SERIES OFFERS AN UP-CLOSE EXPLORATION OF THE RICH CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL LIFE OF LATIN AMERICA
(Atlanta, GA) This fall, public television viewers will go on the adventure of a lifetime with MY AMERICAS, a lively new half-hour series that takes viewers on a fascinating journey into the rich cultural and spiritual life of Latin America. Each week, Roberto Alcaraz and Leticia Vásquez, two young Mexican Americans who alternate as hosts, travel to a different region of Latin America -- from Cuba to Bolivia, Mexico to Puerto Rico, Ecuador to Peru -- in search of their Latino heritage. It's a remarkable, up-close experience full of unforgettable people and constant surprises as we learn about the colorful, complex tangle of history and cultures that makes each port-of-call proudly unique.
For Roberto and Leticia, the series is a personal journey in search of their Latino heritage – a heritage as diverse as the places they visit. Along the way they learn that even they have misconceptions about their culture. They learn, along with viewers, that Latin American culture is a complex and fascinating stew created by a unique mixture of indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans.
The spirit of the series is adventure – a lively search for the heart and soul of a place through personal encounters with its people and their way of life. The style of the series is participatory, as Leticia and Roberto enter into the lives of the people they meet. Roberto makes friends with a young Aymara man who invites him to don an elaborate, mirrored outfit and dance the morenada in Bolivia’s enormous procession of dancers, El Gran Poder. In Cuba, he dances to African drums at the celebration of San Lázaro and Babalú Ayé. Leticia talks to Maya activists in Guatemala and they invite her to take part in a ceremony, where she joins the women dancing around a sacred fire. In Ecuador, a Quichua woman helps her don their traditional blouse, skirt, belt, shawl, jewelry, and head covering, while explaining the significance of each piece.
Leticia and Roberto are always ready to join the fun or the work, sample new foods, try their hands at crafts, hear traditional music, learn traditional dances, and march in religious processions. Throughout their travels, Leticia and Roberto talk with people of all ages and all types – people who talk openly about their lives, their struggles, and their achievements.
MY AMERICAS is a thinking person’s travel series and a rich celebration of the wealth of geographic, cultural, and spiritual diversity of Latin America, particularly as expressed through traditional festivals and rituals. In addition to the pageantry of the celebrations, MY AMERICAS is also a quest for meaning that examines the challenges that affect the lives of local people. In the outskirts of Mexico City, a vibrant women’s group demands, and gets, running water and a medical clinic for their barrio; a non-profit organization founded by a Maya Methodist minister teaches young people orphaned by Guatemala’s civil war to sew traditional hand woven fabric into international exports, using the profits to fund their education; Peru’s Quechua people fight to preserve ancient beliefs that pre-date the Incas; a marine biologist works to rescue the mangrove forests on Venezuela’s southern coast; a city planner in Havana works to preserve historic architecture and maintain a diverse urban community; and in the rainforest of El Yunque, naturalists work to save the near-extinct Puerto Rican parrot.
For Latino viewers MY AMERICAS is an opportunity to explore and reclaim their cultural heritage; for non-Latinos, the series provides a fascinating look at the complex culture of the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States. For all, the series is a vibrant look at a culturally, historically and spiritually rich world that offers a wealth of surprises and delights each week.
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Executive Producer: Janice Alamía, HTN Productions, Inc.
Series Producer: J. Roberto Gutiérrez
Supervising Producer: Gayla Jamison
Episode Producers/Writers: Gayla Jamison, Rebecca Marvil, Rick Tejada-Flores
Associate Producer: Joseph Bamat
Camera: Vicente Franco, Hilary Morgan, Mark Eveslage
Location Sound: Ray Day, Jaime Kibben
Editors: Carlos Castañeda, Veronica Rodríguez-Regalado, Clarissa Mandujano
Post Production Coordinator: Carlos Castañeda
Post Production Services: Scott Auerbach, Weatherford Television
Underwriters: Maryknoll, Latino Public Broadcasting
MY AMERICAS – EPISODE DESCRIPTIONS
101. Cuzco, Peru
Roberto arrives in the capital of the Inca empire just in time to witness the incredible march of saints’ statues at the feast of Corpus Christi. A local historian tells him that the Quechua people carried out the exact same ritual with their mummified, former rulers long before the arrival of Christianity. Earlier in the day, Roberto follows platforms bearing Saint Sebastian and Saint Jerome into the city from a small town, along with masked men with large chunks of ice on their backs brought down from the sacred glacier of Qoylloriti. Roberto sets off to the Sacred Valley of the Inca to find out more. Along the way he finds steep hillside agricultural terraces, imposing ancient temples, and an original Inca dwelling that still houses a Quechua family. A shaman performs a cleansing rite for Roberto before the last leg of his journey. The trail ends with sunrise at Machu Picchu, the legendary Inca city situated majestically between two sacred mountains.
102. Loiza, Puerto Rico
The town of Loiza is an enclave of the descendants of African slaves that were brought to the island by the Spanish to work in the sugarcane plantations. There Leticia travels to join in the feast of St. James the Apostle on July 25. During this week-long celebration, people dress in ceremonial costumes and dance to rhythms strikingly similar to those of West Africa. Leticia meets Raul Ayala, a local mask-maker who explains the symbolism in the intricate masks used for the feast, and invites Leticia to try on a costume. At the Caribbean National Forest, Leticia learns about the importance of the rain forest and the efforts to save the endangered Puerto Rican parrot. Leticia returns to Loiza to meet the famous jazz musician, William Cepeda, who returns every year to his hometown for the feast. Leticia joins the dancers at Raul Ayala’s house, moving to the complex interplay of drummers known as the bomba, in the celebration of a rich cultural heritage.
103. La Paz, Bolivia
In the heights of the breathtaking Andes, La Paz gets ready for its most colorful folkloric fiesta, a parade that presents all of Bolivia’s indigenous dances. At a rehearsal, Roberto meets a young Aymara-Bolivian dancer, David Quispe, who invites him to his hometown near Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the most renowned dance, la morenada. The vast expanse of sacred waters is charged with divine power and mythology for the Aymara people, and Roberto has the privilege of experiencing a ceremony honoring the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, conducted by a 100-year-old yatiri, or holy man. Back in La Paz, Roberto visits a cooperative of women knitters, who tell him about the challenges they face in moving from their native rural region to urban La Paz. David invites Roberto to become a dancer in his group and explains how the traditional dances help indigenous people reclaim their identity in the city. On the day of the grand parade, Roberto, in full regalia, dances before thousands who turn out to celebrate the fiesta of El Gran Poder, a spectacle filled with elaborate costumes, traditional music and invincible high spirits.
104. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The sleepy town of San Miguel de Allende is the jewel of the north central highlands of Mexico. Leticia finds the town overflowing with people from all over Mexico who have come for the week-long celebrations that honor an important event in the history of the Chichimec people: a 16th century battle in which warring groups lay down their arms and embraced each other as brothers. The descendants of the warriors have preserved the tradition through troupes that recreate traditional dances and ceremonies that recall the animas, or souls, of their ancestors. Leticia also visits a local metal artisan shop and a local herbalist, who takes her on an herb-gathering expedition and teaches her how to use traditional medicinal plants as part of a holistic approach to health. On the final day of the celebrations, Leticia joins the community of the Barrio de Maiz, who have spent days constructing an impressive two story-high xuchil, or cross of palm leaves, which they carry to the cathedral plaza, where dancers parade to the tunes of local brass bands.
