Final Selection Awards Fourteen Projects for Funding

Los Angeles, CA (November 15, 2007) - Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), a non-profit organization funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, announced its ninth annual Open Call newly funded programs. The funding initiative invites independent producers to submit proposals for funding on Latino-themed programs or series.

“We are proud to support this outstanding group of producers, who will bring diverse voices and compelling stories to public television, ranging from the contemporary to the historical, from the personal to the political. These stories will capture the imagination of viewers, conveying the wealth of experience and the rich vein of creativity that runs through our Latino communities,” said Patricia Boero, Executive Director, LPB.

Every year LPB invites independent filmmakers to submit proposals in various stages, from research and development, to production, post-production and outreach. All proposals are reviewed by a selected group of public television professionals, local stations programmers, independent filmmakers, academics and executives from other funding organizations.

This year fourteen (14) proposals were selected for funding. Emerging filmmakers comprise 31% of total funded producers; mid-level producers make up 38%; veteran filmmakers constitute 31%. As far as funding history, 57% of awarded programs have never been funded by Latino Public Broadcasting before - a direct result of an extensive outreach program for independent filmmakers throughout the nation.

The breakdown of funded producers is equally split between men and women.
The funding category percentages are as follows: Research and Development – 29%; Production – 29%; Post-production – 35% and Outreach – 7%. The final slate of programs represents filmmakers from different regions within the U.S. including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York and California.

The 2007 awarded projects (alphabetically) are as follows:

Albizu
Producer: Michael Torres
Category: Research and Development
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/120 Minutes

Albizu is a two-hour documentary poised to revitalize the legacy of Puerto Rico’s most prominent freedom fighter. The film’s unique approach not only captures the personal story of a charismatic leader at the center of a major socio-political conflict; it takes a contemporary look at Pedro Albizu Campo’s invaluable contribution to Puerto Rican identity and culture.

Children of the Amazon
Producer: Denise Zmekhol
Category: Outreach
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/60 Minutes

Fifteen years ago, Filmmaker/Photographer Denise Zmekhol traveled along a modern-day road in the age-old forest of the Amazon and photographed the children she met. Haunted by the faces of the children and the murder of her friend, Chico Mendes, Denise decides to return to the Amazon. Part road-movie, part time-travel, Children of the Amazon combines intimate interviews and her personal and poetic meditation on environmental devastation, resistance and renewal. As she travels the road, she searches for the now grown children she photographed and documents them once again. This time their stories are of change and of their struggle to save the forest.

¿Donde Estan? The Disappeared Children of El Salvador
Producer: Maria Teresa Rodriguez/Kathryn Pyle
Category: Research and Development
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

¿Donde Estan? The Disappeared Children of El Salvador is a documentary about the search for almost one thousand children who vanished during the Salvadoran civil war of the 1980’s. Three survivors of the civil war tell their story of the different paths their lives have taken. Through the story of the disappeared children and the families who search for them ¿Donde Estan? will ask the larger question: How does a society heal itself from the scars of a civil war?

El General
Producer: Natalia Almada
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/60 Minutes

“Dictator,” “Iron Man,” “Nun-Burner,” “Father of Modern Mexico,” the filmmaker’s great-grandfather, Plutarco Elias Calles was the president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928. El General is a feature length film about the conflicting history she inherited as the great-granddaughter of one of Mexico’s most controversial figures and the socio-economic injustice that has prevailed from the Revolution of 1910 to the present. El General is a journey into her family’s past and an intimate portrait of Mexico then and now.

Granito
Producer: Paco De Onis
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/90 Minutes

Granito tells the story of one man’s relentless struggle to close a cycle of violence. In 1983, Pamela Yates made a film titled “When the Mountains Tremble” about the social revolution in Guatemala, a struggle between the indigenous people of Guatemala and the brutal military dictatorship led by General Efrain Rios Montt. The General had targeted an outspoken young Guatemalan human rights lawyer, Frank LaRue, a hunted member of the opposition. Now, after 22 years, LaRue has returned from exile to Guatemala and is masterminding the prosecution of General Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. This film follows how the case is built and gives voice to the survivors of the massacres and end with the indictment of General Rios Montt. It also demonstrates the role of documentary film as evidence in a criminal investigation.

New Muslim Cool
Producer: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

New Muslim Cool is an hour-long observational documentary exploring faith and culture through the story of 29 year old Puerto Rican hip-hop artist and staunch Muslim convert Jason “Hamza” Pérez, his small upstart religious community of Latino and African American Muslims, his family, and his cultural collaborators and friends. Setting Hamza’s story in the context of American Muslims’ emergence among the deep dividing lines of the post-9/11 world, New Muslim Cool gives audiences an intimate glimpse of life in one of America’s most rapidly growing and least-understood communities as it comes of age in a time of danger and promise. The program tells the unfolding story of the burgeoning Latino Muslim population within the United States, offers a fresh perspective on Islam in the West and prompts viewers to examine their own assumptions about the role of faith in our private and public lives.

Re-Encounters: Between Memories and Nostalgia
Producer: Yolanda Cruz
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/60 Minutes

Re-encounters chronicles the personal experience of Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago, who learned the truth of the old saying that you can never go home again. After more than a decade living abroad, Santiago returned to the Zapotec Sierra seeking the village of his childhood. Instead, he found abandoned houses, empty streets, and deserted farm fields. Santiago’s sense of emptiness drove him to search for answers in his art. His current project, 2501 Migrants, expresses his response—a symbolic community of life-size clay sculptures in homage to those who left. He plans to repopulate his village one statue at a time. Like many migrants, Santiago survives by recreating memories of life back home. Re-encounters tells his story and the stories of countless others.

The Road to Chulumani
Producer: Rick Tejada-Flores
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

The genesis of The Road to Chulumani occurred during the filmmaker's first visit to Bolivia, in 1997. During this visit, he made family connections and found literature that described his family’s involvement in the slave trade, as well as in the Chaco War during the 1930s. While American audiences have seen several views of the legacy of slavery in North America, how the process played out in Latin America is completely unknown. Likewise, regional conflicts, like the Chaco War, which had a profound impact on Latin American societies, are not well known or understood. The filmmaker will take viewers on a personal journey to search the past and discover his family's history and how it has affected Bolivia.

Roberto Clemente
Producer: Bernardo Ruiz
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/60 Minutes

For nearly 150 years, baseball has been known as “America’s Pastime” and has reflected cultural values in a way that no other sport, and few other institutions have. Today, roughly one quarter of Major League players claim Latino heritage. Yet, until the mid-1950’s few Latinos were in the game. While Roberto Clemente was not the first Latino to play in the big leagues, he was the first Latino star to have a major and lasting impact on the game. By dint of his tremendous talent, his pride and his grace, he helped to shatter stereotypes about Latinos, to make the game more accessible to other Latino players and to provide a great source of pride to a growing Latino population in the mainland United States. This film delves into Clemente’s story and what it reveals about the Latino experience in the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

Scenes from a Parish
Producer: James Rutenbeck
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

Saint Patrick’s Parish has become a kind of social laboratory as a traditionally Irish-American institution changes to reflect the city that surrounds it. Scenes from a Parish raises questions about the nature of community – how the ideals of a faith community come up against pressures that place this ideal at risk. In this film, nine Catholics face obstacles – class, ethnicity and sexual orientation – that threaten to break apart the fellowship they seek.

The Secret Life of Buffalo Z. Brown
Producer: Phillip Rodriguez
Category: Research and Development
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/60 Minutes

Latino history – to the extent that it has been narrated at all – is full of half-told stories. The case of Oscar Zeta Acosta, also known as “The Brown Buffalo” is one example. A brilliant and controversial writer/lawyer/activist, Acosta is remembered less for his role in the Chicano movement in the late 1960s than for his fictionalized appearance in a white man’s novel. The novel was Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; the character was Dr. Gonzo, a Sancho Panza-esque sidekick to the illustrious Raoul Duke. Through exclusive interviews and rare archival material The Secret Life of Buffalo Z. Brown explores Acosta’s colorful biography, his political and literary contributions and his legacy.

She Wants to Be a Matador
Producer: Gemma Cubero/Celeste Carrasco
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

Challenging gender roles and rigid social traditions, She Wants to Be a Matador is a documentary about women who chose the profession of bullfighting. Through the viewpoint of the female matadors, the film explores why these women pursue the same dream as their male counterparts – the glory of dominating the beast. They are forced to fight not only against the bull, but also against historical and political events, including decades of legal prohibitions and prejudice.

Speaking in Tongues
Producers: Marcia Jarmel/Ken Schneider
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/ 60 Minutes

Educational inequity, immigrant integration, cross-cultural competency, white flight, global competitiveness – what links this nexus of concerns not usually spoken in one breath? Bilingualism may be the surprising answer. Speaking in Tongues documents the experience of one city grappling with the challenge. Amidst the widespread perception that bilingual education, intended as a transitional program, has failed, the San Francisco school board will consider a measure to offer language immersion education to all public school students.

The Storm that Swept Mexico
Producer: Raymond Telles
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
1 Episode/120 Minutes

The Storm That Swept Mexico is a two-hour, primetime documentary series on the Mexican Revolution, the first major Revolution of the 20th century, and the first important challenge to the world order of the industrial creditor nations. It is a conflict that changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, and profoundly impacting relations with the United States and with the rest of the world.

About Latino Public Broadcasting
Created in 1998 by Edward James Olmos and Marlene Dermer, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is a non-profit organization funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. LPB's mission is to support the development, production, post-production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural television that is representative of or addresses issues of particular interest to U.S. Latinos. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Mr. Olmos is presently LPB's Chairman of the Board of Directors.

For more information please visit www.lpbp.org.

CONTACT
Luis Ortiz, Managing Director
Latino Public Broadcasting
323.466.7110
luis.ortiz@lpbp.org




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