Things That Matter

15 Latino Directors Challenging Hollywood’s Huge Diversity Problem

It’s old news that Hollywood has a huge diversity problem (#Oscarsowhite, anybody?). Even beyond the Academy Awards, this year’s Cannes Film Festival left a LOT to be desired when it came to Latino representation. Only one film from a Latino director was up for the Palm d’Or– the festival’s top honor– and only one Latino feature was included in the Directors’ Fortnight. YIKES.

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the movie biz is run by white folks. Yes, it sucks, but the good news is there are some truly kickass people of color out there paving the way for the rest of us. I’m talking directors, specifically. You likely know and love the work of famous Latino and Latin American directors like Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez. They’re awesome! But here are some lesser-known directors whose work is worth seeking out and supporting:


1. Patricia Riggen

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Credit: YouTube/ ColliderVideos

Riggen is a Mexican-born filmmaker currently kicking ass and taking names in Hollywood. Best known for her film Under the Same Moon and the super fun TV movie Lemonade Mouth, she’s directed prominent actors such as Eva Mendes, Patricia Arquette, and America Ferrera. In terms of directors, she’s one you for sure need to have on your radar. Her recent film, The 33, follows the real-life story of Chilean miners trapped underground for over two months.


2. Magdalena Albizu

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Credit: Magdalena Albizu, via La Respuesta Media

Albizu’s documentary, La Negrita, focuses on the Afro-Latino experience in the U.S., both in terms of how individual Afro-Latinos define themselves, as well as how they’re viewed and labeled by fellow Latinos. The preview on Vimeo shows how Albizu’s own Dominican parents viewed her embrace of being black (their relationship with the term is, in a word, complicated), as well as the currency of the term “negrita” itself. You can follow Albizu’s journey towards fully funding her documentary via the film’s website.


3. Guillermo Arriaga

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Credit: CC / Wikipedia

Arriaga is an excellent director, and is known for both Spanish-language and English-language films. You’ve likely seen Amores Perros and 21 Grams, both of which he produced and wrote. A true renaissance man, Arriaga is not only lending his perspective and vision to directing and screenwriting, he’s also a novelist. No, we have no idea when he finds the time to sleep.


4. Janicza Bravo

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Credit: MySpace / Janicza Bravo

Bravo, who’s lived in Panama and New York, is not only a director, writer, producer, and actor, she’s also a costume designer, and her eye for style and form is evident across her work. Her first short film, Eat, was nominated for a SXSW Audience Award, and she later took home the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for her film Gregory Goes Boom, which starred Michael Cera and was inspired by a very fraught first date Bravo witnessed firsthand


5. Luis Mandoki

Credit: YouTube / CorreCamara Cine

You’ve either seen or heard of Mexico City-born Mandoki’s films Message in a Bottle and Angel Eyes, starring none other than Jennifer LopezHe’s an extremely successful director who’s crossed over with both Latin hits and American hits. It’s always incredibly inspiring when a director can find success across multiple audiences.


6. Patricia Cardoso

Credit: The LA Times / Ana Luisa Gonzalez

She made one of my favorite films ever, Real Women Have CurvesShe made a film that celebrated a Latina’s body just the way it is, and we all fell in love with this film. It was a time when someone was saying, “Hey! You don’t have to be a model or stick thin. You can just be you.” So. Good.


7. Aurora Guerrero

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Credit: IMDB / mibryant@imdb.com

Guerrero  is a Chicana filmmaker and LGBT director, which makes her a voice for pretty much one of the least represented demographics on this list. Which is also why she’s so important. Cool note: Not only did Guerrero give us the coming-of-age love story Mosquita y Mari, she also assisted director Patricia Cardoso on the film, Real Women Have Curves. YAAAS!


8. Andrés Muschietti

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Credit: YouTube /  RUEMORGUEMAGAZINE

A master of horror, Muschietti is the Argentinean director responsible for giving us Mama, an English-language, feature-length story of his own Spanish-language short film, Mamá, which he also wrote. Both versions will make you scream and cry in equal doses.


9. Carmen Marron

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Credit: IMDB

The Endgame director joins the list of kickass Latina filmmakers. Marron also gave us Go For It!, and any movie about dancing your way to the very top is a-ok by us. We can’t stress enough how important it is that these women get some recognition! Props to the ladies fighting back and giving young Latina directors some inspiration.


10. Rodrigo Reyes

Credit: Colombia.com

A relative fresh face in the filmmaking world, this Mexican director garnered buzz on his documentary Purgatorio, which reimagined the Mexican / U.S. border as a mythical place. He’s also an extremely practical artist. The advice he gave to Filmmaker Magazine? Don’t quit your day job. “I wholeheartedly embrace the truth that it is incredibly rare for someone to be dedicated completely to his or her work.”


11.  Cecilia Aldarondo

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Credit: Filmmaker Magazine

Aldarondo’s documentary subject hit very close to her home: she dove into the life and death of her uncle Miguel, who succumbed to AIDS in the ’80s. The story revolves as much around what isn’t said as much as what is. Her family, she learns, was not exactly forthcoming when it came to details of Miguel’s life after leaving Puerto Rico, and that included details about his partner, Robert… who then became a monk. Through Aldarondo’s lens, a story that feels quintessentially Latino finds new life and depth.


12. José Nestor Marquez

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Credit: Telemundo

If you’re a lover of sci-fi thrillers, you should know José’s name. He’s behind Reversion, a film that tackles the nature of our memories and our increased reliance on technology. A Latino director in the world of science fiction is so important – and gives major hope to science fiction nerds everywhere.


13. Reinaldo Marcus Green

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Credit: Reinaldo Marcus Green / IMDB

An actor, writer, and producer in addition to being a director, Green is an NYU grad who made waves at Sundance with his short film Stop, and earned a much-deserved spot on Filmmaker Magazine’s 2015 list of 25 New Faces of Indie Film.


14. Damián Szifron

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Credit: Víctor Santa María / Wikipedia

A hustler to the nth degree, this man made one of two Latino-oriented films that earned high recognition at Cannes. His film Wild Talesis a series of vignettes that he wrote AND directed. These overachievers, man.


15. Diego Lerman

Credit: Miami Film Festival

While Lerman works primarily in Argentina, his film Refugiado has gained notable traction internationally.


It can totally feel frustrating when we see a lack of Latino represented at film festivals, awards shows, and in our movie theaters. But this list reminds me that there are tons of us out there, working hard and creating art, and it’s totally inspiring.


WATCH: A Group of Students Made a Día de los Muertos Film and It’s Actually Pretty Good

Who are some of your favorite Latino directors? mitú wants to know – leave a comment below!

J.Lo’s Celebrating Selena Video Is The Heartwarming Content We Need Right Now

Entertainment

J.Lo’s Celebrating Selena Video Is The Heartwarming Content We Need Right Now

jlo / Instagram

Selena will always be a legend for Latino music lovers. The Tejano singer gave us English and Spanish songs that continue to rock our worlds. Her music is still played on the radio, in bars, and she always makes it to a few playlists out there. This weekend, people took some time to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the release of the biopic honoring the singer.

Jennifer Lopez came through on #CelebratingSelena with her own video honoring the singer and her chance to play the role.

We’ve all seen the movie more times than we care to count. It was probably one of the most impactful movies in our younger years. It was so wonderful to see our culture represented through Selena. It was a rare moment of fully authentic representation and it is not something we will ever forget.

J.Lo’s tweet hit Selena fans in the feels as they all took time to remember the late singer.

Selena was grace and class personified. Her ability to jump into the mainstream as a Latin singer shows the kind of power she had in the music industry. She broke down barriers for Latina artists who have come after her to lead successful careers, like J.Lo and Shakira.

Who could forget the iconic bustier scene?

You know you quote “busti-caca” way more than you want to admit to. It might just be the most quotable line in the whole movie. Now that most of us are working from home until further notice, it would be a great time to watch one of the most iconic Latino films of all time.

It is still inspiring people to pay tribute to La Reina.

Even 25 years after her death, people are loving her sound and keeping her memory alive through tribute videos and just listening to her music. Selena truly is someone people will never forget. She was recently inducted into the Houston Rodeo’s Star Trail of Fame and continues to be a major figure in Latino American pop culture.

Don’t worry. You can spend any day celebrating Selena because she is one person who is always worth celebrating.

READ: Selena Is The First Latin Inducted Into Houston Rodeo’s Star Trail Of Fame

Disney+ Is Bringing Back ‘The Proud Family’ Series, This time They’re Prouder And Louder

Entertainment

Disney+ Is Bringing Back ‘The Proud Family’ Series, This time They’re Prouder And Louder

The…
Proud…
Family…
What?

Get ready Disney + streamers, an old favorite is coming back around.

A recent announcement by Disney + revealed that the online streamers has greenlighted “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.”

According to Deadline, Disney + has greenlit the return of the early 2000s Disney Channel series. No airdate has been announced BUT so far we do know that the streamer intends to bring back the original cast and executive producers of the show.

In a statement about the return of the series, original series creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar said that in their “minds, the show never really went away, as we still had tons of stories left to tell. It’s the perfect time to bring back this show, and we can’t wait to take fans, old and new alike, on this journey with us.”

Disney Channel had an iconic moment during the 1990s and early 2000s. The channel gave use Disney Original Movies that we still remember to this day. Not to mention, the network was pumping out some of the best TV shows animated and live-action. One of those shows that will always be in our mind is “The Proud Family.”

Let’s start with singing along to one of the most iconic theme songs of TV history.

Brought to you by none other than Solange and Destiny’s Child, “The Proud Family” theme song is something you will never forget. Be honest. As soon as this song started playing, all of the words have come flooding back to you and you’re singing along.

This show brought Black culture to the Disney audience like never before.

There is a reason that people are so connected to the show. It was fun, authentic, and delivered by the best cast imaginable.

Of course, so many of us clung to the Afro-Latino Boulevardez family.

Credit: The Proud Family / Disney

LaCienega Boulevardez was one of Penny’s closest friends and her neighbor. Her parents, Felix and Sunset Boulevardez, along with her abuelo Papi, were always involved with the shenanigans with the Proud family one way or the other. It was a moment in time when we were able to see an Afro-Latino family represented like every other family but with two cultures instead of one.

And it wasn’t until we were older that we got the joke about their names.

Credit: calvinstowell / Twitter

La Cienega and Sunset boulevards are major roads in Los Angeles and La Cienega deadends into Sunset in West Hollywood. That’s right. The daughter and mother from the Boulevardez family are named after two major LA roads.

Alisa Reyes gave her voice to LaCienega Boulevardez.

Credit: alisareyes / Instagram

The “All That” cast member is the woman behind the iconic Disney cartoon character. Since the show, Reyes has continued acting and has become a musician. If you want to check out her music, you can check out her video for her single “Sexy Hot” here.

Sunset Boulevardez was voiced by Maria Canals-Barrera.

Credit: maria_cb / Instagram

Before “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” Canals-Barrera was Sunset Boulevardez. Honestly, one of the most iconic Disney moms ever.

Who else knew that Carlos Mencia was the voice behind Felix Boulevardez.

Credit: arlosmencia / Instagram

Now that I listen to it, I can definitely hear it. It wasn’t long after the start of “The Proud Family” that Mencia’s career really took off.

LaCienega Boulevardez holds a very important place in television history, even if she had big feet.

It was one of the first times young Afro-Latina viewers could see themselves finally represented on television. The character existing on a children’s cartoon show makes it even more impactful. It is a storyline and identity so rarely seen on television at the time.

The show included Afro-Latino celebrities into the story with well-placed cameos.

Who could possibly forget Mariah Carey playing Mariah Carey? Her pet monkey François was sick and, fortunately, Dr. Trudy Proud was able to help Carey’s pet get better.

In the time of reboots and revivals, it is nice to go back and revisit some of your faves exactly as they were. All these years later, “The Proud Family” continues to be one of those shows we all love and remember.

Who else remembers watching “The Proud Family” when they were younger?