To Air On PBS’S Independent Lens on Tuesday, November 22ND at 10PM (CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS)

Funny, angry and profound, RACE IS THE PLACE is a one-hour visual and verbal riff on race in America from the point of view of a wide variety of artists, poets, rappers, performance artists and stand-up comedians. Featuring established artists as well as up and coming young talent who use language to get their message across, RACE IS THE PLACE is a one-hour jam that combines racially slanted clips from old Hollywood movies with interviews and performances that dare to examine the most emotionally explosive issue in American life. From a hilarious bit by comic Ahmed Ahmed on the joys of flying as an Arab-American to Danny Hoch’s biting monologue about a harrassed Bronx street vendor, to Hawaiian poet Haunani-Kay Trask’s angry meditation on American imperialism to Kate Rigg’s funny and explosive diatribe against the stereotyping of Asian women, RACE IS THE PLACE yanks off the muzzle of political correctness to speak the often ugly truths that lie beneath the rosy talk of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.” Produced by Raymond Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores (The Fight in the Fields), RACE IS THE PLACE will air nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens on Tuesday, November 22, 2005 at 10 PM (check local listings.)

RACE IS THE PLACE offers the perspectives of a wide group of artists from different backgrounds — Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and many with mixed backgrounds — on the often unspoken issue that has defined our country since its inception and continues to separate us. And, as RACE IS THE PLACE shows, racism and stereotypes are not just a white/non-white issue but pervade every ethnic and racial community as well. From Mayda del Valle, a Puerto Rican artist who questions her community’s denial of its African heritage, to the comedy troupe Culture Clash’s set about Asian-American homeboys who address each other with the “N” word, RACE IS THE PLACE busts stereotypes by using humor and poetry to say the things that are traditionally left unsaid.

In additional to the performers, RACE IS THE PLACE features the work of visual artists who also explore race, including Michael Ray Charles, Ben Sakoguchi, Enrique Chagoya, Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, and Paula de Joie. The original soundtrack was composed by Jon Jang and Wayne Wallace, and performed by them and a group of multicultural musicians.

RACE IS THE PLACE is a co-production of Paradigm Productions and KERA/Dallas Ft. Worth, in association with the Independent Television Service. It is a presentation of KERA, the Independent Television Service, Latino Public Broadcasting, Pacific Islanders in Communications, the National Asian American Telecommunications Association, Native American Public Telecommunications, and the National Black Programming Consortium. Major support for RACE IS THE PLACE is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support comes from the Akonadi Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the LEF Foundation, Kit Miller and the Nu Lambda Trust.

The RACE IS THE PLACE interactive companion website (www.pbs.org/independentlens/raceistheplace) features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.


Produced & Directed by:
Raymond Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores
Herb Ferrette, II
David Sarasti
Vicente Franco
Robert Shepard
Emiko Omori
Associate Producers
Rosalia Valencia and Monica Lam
Original Score
Wayne Wallace/Walaco Music, BMI
Jon Jang/Zhang Music, ASCAP

RACE IS THE PLACE – Participants, in Order of Appearance

James Baldwin – Novelist and essayist and author of Go Tell it on the Mountain and The Fire Next Time.

Amiri Baraka – Writer, activist and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

Kate Rigg – Canadian/Indonesian writer and performer who now lives in New York; tours comedy clubs and colleges with her show Kate’s Chink-O-Rama. Website: www.katerigg.com.

James Luna – Native American writer and performance artist from southern California; website at www.jamesluna.com.

iri Thomas – Puerto Rican/Cuban writer, poet and performer born and raised in NewYork; author of Down these Mean Streets and several volumes of poetry.

Danny Hoch – Writer, performer and founder of New York Hip Hop Festival; www.dannyhoch.com.

Raymond “Boots” Riley – Hip hop artist and poet who resides in Oakland California.

James Baldwin – Novelist and essayist and author of Go Tell it on the Mountain and The Fire Next Time.

Haunani-Kay Trask – Hawaiian poet, professor, documentarian and activist.