105. Tikal, Guatemala
Columbus Day, or Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) as it is called in much of Latin America, is charged with conflicting meanings for the native people of Guatemala, many of whom are just returning from forced or self-imposed exile after decades of civil war. The Maya communities of the Peten have chosen October 12th to reaffirm their connection and presence in this land and call it “The Day of National Unity.” Roberto meets a Maya Catholic priest who has strong ties to the traditional Maya religion and visits a local Maya radio station founded by the priest that broadcasts in Spanish and three Maya languages. He meets a women’s sewing cooperative and learns the importance of their traditional dress and the prejudice they experience when wearing it. Traveling into the jungle, Roberto finds a community along the Mexican border, one of many threatened with extinction by globalization, and finds out why the people don’t want to abandon their town. In what is perhaps the most important city of the Maya ancient civilization, Tikal, Roberto joins in a spectacular ritual involving hundreds of Maya people, an affirmation of the courageous endurance of their culture.
106. Curiepe, Venezuela
Leticia travels to a remote coastal community to take part in a fiesta that links ancient African spirituality with the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Curiepe is famous for its drums and Leticia learns about them from a local artisan who offers her a percussion lesson. Leticia discovers enchanting beaches and a fascinating variety of birds while touring the mangroves, birthing ground for many life forms, which are endangered by local development. At a centuries-old cacao plantation, she learns that the African slaves who were brought to the plantations continued many of their traditions in their new home. Back in Curiepe, local children claim their heritage under the tutelage of a teacher who trains them in traditional dance. The unique spirituality of the town blazes anew for three days and nights, as the Big Drums of Saint John erupt, inspiring bouts of dancing.
107. Havana, Cuba
Roberto arrives in Cuba’s capital for the celebration of Saint Lazarus, a centuries-old event that draws enormous crowds of pilgrims to a tiny sanctuary in the nearby town of El Rincon. After sampling a mojito, Roberto explores the historic architecture of Havana and learns about the restoration taking place. Traveling to El Rincon, Roberto joins throngs of pilgrims who come to venerate Saint Lazarus. Back in Havana, Roberto discovers how the African slaves connected Catholic saints to African deities – Saint Lazarus, for example, with Babalu Aye – as a way of keeping their culture alive through centuries of slavery. He explores African spirituality, sometimes known as santeria, by meeting with a high priest (or babalao), a performing group specializing in African songs and dances, and world-renowned Afro-Cuban singer, Lazaro Ros. On his last day, Roberto takes part in a procession through the streets of Guanabacoa, famous for its santeria culture, and dances to African drumming, symbolic of the triumph of a people over oppression.
108. Jalisco, Mexico
Every August 15th, the city of San Juan de los Lagos swells with tens of thousands of pilgrims who come to see a tiny and allegedly miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary. We join Leticia, whose family heralds from the area, as she takes part in the feast of “Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos” and hears personal accounts of granted miracles. She explores the charming colonial architecture of the nearby Lagos de Moreno, and visits a centuries-old hacienda where traditional cowboys, or charros, train for the unique Mexican rodeo. Along the way Leticia also learns about the production of tequila, which originated in Jalisco, and samples a local brand. Her journey ends at a family reunion in La Barca, where she’s treated to a feast of typical foods.
109. Otavalo, Ecuador
Leticia heads for Quito, the Ecuadorian capital situated amidst the snow-capped volcanoes of the Andes. She takes a turn through the old colonial center and up to El Panecillo, a long-extinct volcano where a towering statue of the Virgin of Quito stands guard over the city. After a visit to a unique museum located on the exact location of the equator, Leticia travels to Otavalo and its handicrafts market, where she discovers an array of hand woven wool rugs and visits one of Ecuador’s finest weavers. During the solar equinox, Otavalo hosts the vivacious “Fiesta del Yamor,” in preparation for the planting of new corn. Leticia participates in the many events designed around Yamor, meets the town’s indigenous mayor, gets dressed in traditional garb, and visits a school where an indigenous children's choir is taught traditional songs and instruments. She learns about a native people’s pride in their culture and handiwork and takes part in the final night procession.
