in New York City, unacceptance of his lifestyle by his mother in Puerto Rico, and the struggle for legitimacy in a religious Latino family.

Project Grit (w.t.)
Executive Producer: Sharon Tiller, The Center for Investigative Reporting
Director/Producer: Katie Galloway
Co-Director: Kelly Duane de la Vega
Co-Director: Dawn Valadez
Category: Post-Production; 1 Episode/60 Minutes

Project Grit tells the story of celebrated professor Victor Rios, a Mexican immigrant, once gang affiliated teen, who radically changes his life with the help of his mentor Martin Flores. The film weaves together compelling twenty-year-old archival footage of Victor and his mentor Martin with compelling contemporary footage of the two men today, as they work together to change the lives of other students on the margins of failure. Referred to as push-outs”, these students have been suspended or expelled from school and, unfortunately, some are ultimately pushed into the criminal justice system.

New Media

Caracol Crusando
Director/Producer: Pamela Chavez
1 Episode/ 14 Minutes

Caracol Crusando is an animated film about a Costa Rican-American girl, Anais, whose journey across the US/Mexican border with her pet turtle reveals the true risk of immigration for her undocumented family.

Millennials in Miniature: The Latino Americans of New York City
Director/Producer: William D. Caballero
10 Episodes/1 Minute

Through the art of 3D printing and miniature reenactments, this video series explores the creative process amongst ten innovative and unique Latino filmmakers, artists, musicians, poets, and dancers.

Director/Producer: Carlos Avila, Echo Park Films, Inc
1 Episode/ 18 Minutes

Unaccompanied is a short drama that centers around the 2014 crisis of ‘unaccompanied juveniles’ entering the United States. The heart of this story is the impact that one of these juveniles has on a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition, and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Latino Public Broadcasting produces the series VOCES, PBS’s signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national public television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. Between 2009 and 2014, LPB programs won 85 awards, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award as well as two Emmys, two Imagen Awards, and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries.

Luis Ortiz, Managing Director
Latino Public Broadcasting
luis.ortiz@lpbp.org5356 Views

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About Us
Latino Public Broadcasting is the leader of the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. LPB provides a voice to the diverse Latino community on public media throughout the United States. Latino Public Broadcasting is a registered 501(c)(3), EIN: 95-4776447.
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