Ric Salinas – Salvadoran-born, San Francisco-raised member of the 15-year-old comedy troupe Culture Clash (www.cultureclash.com).

Herbert Siguenza – Member of Culture Clash raised in San Francisco and now residing in Los Angeles.

Richard Montoya – Sacramento born Chicano member of Culture Clash.

Andy Bumatai – Hawaiian-Philipino comedian and writer. Frequently performs on stage and television in Hawaii and the mainland; www.andybumatai.com.

Ahmed Ahmed – Egyptian born comedian now living in Los Angeles; winner of the Richard Pryor Award for Ethnic Comedy in 2004; www.ahmed-ahmed.com.

Beau Sia – Oklahoma-born Chinese American performer and writer; has appeared in Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.

Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero – Performer, writer and father of Chicano music.

Barry “Shabaka” Henley – Actor and writer of Jungle Bells; makes frequent appearances in film and on television and is currently starring in the Showtime series Barbershop.

Mayda del Valle – Puerto Rican poet raised in Chicago. Has appeared in Def Poetry Jam on Broadway and is the reigning National Poetry Slam Champion.



Raymond Telles (Producer/Director)
Raymond Telles’ twenty year career in film and television includes the production of numerous documentaries and news magazine segments. He has produced and directed for public television and the networks including ABC’s Turning Point and NBC’s Dateline. His independent productions include films for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Telles co-directed and produced THE FIGHT IN THE FIELDS, a feature documentary on Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers’ movement which was in documentary competition at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Telles has produced more than 30 documentaries including the PBS Frontline program Children of the Night which won a DuPont-Columbia Gold Baton Award as well as a number of other honors. He directed In Search of Law and Order, a three hour series on juvenile justice for PBS which was broadcast nationally in 1999. Telles recently produced Eye on the Universe for Discovery Networks International, Miracle Babies for MSNBC Investigates, and segments for Life 360 (PBS) and ABC’s Nightline.

Raymond Telles has won numerous awards including three Emmys, two PBS Programming Awards for News and Current Affairs, The Ohio State Award, an ALMA Award, a NATAS Community Service Award, top honors in the San Francisco, American Film and Video Association, Chicago and New York Film Festivals, the DuPont-Columbia Gold Baton, 2 Cine Golden Eagles, and many others. He has an MFA in film from UCLA and is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Telles is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Ethnic Studies.

Rick Tejada-Flores (Producer/Director)
Rick Tejada-Flores began working in television in 1969, in KQED’s newsroom. He went on to co-produce and co-direct Si Se Puede! (winner CINE Golden Eagle) for the UFW in 1973. He served as Coordinating Producer for the Latino Consortium at KCET in Los Angeles, where he packaged and distributed the weekly series Presente! to public television stations. He produced Low ‘N Slow, The Art of Lowriding for PBS in 1984. Latino poets were profiled in Go Chanting, Libre, produced for KRCB (PBS) in 1985. Farmworkers and land reform in Honduras were the focus of Elvia, The Fight for Land and Liberty, which aired in 1988 on PBS as part of the Vistas series. Rivera in America, a documentary on the work of the Mexican artist Diego Rivera in the United States, and Jasper Johns, Ideas in Paint, aired on the PBS series American Masters. Rivera in America won Best Film for TV in the National Latino Film and Video Festival.

Tejada-Flores created six interpretive films on New Mexico history and culture for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History. They were featured in the American Encounters exhibition. Tejada-Flores co-produced and co-directed THE FIGHT IN THE FIELDS, CESAR CHAVEZ AND THE FARMWORKER’S STRUGGLE, which aired on PBS in 1997, and THE GOOD WAR AND THOSE WHO REFUSED TO FIGHT IT, which aired on PBS in 2002.


A film festival in your living room, Independent Lens, is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. Hosted by Edie Falco, the acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of independent producers, which has prompted Television Week to call it “Entertaining as hell and better than any other documentary series around.”

Presented by ITVS, the series is supported by interactive companion websites and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People.


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