110. Antigua, Guatemala
Leticia arrives in the picturesque colonial town of Antigua, Guatemala, for the pageantry of Holy Week, with its grand processions featuring enormous andas, or floats, weighing several tons and carried on the shoulders of the locals. Wandering through one of Antigua’s markets, she discovers the colorful, traditional fabrics produced by Maya artisans. Inspired by the beautiful designs, Leticia travels to Chichicastenango to meet a weaving cooperative of Maya women who were widowed by the country’s long civil war. To learn more about Maya beliefs, she attends a sacred ceremony in which priests pray for world peace to the lilting rhythms of traditional marimba music. Returning to Antigua for Holy Week festivities, she helps a local family create a colorful and elaborate flower petal carpet, the hallmark of Good Friday in Antigua, only to watch their work be trampled by huge processions of thousands of penitents and Roman centurions.
111. Oaxaca, Mexico
One of Mexico’s most defining and colorful feasts is the “Day of the Dead,” celebrated every year on November 2nd. Roberto travels to southern Mexico to discover the fiesta’s origin and meaning. His search takes him from the noisy, bustling mercados, or markets, of Oaxaca, to the pre-Columbian ruins of Monte Alban and Mitla, an ornate Dominican church, and to the home of a Zapotec family of rug weavers. Roberto learns about the family’s art, their daily struggles, their traditions, and the importance of “Day of the Dead” in their life. Roberto ends his adventure with a midnight stroll in a candlelit cemetery that is lovingly invaded by the living on the night of the feast.
112. Mexico City, Mexico
On December 12th, the feast day of the patroness of Mexico, Leticia journeys to one of the most visited shrines in the world, the basilica of “Our Lady of Guadalupe,” where she joins tens of thousands of people who have gathered to pray, sing, and dance on this special day. A local scholar recounts the story of the Virgin’s apparition to Juan Diego, with its message of hope and dignity for the oppressed Aztec people, recently conquered by the Spanish. Exploring the National Museum of Anthropology’s impressive pre-Columbian collection, Leticia learns more about ancient Aztec culture. She also meets a Chinampero who introduces her to the canals where he and other farmers use the traditional aquatic farming methods of the Aztecs. Her tour ends with a group of women in a low-income suburb whose social activism embodies Guadalupe’s message to Juan Diego, that of dignity and justice for all people.
113. Patzcuaro, Mexico
Pastorelas are staged dramatizations in which “devils” wearing intricate costumes and masks square off against sword wielding angels. Introduced by Spanish missionaries, the pastorelas are still widely popular today throughout Mexico. Roberto treks to a remote village in the Lake Patzcuaro region of Michoacán famous for its unique pastorela and home to one of Mexico’s most renowned mask makers. Roberto explores the ruins of the resilient Purepecha people, and tries his hand at casting the butterfly nets used to catch the local whitefish. He also learns about the fragile ecology of Lake Patzcuaro, source of life for the many communities that share its retreating shoreline. At the end of the journey the celebration of the pastorela awes Roberto with its frenzy of fireworks, music and dance, underscoring the cultural richness of Lake Patzcuaro and the struggle to preserve it.
The MY AMERICAS Team
Hispanic Telecommunications Network (HTN Productions)
The Hispanic Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HTN Productions) was established in 1982 as a non-profit corporation to serve the spiritual and educational needs of the U.S. Latino community through electronic media. Our audiences, on the Galavisión Television Network, the Odyssey (now Hallmark) Channel, and PBS, value quality television programming reflective of Hispanic lives and culture, evidenced in series such as Nuestra Familia, Tras El Horizonte and The Field Afar, as well as specials such as La Gran Posada. For more information, visit www.htn.org.
Roberto Alcaraz, Host and Narrator
In addition to co-hosting MY AMERICAS, Roberto Alcaraz is an accomplished actor who recently starred in Ed Begley Jr.’s stage musical Cesar and Ruben-The Cesar Chavez Story as labor leader Cesar E. Chavez. He also appeared with Culture Clash in Chavez Ravine at the Mark Taper Forum and in the cast of the musical Selena, a Celebration of Life at the Doolittle Theatre. Roberto is familiar to LA audiences for his role as Paco Navarette in the Los Angeles holiday tradition, Paquito’s Christmas which he was delighted to perform at Washington’s Kennedy Center. Roberto appears with the East LA Classic Theater and has performed the role of Claudio in the touring adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Other performances include the one-man show Wheels, Viva la Vida Frida Kahlo at the Ivar Theater, Zapatistas at Nosotros Theatre, and Los de Abajo for the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. Additional credits include the films Ringside Hero, La Cruz and Madison Heights and appearances on the TV series The Division and The Bold and the Beautiful. Mr. Alcaraz received a Master’s of Music degree from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Loyola Marymount University.
