Entertainment

Maya Cinemas Is The Latino-Owned Movie Theater Chain Bringing Latino Stories To Underserved Latino Neighborhoods

According to the Motion Picture Association of America’s annual statistical report, Latinos made up 23 percent of movie tickets purchased in the U.S. last year. However, there is an underlying problem to this statistic. There is a lack of movie theaters in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, especially in Central California, and Moctesuma Esparza, famous for producing “Selena,” is trying to change that. Esparza is the owner of Maya Cinemas, which opened its first theater in 2003 in Salinas, California, a predominantly working class Latino community. His mission is to bring movies to these undeserved communities.

Moctesuma Esparza is bringing movie theaters to Latino neighborhoods even as overall ticket sales decline.

Maya Cinemas has opened its fifth movie theater in Delano, California, despite ticket sales declining. The working class Latino neighborhood, where Cesar Chavez helped organize a labor strike in 1965, didn’t have an operating movie theater for 10 years and is an example of the need Esparza is trying to fill with his movie theater chain.

Latinos make up nearly double the movie sales among all minorities in the United States at 23 percent.

“The market is underserved, and it’s the market that contributes more than any other to the bottom line of Hollywood,” Santiago Pozo, founder of Latino-focused marketing firm Arenas Entertainment, said in an interview with the LA Times. “It’s a community that really goes to movies.”

Maya Cinemas hopes to expand beyond California and into more predominantly Latino communities around the United States.

According to The Undefeated, Esparza is growing outside of California. There is currently a theater under construction in Las Vegas and eventually will follow up in Texas and Arizona.

Esparza has been an advocate for the representation of Latinos in mainstream media.

Esparza was an organizer during the 1968 Chicano student walkouts in East LA. In support of independent filmmakers who haven’t been able to get a theatrical distribution, Esparza has launched a program at his movie theaters will air their films.

Latino representation is needed more than ever in mainstream media.

While Latinos make up 18 percent of the U.S. population, they were represented by just 3 percent of speaking parts in the Top 100 films in 2016.


READ: Watch These Latino Movies And Try To Say You Aren’t Proud To Be A Latino

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A Colombian Orphan Was Adopted By His Host Family And The Video Will Tug At Your Heart Strings

Things That Matter

A Colombian Orphan Was Adopted By His Host Family And The Video Will Tug At Your Heart Strings

Amanda Thiessen Barkey / Facebook

Sebastian is a young boy who was growing up in Colombia with no biological relatives. A program called Kidsave’s Summer Miracles connected Sebastian with the Barkey family for a summer. During that time, the family fell in love with Sebastian and they decided to secretly adopt him after the program ended and he flew back to Colombia.

The Barkey family fell in love with Sebastian after hosting him for a summer so they decided to adopt him.

Orphan Reunited With Family

After spending summer with the Barkey family in the U.S, Colombian orphan Sebastian has become a part of the family…👨‍👩‍👦

Posted by UNILAD on Thursday, January 30, 2020

The adoption was a true family affair. All of the Barkey children and their parents boarded a flight to Colombia to collect the newest member of their family. The reunion was caught on camera and it is a sweet and honest representation of modern families.

The moment Sebastian sees the Barkey family is an emotional experience for everyone in the room.

Credit: UNILAD / Facebook

Sebastian is walked through the hallways of the adoption agency and led into a room with the family he has grown to love. He is immediately surrounded by the Barkey family who smothers him in hugs. The feeling of excitement and love is palpable from the video.

Sebastian even signed the adoption papers using his new last name: Barkey.

Credit: UNILAD / Facebook

Congratulations, Sebastian. And well done, Barkey family. What a touching and sweet moment captured on camera.

READ: In The Middle Of National Adoption Awareness Month, This Movie Is Making A Statement

Cinematographer Galo Olivares Talks About How He Created A World For The New ‘Gretel And Hansel’

Entertainment

Cinematographer Galo Olivares Talks About How He Created A World For The New ‘Gretel And Hansel’

Erwin Jaquez / AMC

“Gretel and Hansel” is now in theater telling a new version of a timeless Grimm’s fairy tale. We all grew up knowing the story of “Hansel and Gretel” and the lesson of being careful where you go and who you befriend in the world. Mexican cinematographer Galo Olivares helped director Osgood Perkins create a universe as creepy and tantalizing as one would expect from the classic tale.

Galo Olivares is the man behind the haunting and unsettling imagery of “Gretel and Hansel.”

For Olivares, the first thing he had to do was to make sure he found the right place to create the perfect ambiance for the film.

“The first thing that I did after I got out the plane was start scouting, and we realized Dublin, Ireland was the perfect canvas for this story,” Olivares says. “All the team did a great job. We had a great production designer and a marvelous costume designer. Sophia Lillis and Alice Krige were just wonderful so it was pretty easy to come together with all the pieces for this film.”

Olivares grew up with the creepy tales of La Llorona and the story was one that inspires his work on this film.

“I grew up hearing the legend of La Llorona. My grandmother’s house was somehow close to a cemetery and I remember we could see it from the top floor,” Olivares recalls. “We have several legends here in Mexico where we actually celebrate death. We have the day of the dead, which is a beautiful celebration that reminds us that death is part of life. So, I have always been inspired by this universe and I loved being able to bring a small part to this film.”

The biggest thing Olivares wanted to do was give the story a modern upgrade while keeping the spirit of the story intact.

“I remember one of the first things we talked about with Osgood was what he didn’t want this movie to be. Suddenly, we started to talk about Star Wars and how this tale could be timeless,” Olivares says. “That’s why there are many modern details but you cannot tell when is this happening, whether it’s the past or future or another dimension maybe. I always thought of the witch’s house as a kind of mothership.”

You can watch “Gretel and Hansel” now in theaters.

Congratulations on the movie, Galo Olivares.

READ: Here Are 20 Latino Legends From Our Childhood That Still Terrify Us As Adults Because That’s Latino Parenting