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!

Jennifer Lopez Wants to Play Batman One Day and Here’s What That All Latinx Cast Could Look Like

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Jennifer Lopez Wants to Play Batman One Day and Here’s What That All Latinx Cast Could Look Like

jlo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez has proven over her long career that she can do anything. Whether she’s acting as a musician, actress or businesswoman, she’s shown what talent and dedication can bring to her every role. In fact, JLo is hoping to one day bring that famous work ethic to another unexpected part. 

In a recent sit down for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” interview, JLo talked with the newly cast Batman, Robert Pattinson. During the captivating interview, the two began talking about how they choose the roles that they decide to take on. This brought up the topic of the upcoming “Batman” movie. When Lopez mentioned that she thought Pattison will make an excellent Batman, the actor countered by saying the Latina superstar would be a great Batman as well. To which, Lopez responded, “I could be Batman. Why not? I think as an actor, it would be fun to explore.”

This interaction got us thinking. We would love to see a “Batman” movie led by JLo as the Caped Crusader but an all Latinx cast would be even better. Gotham better get ready because here’s what an all Latinx “Batman” movie could look like. 

Jennifer Lopez as Batman

Instagram / @jlo

What does it take to play Batman? It needs to be an actor who has the athleticism to do justice to the Dark Knight while still having the charisma to play the Bat’s billionaire counterpart. Anyone who’s seen JLo’s on-stage antics knows she’s got the skills to wear the cape and it’s no question that she’s a charismatic individual. To top it off, with movies like “Hustlers” under her belt, JLo has proven that she can lead to big bucks at the box office. As far as we’re concerned, she can play the superhero whenever she likes. 

Diego Boneta as Robin

Instagram / @diego

The actor who plays Robin will need to have boyish good looks, the ability to bring some humor to the script’s dark moments and the same athleticism as Batman. His staring role in “Rock of Ages” more than proved that Diego Boneta’s got the moves and his time on “Pretty Little Liars” and “90210” have cemented him as a heartthrob. Sounds like we’ve got ourselves a Boy Wonder.

Edward James Olmos as Alfred

Instagram / @sterling_gold_

Who better to play JLo’s father-like confidant than the man who first played her dad on the big screen. Edward James Olmos is definitely a legend in his craft and would bring an air of wisdom necessary to play Batman’s trusted butler. He’ll also make sure Batman isn’t leaving the cave in any bustiers. 

Becky G as Batgirl

Instagram / @iambeckyg

With her role as the Yellow Ranger in the big screen adaptation of ‘Power Rangers,” Becky G has already  shown us that she’s got the skills to play a superhero. Her naturally spunky personality would also be perfect to bring the bold and sarcastic Batgirl to life in an all Latinx reboot.

Pedro Pascal as Catwoman

Instagram / @pascalispunk

If we are going to gender bend the role of Batman, we might as well do the same for the Bat’s love interest, Catwoman. His role as Oberyn Martell in “Game of Thrones” showed us what the actor can do with a staff. Just imagine that same skill applied with a whip instead and we’ve got ourselves a dynamite Catwoman. The possibility of seeing Pascal in a catsuit is an added bonus. 

Benicio Del Toro as the Joker

Instagram / @actorzrevolutionz7

Benicio Del Toro has a talent for playing bad guys and, if the bad guys are more than slightly unhinged, it’s all the better. No bad guy is a bigger nemesis to the Caped Crusader than the Joker and we can definitely see Del Toro in this role. Think of his performance as Jack Rafferty in “Sin City” mixed with his time as The Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s the kind of energy he could bring to the Clown Prince of Gotham.

Cardi B as Poison Ivy

Instagram / @iamcardib

Let’s consider Cardi’s 2019 Halloween costume as her unofficial audition for Poison Ivy. A femme fatele that can have any man she wants eating out of the palm of her hand? That sounds like Cardi to us. Plus, the rapper would be rejoining her “Hustlers” costar JLo. Seeing them pole dance together was just the preview to them fighting each other in this all Latinx reboot. 

Oscar Isaac as the Penguin 

Instagram / @oscarisaacdaily

Oscar Isaac is another actor who has a history of taking on strange and thought provoking roles. Though he’s best known now for is time as Poe in “Star Wars,” he’s also played straight-up villians. His performances as Blue Jones in “Sucker Punch” and Nathan Bateman in “Ex Machina” truly show the range he can bring to a complex character such as the Penguin. Added bonus: he looks great in a three-piece suit. 

After A Nearly 3 Decade-Long Career, Shakira Is Giving Us A Well Deserved Documentary And We’re LIVING

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After A Nearly 3 Decade-Long Career, Shakira Is Giving Us A Well Deserved Documentary And We’re LIVING

Youtube

Shakira first gained fame in her native Colombia in the mid 1990s. And as a young millennial who grew up to her music, it’s hard to believe that the singer’s been such an iconic presence in Latinx music for almost three decades now. Shakira has built a name for herself as an entertainment powerhouse, this Latina has changed pop culture and reigns supreme as the hip-shaking queen. This year, she’s back from a vocal injury with a whole documentary —which will be premiering in theaters this month. 

In November 2017, Shakira suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage.

After a vocal injury which forced the singer to postpone her first tour in seven years — and her first since becoming a mother to two sons— Shak is ready to bounce back with a documentary that brushes on her vocal-cord hemorrhage injury, but mainly follows her in her 2017 tour ‘El Dorado’.

El Dorado, in 2017, marked her first U.S. trek in seven years. The run, however, was delayed for several months until Shakira recovered from her injury. 

We’ll get to see the Colombiana perform all of her classics. 

The 30-second trailer for the documentary, opens with shots that capture Shakira’s difficult recovery. But the rest of the trailer is packed with shots teasing the singer’s iconic return as she dances across the stage, plays guitar, beats the drums and sings to her classics “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.”

Shakira took control of 100% of what went down during her ‘El Dorado’ tour.

instagram @shakira

Much like Beyonce did in her Homecoming show and ‘documentary’, this Latina diva took absolute control of every aspect of her live show: from the lighting to the musical arrangements to the choreography. “I want to look sexy as hell, or I cancel this!” yells Shakira with zeal to her crew during rehearsal in a scene of the film —and we can relate on a deep spiritual level.

In contrast to Beyonce though, and other superstars of her level, on this tour Shakira had no backup dancers, “I wanted the freedom to improvise,” she says to the camera during the film. The set design was purposefully minimalistic —inspired, she says, by Anton Corbijn, one of her favorite visual artists, who has directed music videos for U2, Metallica, and Depeche Mode.

The documentary was co-directed by the singer and will feature a lot of clips from her 2018 show in LA.

Shakira co-directed Shakira in Concert with James Merryman, and much of the movie was filmed at the pop star’s August 2018 concert in Los Angeles. The film will also feature behind-the-scenes clips and narration from Shakira.

Latinx music fans will also get to see other singers who have collaborated with Shakira.

instagram @nickyjampr

Fans of reggaeton are in for a treat! The documentary also features a few behind-the-scenes moments of Shakira in the studio with Maluma and Nicky Jam, writing and recording their songs ‘Perro Fiel’ and ‘Chantaje’ together. We’ll get to catch glimpses of her interacting with her family —aka her hottie of a husband, Gerrard Pique— and her band during rehearsals and between concerts. Viewers will even get to see her dancing and singing aboard her private plane, still brimming with adrenaline after performing the nightly two-hour-long show.

El Dorado won’t be available on streaming platforms just yet —the singer has something much bigger planned.

Instagram @shakira

Unlike other pop-star documentaries, El Dorado won’t be immediately available on streaming services or DVD. Shakira wanted her fans to have a communal fan experience by screening it in theaters. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will be shown in more than 2,000 theaters in more than 60 countries on the same day. Alongside the film, there will be a live album of the tour coming out this week as well. 

Shakira dedicated ‘El Dorado’ to her fans.

instagram @shakira

The entire project, the film and album, is a gift to fans who have been with her through thick and thin and who, Shakira says, are the true protagonists of El Dorado. “When an artist decides to go on tour, in a way, he or she needs reaffirmation,”  she said. “We need to confirm that there’s people out there loving us, worshipping what you do. . . . [There’s] a very narcissistic motivation behind all of that.”  “When I came out on tour this time, there was none of that. I just wanted to do it for them, because they were there for me.”

Tickets for Shakira in concert are available on the film’s website. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will premiere internationally on November 13th