Leticia Vásquez, Host and Narrator
MY AMERICAS co-host Leticia Vásquez has also appeared in television series such as Beverly Hills 90210, Reyes y Rey, Quantum Leap, and General Hospital. Her film credits include Mambo Kings, Lambada, La Tortilla, and Attention Shoppers, and her theatrical experience includes The Night of the Iguana and Paquito’s Christmas (Los Angeles Theater Center), Romeo and Juliet, (Lee Strasberg Institute), The Marriage of Figaro (Arizona Repertory Theatre), and The Tempest (Cerrito Performing Arts). Most recently, Leticia wrote, produced and directed her first short film, Last Disco Daze.
J. Roberto Gutiérrez, Series Producer
J. Roberto Gutiérrez is the vice president for public affairs and communication at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining the Notre Dame staff, Mr. Gutiérrez co-founded the Hispanic Telecommunications Network (HTN) in 1982. The organization produces the weekly, award-winning television series, Nuestra Familia. Mr. Gutiérrez became HTN's president and CEO in 1985. In his role as executive producer of all HTN's productions, Mr. Gutiérrez created and produced 1,200 episodes of Nuestra Familia as well as other award-winning projects and feature-length documentaries, seen on UNIVISION, Galavision, PBS and ABC networks.
Gayla Jamison, Supervising Producer and Producer-Writer
Gayla Jamison specializes in social issue and educational documentaries. Since joining HTN in 1997, she has been Supervising Producer and episode Producer-Writer for two series: MY AMERICAS and The Field Afar. She also produced and wrote La Gran Posada, a documentary about the annual Christmas procession in San Antonio.
In addition to her work at HTN, Ms. Jamison has produced short and long form documentaries for Turner Broadcasting, Odyssey Channel, Georgia Public Television, Simon & Schuster, and Channel 13 in Santiago, Chile. Her independently produced documentaries have appeared on The Learning Channel, PBS, WGBH-TV, and ABC network affiliates, as well as broadcast in Germany and the former Soviet Union. Her documentaries have received the Bronze Award, Columbus Film Festival; Special Jury Award, USA Film Festival; Awards of Merit from the Latin American Studies Association; Gold Apple, National Educational Media Network Film Festival; Blue Ribbons from the American Film Festival; Silver Plaque, Chicago International Film Festival; Best Documentary, San Antonio CineFestival; CINE Golden Eagle, and Silver Apple, National Educational Film Festival. Ms. Jamison resides in Atlanta, where she was a founding member and the first director of IMAGE Film and Video Center, a non-profit media arts center.
Rebecca Marvil, Producer-Writer
Following her graduate work in marine geology at Brown University, Rebecca went to work for the Chedd-Angier Production Company in Watertown, MA where she was the associate producer for numerous PBS science programs including NOVA, Frontline, and Race to Save the Planet. In 1990, Rebecca went to WGBH-TV where she worked in National Productions on such acclaimed series as Columbus and the Age of Discovery and Americas.
Over the years, Rebecca has combined interests in film, education and Latin America to make films in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Mexico, lead production workshops in Colombia and spent a semester teaching in Peru as a Fulbright lecturer in 1996. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, in 1992 she made Images of Faith, a documentary about faith and folk art in Puerto Rico. From 1993 to 1995 Rebecca worked in Colombia where she helped design a national environmental education campaign. Rebecca also produced the documentary for the visitor’s center theater at the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico. Between 1997 and 1998, Rebecca produced documentaries for Discover Magazine, Discovery Channel’s video magazine of current science and technology. At Northern Light Productions in Boston, Rebecca made a series of short documentaries on African American religions for the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit “African Voices.” In 2000, Rebecca produced the new signature film for Yellowstone National Park. After moving to Houston in 2000, Rebecca worked as a Writer/Producer for Galán Productions Inc. to develop the series Visiones: Latino Art and Culture for PBS.
Rick Tejada-Flores, Producer-Writer
Rick Tejada-Flores began working in television in 1969, in a minority training program at KQED's Newsroom. He worked as news-film editor for KGO and went on to co-produce and co-direct Si Se Puede! (winner CINE Golden Eagle), for the UFW in 1973.
Tejada-Flores served as Unit Manager/Production Supervisor for KNBC in Burbank, and then as Coordinating Producer for the Latino Consortium, at KCET in Los Angeles, where packaged and distributed the weekly series PRESENTE! His many productions broadcast on PBS include Low 'N Slow, The Art of Lowriding, Go Chanting, Libre, ELVIA, The Fight for Land and Liberty and Rivera In America and Jasper Johns, Ideas In Paint, both of which aired on the PBS series American Masters. Tejada-Flores created Nuestros Hijos, a docudrama on parenting and child abuse, for the State of California, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, which was used as a key element in an educational campaign to improve parenting skills among migrant farm workers.
In 1992 he served as producer on the series The Great Depression. The same year he directed three films on Hispanic history and culture in New Mexico for the American Encounters exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. Another three interpretive films on New Mexico history and culture were created for the American Encounters project in 1993.
Tejada-Flores co-produced and co-directed The Fight in the Fields, Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Struggle, a two-hour documentary which aired on PBS in 1997. His latest documentary, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It, aired on PBS in 2002. He has taught film, television, and mass communications at UC San Diego, St. Mary's College, San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and College of San Mateo, and is currently on the faculty of California State University at Hayward.
Vicente Franco, Camera
Vicente was Co-Director and Director of Photography for Daughter From Da Nang, which received a 2003 Academy Award nomination and was aired on the PBS series, American Experience. He has also served as Director of Photography for other documentaries aired on PBS: The Good War, In Search of Law and Order, The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers’ Struggle, Making Peace: Soul Survivors, and Freedom on My Mind.
Hilary Morgan, Camera
Cinematographer Hilary Morgan’s credits include The Human Sexes, produced by the BBC, and The Life and Times of Allen Ginsburg, produced by Jerry Aronson. She has been a regular guest lecturer on cinematography at Stanford and San Francisco State University. Morgan has a master’s degree in film and has worked as a camera assistant on various documentary series for PBS, including American Experience, NOVA and American Masters. Her independent film, “Penumbra,” won the Best Cinematography award at the 1995 Ann Arbor Film Festival.
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NETA distributes over 2,000 hours of programming each year to public television stations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For more about NETA, visit http://www.netaonline.org
Latino Public Broadcasting (Series Underwriter)
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural television that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations, and other public telecommunication entities. By acting as a minority consortium, LPB provides
a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States.
Maryknoll (Series Underwriter)
Founded in 1911, Maryknoll is a U.S.-based Catholic mission movement that serves the poor in 39 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Maryknoll has underwritten two national television series and numerous documentaries, including School of Assassins, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1995.
FILMING “MY AMERICAS” BECOMES A VOYAGE OF SELF-DISCOVERY FOR YOUNG MEXICAN-AMERICAN HOSTS
This fall, public television viewers will go on the adventure of a lifetime with MY AMERICAS, a lively new half-hour series that takes viewers on a fascinating journey into the rich cultural and spiritual life of Latin America. Each week, Roberto Alcaraz and Leticia Vásquez, two young Mexican Americans who alternate as hosts, travel to a different region of Latin America -- from Cuba to Bolivia, Mexico to Puerto Rico, Ecuador to Peru -- in search of their Latino heritage. It's a remarkable, up-close experience full of unforgettable people and constant surprises as we learn about the colorful, complex tangle of history and cultures that makes each port-of-call proudly unique.
