Los Angeles, CA (December 19, 2023) – Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) today announced the slate of projects selected for production funding in 2024. Included are two projects funded by the Current Issues Fund, which supports films that explore contemporary social justice issues and have the potential for civic dialogue beyond broadcast. The remaining projects are supported by LPB’s Public Media Content Fund, Digital Media Fund, and an additional project supported as part of PBS’s 2024 election programming.

“We’re delighted to announce the funding of this great lineup of projects,” says LPB Executive Director Sandie Viquez Pedlow. “From the Bronx to Hollywood, Colorado to Kentucky, Nebraska to Georgia, these new films spotlight the breadth of the Latino experience throughout the U.S., taking viewers to communities that have for too long flown under the media radar. We look forward to working with this talented group of filmmakers and bringing these unique stories to a wide audience on PBS.”

The awardees are:


Director: Raúl Paz-Pastrana; Producers: Gabriella García-Pardo, Patricia Alvarez Astacio
Funding: Post-Production
Backside intimately explores the daily life and expertise of the migrant workers behind the Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the world.

Producer/Director: William D. Caballero
Funding: Post-Production
After the death of his beloved grandmother, the director invites his grieving mother to join him in the creation of a series of animated shorts meant to honor their Puerto Rican family’s journey and highlight their unique views on life and loss while healing themselves in the process.

She Wrestles
Producer/Director: Charles Fairbanks; Producer: Lucila Moctezuma
Funding: Production
Women’s wrestling is now the fastest-growing high-school sport in the USA, and Latinas are joining in record numbers. Set in Nebraska, She Wrestles is about a sport, a movement, and a watershed moment of cultural change. It’s also about the changing face of rural America and how young women find meaning and make community as they navigate our complicated world.

Untitled Ricardo Montalban Project
Director: Hugo Perez; Producer: Joel M. Gonzales
Funding: Research and Development
A revealing portrait of Hollywood star Ricardo Montalban, who overcame decades of discrimination and racism on his road to becoming an icon. Typecast by MGM as a Latin lover and relegated to stereotypical roles, Montalban strove his entire career to increase positive Latino representation in Hollywood. Through his life, the film also tells the story of Latinos on screen from the 1940s until today — and the challenges that remain.


The Franchise
Producer/Director: Virgilio Bravo
Funding: Production
After serving 32 years in the New York state prison system, Alejo Rodriguez, a 56-year-old Latino of Afro-Cuban descent, sets out to uncover the complex financial connections between the South Bronx and the upstate New York townships in Orange County that house 54 of the state’s prisons.

Si Pudiera Quedarme/If I Could Stay
Co-Directors: Florencia Krochik & Theo Rigby
Funding: Post-Production
The film tells the inspiring story of two undocumented Latinx mothers who find sanctuary in Colorado churches to evade deportation and protect their families. Over five years, they face the constant threat of ICE raids while fighting for their legal status and inspiring allies in their predominantly white faith communities. Through an intimate lens, the film showcases the unwavering strength and sacrifice of these mothers, who risk everything to keep their families together in the country they call home.


Juan Po
Director: Maria Victoria Ponce
Funding: Digital Media
Inspired by his R&B idol and wanting to impress the teacher he is crushing on, 12-year-old Juan Po gets a DIY perm from his mother. Now he must survive an entire day at school with truly bad hair.

Juana Pelos
Director: Maria Mealla
Funding: Digital Media
It’s the first day of school and Juana is facing the worst peril of Latina puberty — she’s getting hairy.

La Orquesta
Co-Directors: Monica Villavicencio & Stephanie Liu
Funding: Digital Media
A sought-after music teacher and conductor, Juana Alzaga has led many school orchestras over her 40-year career, but this one is different. Most of her students’ families are immigrants from Central and South America who’ve made new homes just outside of Atlanta, along Buford Highway — Georgia’s most diverse corridor. For most, this is their only opportunity for music education.

What to Expect
Producer/Director: Gabriela Garcia Medina; Producer: Vicki Syal
Funding: Digital Media
An exhausted pair of first-time parents only have one dream: to sleep and bond with their newborn baby. But this desire is foiled by the unexpected intrusion of their loud and opinionated families, who show up and refuse to leave.


Latinos ‘24
Directed by: Bernardo Ruiz; Produced by Bernardo Ruiz and Andres Cediel
Funding: Production
Using an immersive documentary approach, Latinos ’24 delves into the 2024 presidential election through the eyes of Latino voters in key battleground states, emphasizing policy issues over political horse race coverage.

Each year LPB invites independent filmmakers to submit proposals for production and post-production support. Submissions are reviewed by LPB and a group of public media professionals, including journalists, independent filmmakers, and executives from national organizations. For more information, visit

Photos (clockwise from top left): They/Dream, The Franchise, Juana Pelos, Juan Po, What to Expect, Latinos ’24, Si Pudiera Quedarme/If I Could Stay, She Wrestles, Untitled Ricardo Montalban Project, Backside, La Orquesta.

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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