Latino Public Broadcasting Presents
Two New VOCES Documentary Specials This Fall on PBS
“Building the American Dream” Chronicles the Plight of Immigrant Construction Workers Fighting for Fair Working Conditions
“Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground”Follows Grassroots Activists and Political Operatives Working to Mobilize Latino Voters in the Coming Election
(LOS ANGELES, CA) — Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) today announced that VOCES, the acclaimed PBS documentary series exploring Latino arts, culture and history, will premiere two new films this fall on PBS. Premiering on Tuesday, September 15th is Chelsea Hernandez’s “Building the American Dream,” a look at immigrant construction workers in Texas fighting for justice in
an industry rife with exploitation. Premiering on Tuesday, October 6th is Bernardo Ruiz’s “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground,” which follows the high-stakes effort to mobilize the burgeoning Latino electorate in this year’s pivotal election. Part of the PBS election and democracy special programming premiering this fall, both films will be available on PBS, pbs.org and the PBS Video app.
“We’re proud to present these two timely documentaries in what has become a uniquely challenging year for the Latino community,” said Sandie Viquez Pedlow, executive director of LPB and executive producer of VOCES. “‘Building the American Dream’ shines a light on the important role Latinos play in essential jobs such as construction, but also reveals how immigrants often work in dangerous conditions and are denied benefits to which they are entitled. ‘Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground’ provides a fascinating, in-depth look at the lead up to the presidential election in battleground states around the country. With Latinos poised to be the largest non-white voting bloc in November, it’s more important than ever that the concerns of our community be a part of the national conversation.”
“As one of the nation’s most trusted sources for news and public affairs programming, PBS is pleased shine a light on the important role this community will play in our upcoming democratic process,” said Perry Simon, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming.
About the Films
“Building the American Dream,” produced and directed by Chelsea Hernandez and premiering on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings) takes viewers to Texas, the site of a massive construction boom. Its dirty secret: the abuse of immigrant labor. The film captures the rise of a workers’ movement fighting widespread construction industry injustices. Grieving their son, a Mexican family campaigns for a much-needed safety law that would allow workers 10-minute breaks for every four hours of labor, while a Salvadorian couple of skilled electricians owed thousands in back pay fights for their children’s future. A story of courage, resilience and community, the film reveals eye-opening truths about the hardworking immigrants who build our American Dream.
“Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground,” directed by Bernardo Ruiz, premieres Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings). In the upcoming presidential election, nowhere are the stakes higher for both political parties than in the nation’s swing states. There, community organizers, local activists and political operatives are targeting Latino voters, projected to be the largest eligible bloc of non-white voters this year. But operatives seeking to woo this diverse electorate using a “one size fits all” strategy do so at their own peril. Taking an immersive approach, Latino Vote delves into the campaigns in the battleground states of Nevada, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania to explore how Latino voters are poised to shape not only the upcoming election but the future of the country.
About the Filmmakers
Chelsea Hernandez (Producer/Director, “Building the American Dream”) is an Emmy® Award-winning Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas, named one of Texas Monthly’s “10 Filmmakers on the Rise.” Chelsea began her career in media at the ripe age of nine, hosting and co-producing a local children’s educational TV program with her mother. Chelsea received a B.S. from the University of Texas, the first in her Latino family to earn a college degree. She began her documentary career right out of college, as associate producer and assistant editor of the national PBS special, Fixing the Future, hosted by David Brancaccio and directed by Ellen Spiro, and the national six-part series Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine directed by Hector Galán. From 2013 to 2016, Chelsea was the primary editor and co-producer of Arts in Context, a documentary series produced at KLRU-TV and distributed by NETA. Chelsea has directed and produced various documentary films including See the Dirt (Austin Film Festival Short Documentary Winner) and most recently, An Uncertain Future (SXSW Texas Jury Winner, AspenShorts Youth Jury Winner, CineFestival Short Winner). Chelsea is a NALIP Latino Media Market fellow, Firelight Media Doc Lab Fellow, Tribeca Storylab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Recipient, BAVC National Mediamaker Fellow and UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Workshop Fellow.
Bernardo Ruiz (Producer/Director, “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground”) is a two-time Emmy® Award-nominated documentary filmmaker and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He has directed and produced four feature documentaries and a host of nonfiction programming for a variety of outlets including PBS, HBO, ESPN and Facebook Watch. His feature credits as director include: The Infinite Race (ESPN’s 30 for 30, 2020), Harvest Season (Independent Lens, 2019),
Kingdom of Shadows (Participant Media, 2015) and Reportero (POV, 2013). In the fall of 2015, Ruiz was a filmmaker in residence at the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Previously he created and executive produced the two part bilingual PBS series, The Graduates/Los Graduados (Independent Lens, 2013). Edutopia called it “a winner that should be seen by as many students, teachers and parents as possible.”
“Building the American Dream” is a production of Panda Bear Films in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. Major funding was provided by the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Firelight Media, Seed & Spark, Adaptive Studios, City of Austin, BAVC National Mediamaker Program, Austin Film Society, Marcy Garriott, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is a presentation of Austin PBS.
Major funding for“Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground” was provided by the Ford Foundation; PBS; ITVS, the leading documentary co-producer and distributor for public media; and Latino Public Broadcasting, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.