For the young hosts, both of whom are Mexican-American actors from Los Angeles, MY AMERICAS was the gig of a lifetime. Leticia Vasquez, who frequently appears in films and television, savored the opportunity to explore the history and cultures of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Guatemala. Says Leticia, “Hosting MY AMERICAS was truly an adventure as well as a personal journey of self discovery. The people I met taught me humility, a greater appreciation for our history and most importantly -- to be proud of who we are.”
Leticia alternates with MY AMERICAS co-host Roberto Alcaraz, an accomplished actor who performs frequently in films, television and on stage in Los Angeles. Says Roberto, “My experience as a part of MY AMERICAS has been incredible. What stands out to me from my travels is, on the one hand, how similar people from Latin America are, but on the other, how beautifully unique. Here in the United States we use the words Latino or Hispanic to describe a particular “group,” but the reality is that there is a wonderful variety of cultures and traditions throughout these countries that are difficult to generalize and which call out for acknowledgment and respect.”
“My experience in Oaxaca,” continues Roberto, “for the episode on the Day of the Dead celebration was a terrific example of a synthesis of traditions and beliefs that go back centuries. Its deep concern with the value of ancestors and the place death plays in life left me reflecting even more on my own family and ancestors. Likewise, my visit to Lake Patzcuaro in the state of Michoacan and my time in the rainforest of Guatemala helped me see how changes in the environment and modernization have affected tradition and ways of life across generations. The synthesis of cultures was also brought home to me in the spirit and complexity of the Afro-Cuban traditions during our amazing visit to Cuba. In Cuzco, Peru, nestled in the Andean mountains, I discovered the beauty of the Andean people and the impressive stonework of the Incas. The temples at Machu Picchu left me breathless and, once again, impressed and grateful for the amazing creativity of human beings.” MY AMERICAS premieres this fall on PBS stations nationwide.
Program Title: MY AMERICAS
Category: Travel / Cultural
Program Supplier: Distributed by NETA
NOLA Code: MYAR 0100K1
Feed Date /Time: Sundays, beginning August 22, 2004 @ 1300-1330 ET/513
Short Description: MY AMERICAS is a lively new series that takes viewers on a fascinating journey into the rich cultural and spiritual life of Latin America. Each week, Roberto Alcaraz and Leticia Vásquez, two young Mexican Americans who alternate as hosts, travel to a different region of Latin America -- from Cuba to Bolivia, Mexico to Puerto Rico, Ecuador to Peru -- in search of their Latino heritage. It's a remarkable, up-close experience full of unforgettable people and constant surprises as we learn about the colorful, complex tangle of history and cultures that makes each port-of-call proudly unique.
Loiza, Puerto Rico
La Paz, Bolivia
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Scheduling: September 15-October 15 for Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond as a weekly travelogue strip.
Promotion: National media campaign, local support where needed. Program guide feature article included in press kit.
Broadcast History: Public television premiere
Tag: DVD on-air offer: (Text: To order all thirteen episodes of "My Americas" on DVD, call 1-800-998-5955 or write www.htn.org.)
Rights: STANDARD (4RL/3YRS) rights beginning 8/22/04; SCH/3YRS; and non-commercial cable rights. Royalty free to NETA members and subscribers.
Producer: Hispanic Telecommunications Network, Inc.
7711 Madonna Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216-6620
Date Produced: 2004
Funding: Maryknoll and Latino Public Broadcasting.
Underwriting: Local underwriting is permissible
Web Site: www.myamericastv.com (Text: "My Americas" journey through Latin America continues on-line. Find out more about Latin American festivals and culture at www.myamericastv.com.)
Viewer Contact: Gayla Jamison, 404/377-4980
Station Relations: DeShields Associates, 301/388-2492, firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Contact: Mary Lugo, 770/623-8190, email@example.com