Everywhere you turn marketers, advertisers, film studios, and television networks are courting the purported trillion dollar purchasing power of Latinos in the United States. Despite the tremendous power we hold as consumers of media there still is a lack of Latino cultural producers in this country. We simply don’t have enough Latino film directors, screenwriters, film critics, programmers, and funders.
Simultaneously, independent filmmaking in Latin America is reaching new heights. The amount of projects coming out of the region continues to increase and the films are receiving international acclaim at top tier film festivals. So, what is going on? What are we doing wrong in the U.S. and how can we fix it?
This is exactly what the organizers of the New York Latino Film Summit are trying to figure out. They have invited New York-based Latino film & media arts professionals to a special gathering that will take place on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. They hope to, “provide a space where professionals can convene to engage in an open dialogue concerning the current and future state of U.S. Latinos in multimedia by reevaluating and adopting comprehensive strategies that address critical issues...”
Over the course of two days several roundtables will take place. The aim is to stimulate a discussion amongst the participants of the summit and to pinpoint the obstacles that stand in the way of creating meaningful and innovative Latino media content and a vibrant U.S.-based Latino film community.
The roundtables will tackle such questions as:
● Who has access to a film career?
● How can we democratize access to filmmaking?
● What stories are we telling?
● Are we limiting the stories Latinos can tell?
● Who is documenting our cinema?
● How are film festivals programming our films?
● How can we create more critical content on Latino films and filmmakers?
In order to take on these issues it is imperative that a wide range of voices and perspectives be part of the discussion. Don’t underestimate the power of your own voice. We need you there! And, come say hi, LatinoBuzz will be there too.
New York Latino Film Summit: Changing Our Paradigms
Free and open to Latino film and media arts professionals and students (registration necessary).
Day 1: Friday, June 21, 6pm – 8pm
Amphitheater at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.)
1. Welcome and Introduction, 6pm
2. New Cultural Frontiers, 6:30pm - 8pm
Today, what defines our Latinidad exceeds the traditional categories imposed on the Latino identity. This session will ask participants to question how we define ourselves, how we are defined by others, who validates our authenticity, and what it means to appropriate the label.
Day 2: Saturday, June 22, 10:30am - 8pm
Furman Gallery, adjacent to the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.)
3. Access and Accessibility, 10:30am - 12pm
Who has access to a film career? Who and how does a filmmaker get validated to talk about our community? How can we democratize access to filmmaking? How can the audience get access to the work of Latino media makers.
4. Storytelling and Narratives, 1pm - 3pm
What stories are we telling? Are we pushing the envelope? Are we limited by our own narratives? Are we limiting the stories Latinos versus Latin Americans can tell? How are we being represented and who is representing us? Who is deciding what our storylines and our aesthetics are?
5. Validation and Audience Development, 3pm - 5pm
Who is validating our cinema? Who is documenting our cinema? How are we programming our films and directors? How can we create more critical content on the films and filmmakers? How do we engage audiences in a more effective way?
6. Plenary Session: Community Building, 5pm- 7pm
The summit organizing committee consists of: Andrea Betanzos (Assistant Director, Cinema Tropical), Carlos A. Gutiérrez (Co-founder and Director, Cinema Tropical), Paula Heredia (director/editor, Heredia Pictures), and Lucila Moctezuma (Production Assistance Program Manager, Women Make Movies)
Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook.