I have to admit I knew nothing of Hispanicize up until a couple months ago. Curious, I went on the website and I found the lingo a tad superfluous and hyperbolic. Words like iconic and mighty are used to describe the young but clearly flourishing event. Then again, this kind of grandiose speak is typical Public Relations so it makes sense given it is a partnership with Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
I reached out to the founder Manny Ruiz to find out more about the mission of the event and found his enthusiasm and excitement for what he considers a pioneering movement infectious. It’s hard to argue that this mass tech and entertainment crossroads gathering makes for an incredible networking opportunity. Ruiz called it a “Uniting of these industries to create a symphony” and went on to note it is much more powerful for bloggers to converge at the same place with journalists, marketers, digital, music and film innovators then if you had them out there individually and remotely. Before I knew it I was put in touch with with Roman Morales, the Film Showcase Organizer and I came onboard as Programmer for the film component. A big reason I stepped in was because I was particularly attracted to presenting US independent Latino films to an audience heavy with social media influence and bloggers, to see if it would indeed create a higher level of buzz, publicity and exposure from the community.
Along with a special screening of Filly Brown days before its national theatrical release, this year Hispanicize will screen six features including the high profile sneak preview of The Weinstein Company’s Aftershock, the horror comedy produced and starring Eli Roth, directed by Chilean filmmaker Nicolas Lopez (Que Pena tu Vida, Promedio Rojo). Also, straight from SXSW the music industry and character-driven documentary Los Wild Ones about the Wild Records label and family of Mexican rockabilly acts. With the exception of Aftershock, all the films reflect a taste of the diaspora of unique, bi-cultural US narratives, and notably are all first features. Three of the films, Blaze You Out, Filly Brown and Mission Park are being distributed by Lionsgate labels Pantelion and Grindstone Entertainment. Meanwhile, seeking distribution is Dreamer written and directed by Salvador born Jesse Salmeron, a poignant and timely story starring and produced by Jeremy Ray Valdez about an upwardly mobile American whose paralyzed by the fear of being deported. Los Wild Ones is also seeking distribution and should find considerable traction within and outside hard core music fan circles.
My personal pride and joy however has to be the shorts film showcase. Portraying visionary quests for identity, love, truth and legacy and created by multicultural emergent voices from San Antonio, Miami, LA, NYC, Oaxaca and Puerto Rico. This is the medium in which to find provocative, daring and versatile young generation of fresh voices who you can expect will blow up big soon. To name just a few, the filmmakers include Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva of the Borscht corporation, Zoé Salicrup Junco, the filmmaker of Gabi who workshopped her feature script of the short at San Antonio’s CineFestival’s Latino Screenwriters Project, Victor Hugo Duran the Colombia Film grad whose short, Fireworks played at the LA Film Festival last year and is currently shooting his first feature in Mexico called La Victoria, and Steve Acevedo, the director of El Cocodrilo which is a powerful and urgent film about a journalist played by Jacob Vargas on the run from narcos, who participated in NBCU Directing Fellowship.
I’ll try not to go all Spring Breaker debauchery when I head to Miami next week. I’m very interested in immersing myself in the Hispanicize program to cover the dialogue and scrutinize the impact so stay tuned for my report.
See below to check out full film list and links. Hispanicize will take place April 9 – 13. For information on how to attend and the schedule click here.
BLAZE YOU OUT
(USA, 2013, 90 min)
Writers/Directors: Mateo Frazier, Diego Joaquin Lopez
Cast: Veronica Diaz Carranza, Elizabeth Pena, Q’orianka Kilcher, Mark Adair Rios, Elizabeth Pena
Logline: An unyielding young woman ventures into the ruthless underworld of the town’s heroin trade in order to save her younger sister’s life.
Writer/Director: Jesse Salmeron
Cast: Jeremy Ray Valdez, Isabella Hofmann, Cory Knauf
Logline: Joe Rodriguez is an All American young man. He’s amiable, well educated and attractive. He’s graduated from college and is working and excelling in his field. He’s on his way to achieving the American Dream. That is until his employer discovers his undocumented status and the life he’s worked so hard for begins to crumble around him. He must face the possibility of losing his livelihood, his family and even himself.
(USA, 2013, 95 min)
Director: Elise Salomon Writers: Ryan Brown, Elise Salomon
Featuring Luis Arriaga, Gizzelle, the Rhythm Shakers and more
Logline: Wild Records is an LA indie music label comprised of young Hispanic musicians, it is run by Irishman, Reb Kennedy. Wild is an unconventional family, reminiscent of the early days of Sun Records, all of its musicians write and perform 50s Rock ‘n Roll. If Wild is going to continue to grow and reach broader audiences, its current business model will cease to work.
(USA, 2012, 90 min)
Director: Nicolás López
Writers: Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás López and Eli Roth
Cast: Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy, Eli Roth
Logline: In Chile, a group of travelers who are in an underground nightclub when a massive earthquake hits quickly learn that reaching the surface is just the beginning of their nightmare.
(USA, 2013, 120 min)
Writer/Director: Bryan Ramirez
Cast: Jeremy Ray Valdez, Walter Perez, Fenanda Romero, Joseph Julian Soria, William Rothaar, Jesse Borrego
Logline: Four friends from the rough side of town grow apart when two are consumed by a life of crime, and the other two become FBI agents sent deep undercover – to bring down those childhood friends.
SHORTS FILM SHOWCASE~
(USA, 2012, 13 mins)
Writers/Directors: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer
Cast: Jillian Mayer, Kayla Delacerda, Amy Seimetz, Arly Montes, Jesse Miller, Shivers Thedog
Logline: A comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, #PostModem is the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told through a series of cinematic tweets.
(USA, 2012, 11 mins)
Director: Victor Hugo Duran
Writer: Kevin James McMuillin
Cast: Roger Cruz, Alberto Castañeda, Irene Sorto, Azucena Benitez, Edgar Vanegas, Julio Duran, Victor Hugo Duran, Kevin James McMullin
Logline: During the Fourth of July in South Los Angeles, a teenage boy and his brother scour the neighborhood for fireworks in order to win the admiration of a girl.
(USA, 2012 10 min)
Writer/Director: Fernanda Rossi
Cast: Kathiria Bonilla León, Sixta Rivera, Rubén Andrés Medina, Alfonso Peña Ossoria, Stephanie Quiles Reyes, Eyra Aguero
Logline: Clara is the only light-skinned and clear-eyed girl in an all-black neighborhood. Teased incessantly, the children claim her unknown father is actually a “gringo” tourist. However, Clara was told a different story, and to find out the truth, she will venture into the magical waters of the bioluminescent bay all on her own.
(USA, 2012 6min)
Writer/director: Yolanda Cruz
Cast: Joe Nunez, Hugo Medina, Tzina Carmel, Donato López, Lobo Manet
Logline: Bear, a single gay Latino man in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, looks for love online. Fearing traffic, he searches locally, but soon discovers how geographic convenience can turn to heartache overnight.
(2012, USA, 12 min)
Directed by Mark and Angela Walley
Logline: Two years in the making, this beautifully shot and perfectly paced short documentary captures the creative process of painter Vincent Valdez, as the artist works on a series of pieces dedicated to a childhood friend John Holt Jr. an Army combat medic who died in 2009 after serving in Iraq.
(2012, 15 min)
Director: Steve Acevedo
Writer: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Cast: Jacob Vargas Hugo Medina Shannon Lucio Manuel Uriza
Logline: A Mexican journalist and a cartel assassin collide in a diner, with tragic consequences for both.
(USA, 2012, 3:29min)
Writer/director Lucas Leyva
Shark: Alberto Ibarguen Man: Epifanio Leyva
Logline: Told from the point of view of a dying shark, 'Reinaldo Arenas' metaphorically captures the current state of the aging Cuban-American exile community, many of whom have still not come to terms with the Communist Revolution that changed their lives forever. The film culls from various Cuban films and works of literature to create not a singular voice, but a feeling of a particular moment in time
(2012, USA 20 min)
Writer/Director: Zoe Junco
Cast: Marisé Alvarez , Dalia Davi , Roy Sanchez Vahamonde , Aris Mejias
Logline: A Puerto Rican saying haunts single women in their 30’s: “If such a woman is not married by this time, she must be a slut, a lesbian, or a prude.” This is the story of that woman...