Entertainment

A New Movie Is Telling The Story Of A Latino Teen Who Drowned And Died For An Hour But Came Back To Life

Back in 2015, John Smith, then 14, fell into a frozen lake in St. Charles, Missouri. Smith was playing with two friends out on a lake when they fell through the ice into freezing cold water below. While his two friends were saved, Smith went under the surface where he remained for 15 minutes. After first responders tried to revive him for nearly 45 minutes, they were ultimately unsuccessful. Then a miracle happened. Smith’s heart started beating again and he would walk out of the hospital 16 days later. Now, his story is being told in a new film, “Breakthrough,” which will share his rescue from near-death to miracle.

John Smith made national news when he fell through some ice and was pronounced dead for an hour before coming back to life.

Credit: John Smith / Facebook

As paramedics tried to save him, they transported him to a nearby hospital where CPR was performed but there was no response. Doctors believed there was nothing that could be done to save Smith and told his mother, Joyce, she could come see him.

When Joyce arrived, she began to pray over his body. She “walked up to the end of the bed and felt his feet, how cold and gray they were,” Joyce told PEOPLE magazine.

“I remembered in church all my life hearing this scripture that says, ‘The Holy Spirit will raise Christ Jesus from the dead,” Joyce recalls. “The minute I prayed ‘Holy Spirit, please come and give me back my son!’ his heartbeat started.”

Smith beat the odds despite being told he wouldn’t make it through the night.

Credit: John Smith / Facebook

What happened next is considered a medical miracle. John came back to life and eventually made a full recovery. Doctors say Smith had extensive brain damage and organ damage that would have normally killed a person. His religious family credits their faith and prayer as the reason behind the miracle.

Despite all this, there was still a small chance Smith would live. Doctors told his family there was a one percent chance Smith would make it through the night and still would face the unfortunate circumstance of being in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Miraculously, Smith walked out of the hospital 16 days later.

Yet Smith isn’t the first to come back after being declared dead. According to the BBC, a 91-year-old woman in Poland woke up in a morgue 11 hours after doctors declared her dead. In Mississippi, a 78-year-old man who had been declared dead was found alive and kicking in a funeral home body bag, reported The Guardian.

Doctors call these cases the Lazarus syndrome, which happens when circulation spontaneously comes back to the body long after CPR has ended. There have been at least 38 cases of the incident occurring since first reported in medical literature in 1982.

His miraculous story has inspired more than just a movie but others to believe in medical miracles themselves.

Credit: John Smith / Facebook

Smith, who is now 18, is living proof of miracles. He was adopted as a child from Guatemala by Joyce and Brian Smith. While John has no recollection of the incident ever happening and didn’t suffer any permanent physical damage, he says before the incident he had an entirely different mindset on life.

“I had a lot of issues,” Smith told PEOPLE magazine. “I was chasing after what I wanted instead of what God had for me.”

Smith has since toured around the country to speak to young people about his story and has plans to attend a Christian college in Minnesota this fall. Now, his story is being re-told in the new film “Breakthrough.”

“I had to deal with answering the question of ‘Why me?’” Smith said. “After time and a lot of prayer and mentoring, I eventually saw that God is the only way to get through something like this.”

“Breakthrough” opens April 17.

READ: FAFSA Put A Latina On Notice After She Posted Her Lavish Prom Video That People Read Too Much Into

‘Roma’ Star Aparicio Is Named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador And Will Advocate For The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

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‘Roma’ Star Aparicio Is Named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador And Will Advocate For The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

Within a matter of just a year, Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio has made a name for herself as both an artist and an activist. Earlier this year, the 25-year-old actress, born in Tlaxiaco, Mexico, made history as the first indigenous actor nominated for the best actress award at the Academy Awards for her breakout role in the film “Roma.” In the months after the film came out, the actress has worked hard to display her Mixteco language and heritage, financially support Oaxan students from her hometown, and combat any stereotypes or ignorant impressions you might have of indigenous people. For her work, the young actress is, once again, being honored. 

This time, it’s with a wonderful new role with the United Nations’ cultural agency United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a goodwill ambassador for indigenous people.

On Friday, UNESCO— a Paris-based organization— announced that they had appointed Aparicio to help them advocate for gender equality and indigenous rights. 

yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

In an interview about her newest role, Aparicio said that she felt “proud to be an indigenous woman” and would like to aim “to go hand in hand with UNESCO in the best way, to be able to support these indigenous communities.”

According to NBC News, the young actress also said that it was her hope that she would pass on the traditional wisdom of indigenous communities as well as combat racism. “As my grandparents used to say: ‘You have to take care of the land because you eat it.’ So hopefully we learn this part,” she said.

During her announcement of her new role, Aparicio said that it would also be her goal to shed light on the various legal complications that indigenous people face in the government systems around the world. 

yalitzaapariciomtz/ Instagram

“There are several cases where there are indigenous people who are judged in a foreign language, without the right to have a translator and I think it’s something that we should take action on”, she said.

There’s no doubt that based on the year Aparicio has had that she is a woman who understands first hand why advocacy for indigenous people is so important. 

yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

The Academy Award-nominated actress Yalitza Aparicio became the first Mexican woman to receive such an honor. However, despite the respect and esteem, she should have earned, it wasn’t uncommon for her to receive unwarranted racism from her community of actors in Mexico. At one point, telenovela star Sergio Goyri used racist slurs to say that he didn’t feel Yalitza Aparicio deserved an Oscar nomination. In a video posted to the veteran actor’s Instagram, he  commented that Aparicio should not have received a nomination for an Academy Award saying  in Spanish “Que metan a nominar a una pinche india que dice, ‘sí señora, no señora’, y que la metan a una terna a la mejor actriz del Oscar.

In English, his offensive and vulgar language translate to “That they nominate an Indian click that says, ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am’, and that they put it in a shortlist for the best Oscar actress.”

Later the actor apologizes saying that it was “never my intent to offend anyone. I apologize to Yalitza, who deserves [the Oscar nomination] and much more,” the 60-year-old said on Instagram. “For me, it is an honor to see a Mexican be nominated for an Oscar.”

Staying above it all like always, Aparicio responded to Goyri’s offensive remarks by stating that she was proud of who she is and where she is from. 

“I am proud to be an Oaxacan indigenous woman, and it saddens me that there are people who do not know the correct meaning of words,” Aparicio said in a statement to The Guardian.

“Roma” director, Alfonso Cuarón, also came to the defense of Aparicio this week by saying that Goyri’s words should be a broader discussion as to why people, particularly in Mexico, have those feelings, and also why the media perpetuates stereotypes.

With all that Aparicio has experienced, we’re excited to see what she does for Indigenous people in her newest role.

Aparicio has continued to prove this year that she is nothing but a rising star on the scene. Despite the fact that English was not a language she knew fluently when she took up her first Hollywood film (and first film!) she continues to be the face of international success and proof that anyone can come from any circumstance and get to the top. We hope that her new role she will outshine any ignorance and cruelty that might come her way and that she will continue the fight for freedom for Indigenous people everywhere.

The Trailer For Harley Quinn’s Spin-Off ‘Birds Of Prey’ Dropped And We’re Loving The Diversity of The All-Female Super Hero Troupe

Entertainment

The Trailer For Harley Quinn’s Spin-Off ‘Birds Of Prey’ Dropped And We’re Loving The Diversity of The All-Female Super Hero Troupe

DC Films

Harley Quinn is back and she’s Joker-free in the upcoming ‘Suicide Squad’ spin-off. The first full trailer for DC’s ‘Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn’ dropped this week and we’re loving everything about it. The film is set to be released early 2020 and when it does, it will feature a pretty diverse cast of badass ladies.

Most details of ‘Birds of Prey’ had been kept under wraps, except for a little sneak peak shared by Dr. Harleen Quinzel herself.

credit instagram @margotrobbie

Aside from the sneak-peek we got in January in the form of an Instagram post from Miss Harley Quinn herself, captioned “Miss me? 💋HQ”, and a tiny teaser trailer, most details of ‘Birds of Prey’ had remained under wraps. But after watching the first full official trailer we have enough details to piece the plot together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjpsGw7YlU8

In ‘Birds of Prey’ Harley gathers a group of uncongenial super-powered ladies to search for revenge.

credit Instagram @jurneebell

Birds of Prey is originally a DC Comics series based around an ever-changing line-up of female heroes, villains, and anti-heroes. The trailer for the movie opens with a drunk Harley Quinn pointing out that “a harlequin’s role is to serve; it’s nothing without a master.” She goes on to explain that her relationship with the Joker is through, and she’s looking for a “fresh start”, but as it turns out, Harley  “wasn’t the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation.” After the breakup and naturally, a post heartbreak haircut, Harley puts together a group of uncongenial anti-heroines with similar motives, looking for revenge.

The team of iconic DC Comic ladies includes Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), from the Gotham City Police Department; the Black Canary/Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), who gave us a hint of her super-powered voice while singing in a club in the trailer; the crossbow-wielding Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead); and perhaps the DC Universe’s most lethal set of hands, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

Margot Robbie is the person behind Harley Quinn’s own spin-off movie and she wanted to make sure to get a diverse team on-screen and behind the camera.

During an interview with Yahoo!, to promote her movie Terminal, actor turned producer, Margot Robbie, talked about how important it was for her to make sure to cast diverse leads. “real life isn’t so one specific image,” said Robbie, “We’ve got to reflect that onscreen.”

Television and film are supposed to depict our realities, right? That should mean showcasing characters of all races, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, etc. as thought-out and well-developed characters, instead of relying on tactless stereotypes for laughs. Who we see on the screen needs to mirror the diverse world we live in. And while there has been a slight improvement in the last couple of years, the industry has still got a long way to go and it’s crucial that we begin to see diverse casts, directors, writers, producers, and film crews. 

Margot Robbie, the person behind Harley Quinn’s spin-off,  worked hard to build a diverse team for this movie, both in front of the camera and behind it. Robbie describes ‘Birds of Prey’ as an “R-rated girl gang film”. “I was like, Harley needs friends, Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film,” she said about her pitch during an interview with Collider. “She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn’t seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it.” 

Just watching the trailer and seeing the group of diverse anti-heroes and women of color playing strong badass action-driven characters has us counting the days until the premiere. A study by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) says that films with more diverse casts perform better at the box office than less diverse ones —Confirming what people and actors of color have been saying for years!

For the film, Robbie casted women with vastly different backgrounds and secured a female director and screenplay writer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtPH_6lFgTG/

The “Birds of Prey” are all women with different and vast backgrounds. Jurnee Smollett-Bell who’s playing Black Canary has described herself as “Blewish” aka black and Jewish and is 100% proud of her biracial ancestry. Rosie Perez (who plays Renee Montoya), was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but considers herself Puerto Rican fist and foremost and has shown the world her pride for her heritage in the documentary “I’m Boricua, Just So You Know“. 

When “Birds of Prey” debuts in theaters next year, so will Ella Jay Basco. Bringing the character Cassandra Cain to life will be the young actress of Korean and Filipino ancestry’s big-screen debut. “I really want to represent the Asian community – that alone inspires me to act because representation and diversity in the industry is super important to me.” Basco revealed in an interview with A Book Of.

instagram @ellajaybasco

Director Cathy Yan has reportedly been tabbed to direct the movie, marking her first Asian female director to helm a DC movie. “…And then, of course, having a female director to tell that story,” Robbie said to Yahoo! “And giving a female director the chance to do big budget stuff, they always get ‘Here’s the tiny little film’… I was like, ‘I love action. I love action films. I’m a girl. What, are we meant to only like a specific thing’? So it was a hugely important to find a female director for this, if possible. But at the end of the day — male, female — the best director gets the job and Cathy was the best director.” she continued. The screenplay was written by Christina Hodson, who also wrote the Transformers sequel ‘Bumblebee’ starring Hailee Steinfeld, and who will also be writing DC’s “Batgirl” movie. 

“Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of a One Harley Quinn” is set to release on February 7, 2020. Other upcoming DC Extended Universe films include Wonder Woman 2, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps.