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15 Latino Directors Challenging Hollywood’s Huge Diversity Problem

MySpace / Janicza Bravo

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!

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

Culture

‘Fuller House’ Actor And Certified Daddy Juan Pablo Di Pace Comes Out And Yasss

juanpablodipace / Instagram

Argentinian actor Juan Pablo Di Pace recently came out in a TEDx video recorded in March. The video was released in late June giving Di Pace’s coming out story a special place in the 2019 Pride Month calendar. Social media erupted in applause and praise for the actor living his truth after so much time hiding in the closet.

Juan Pablo Di Pace came out of the closet as a gay man and is already living it up.

That’s right. Di Pace was living it up in Madrid during pride not long after the video of his talk coming out of the closet was publish. Honestly, it is something everyone should be celebrating. Someone being able to live their life fully is something that some people will never be able to understand. There is an attitude of in the Latino community that tries to shun and silence the LGBTQ+ community. Seeing a prominent member of the Latino community sharing his coming out story is such a positive example for younger people struggling to come out.

Di Pace’s coming out via a TEDx is one of the greatest moments of Pride Month 2019.

Not only did Di Pace come out of the closet, but his story about coming out and learning who he is is also very relatable to most members of the LGBTQ+ community. It wasn’t like he figured out that he was different. It had to be told to him.

“My mother says that I came out of her womb with a paper and pencil in my hand and that I used to draw until I fell asleep, which is why I had very few friends. But, actually, the truth is that, unlike most of the boys in my class, I preferred to play with girls. I was more comfortable. They were more fun,” Di Pace told the audience at his TEDx talk. “So, I didn’t think anything of it, right? Until I heard a word that I had never heard before. It started like a thunder that got closer and louder to me as it exploded like egg in my face: marícon, faggot. Well, I didn’t really understand that word at first but the word was here to stay for years. A little know book, as you might know as the Bible, starts with, ‘In the beginning, was the word and the word was made flesh and it dwelt among us.’ So, after failed attempts to fight against this word and try to make friends, my only option was to make friends with white sheets of paper. Paper would not shout or kick me. Paper was kind and on paper everything and anything was possible, just like in the movies.”

The moment of being made to feel and know that you are different from everyone else is something most people deal with at the beginning of coming out. It is a harsh, and some times dangerous, moment that starts the process of coming out and learning who you are as a person.

Fans of the actor showered him with praise and love for coming out.

Credit: judygeitz / Instagram

Coming out, no matter how old you are or how successful you are, is a terrifying experience. You have to be prepared for people to shun you. You need to be ready for people to speak down to you. It is not an easy or fun process for a lot of people.

The emotional reception to Di Pace’s coming is filled with love and appreciation.

Credit: iamlibrado / Instagram

This is something the Di Pace should be so proud of. It is so important for people to come out of the closet. By coming out of the closet, you force others around you to confront their own ideas of the LGBTQ+ community. When people know someone personally who is LGBTQ+, they tend to become more accepting of the community allowing for more people to come out in a safer environment.

You are with your chosen family now, Juan.

Credit: stillwater1979 / Instagram

All people in the LGBTQ+ community understand the importance of a chosen family. Even if your family accepts you, it is important to have a chosen family. It is a way to learn what it means to be gay and how to live life open in a world that can sometimes be really cruel. Your family will want to help but it is hard for your mom and dad to teach about LGBTQ+ culture.

Congratulations on coming out Juan. Sending lots of love.

READ: Grab The Tissues! These Latinas Told Us Their Coming Out Stories And We Have Been Sobbing In Pride

George R.R. Martin Says The Starks WILL be in the ‘GOT’ Prequel That Takes Thousands Of Years Before The Original Series

Entertainment

George R.R. Martin Says The Starks WILL be in the ‘GOT’ Prequel That Takes Thousands Of Years Before The Original Series

If you have a giant hole in your heart (and your Sunday nights) where Game of Thrones used to reside, then you’re probably one of the many fans who is waiting for the recently-announced GOT prequel series with bated breath. According to HBO, the series will chronicle “the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”. The still-unnamed series will cover everything from White Walkers to the “mysteries of the East” to the “Starks of legend”. In other words, we’ll be watching. But until the series premieres (it’s currently filming in Northern Ireland), fans are still trying to find out as much information as possible about the new show when much of the details have been kept under wraps.

Recently, the “Song of Ice and Fire” author George R R Martin (who also serves as an Executive Producer on the new series) sat down in an interview with Entertainment Weekly to answer some of the fans’ burning questions regarding the who, what, and where of the prequel. Read on to find out some of the exciting facts he shared about the upcoming series!

1. The show will be set thousands of years before the events of “Game of Thrones” took place

@beautifulcelebz/Twitter

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, George R R Martin described the time period that the new prequel would be set in: “We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” he said. “But if you go back further, then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.” According to the Game of Thrones Wikia, this time period is set during the “Age of Heroes”, a time period that happened 5,000-10,000 years ago.

2. It is a truly female-led production

@IGN/Twitter

Not only was the pilot written by showrunner Jane Goldman, but the recently-announced cast consists of Naomi Watts, Naomi Ackie, and Denise Gough. This is a stark (no pun intended) departure from the original series that was written, produced, and directed by almost an exclusively male production team, which often came under fire for its portrayal and treatment of women on the show.

In other exciting news, this cast also includes people of color, including black British actress Naomi Ackie and American Latino actor Marquis Rodriguez. This is also a massive change for the epic fantasy series which had only a few people of color in its sprawling ensemble cast.

3. The Starks will be in the prequel

@frankpallotta/Twitter

Die-hard “Game of Thrones” fans know that it’s only logical if members of House Stark appear in the prequel. After all, House Stark is one of the oldest lines of Westerosi nobility, with their line of descent being able to be traced back eight thousand years. According to George R. R. Martin himself in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, “The Starks will definitely be [in the prequel]”. We’re definitely pumped about this. What’s a “Game of Thrones” show without the noblest and (blindingly) loyal family in all of Westeros there to root for?

4. There will be White Walkers, direwolves, and…mammoths? Oh my!

@theonion/Twitter

Just as “Game of Thrones” was full of giants and dragons and witches, the prequel will also have no shortage of mythical creatures. “Obviously the White Walkers are [in the prequel] and that will be an aspect of it,” said Martin. “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.” We, for one, can’t wait to see giant CGI mammoths marching across our TV screens.

5. The Lannisters won’t be there to pay their debts.

@cinderela_q/Twitter

According to Martin, the Lannisters, along with their wily ways, have not yet entered the Westerosi picture. Instead, Casterly Rock (the famous castle that the Lannisters occupied in the original series) will be occupied by, well…the House of Casterly. “The Lannisters aren’t there yet, but Casterly Rock is certainly there,” Martin said. “It’s actually occupied by the Casterlys — for whom it’s still named after in the time of Game of Thrones”. According to legend previously referenced to in the GOT universe, Lann (the founder of House Lannister) “won Casterly Rock from the noble house of Casterly during the Age of Heroes” using “only his wits”. Here’s to hoping that storyline features prominently on the new series!

With all of this new information, we’re certain that the “Game of Thrones” prequel will perfectly scratch the itch that we’ve been having since the dear departure of our beloved fantasy series. Now, all that we have to do is wait for someone to leak information about the series premiere so we can send out invites to our watch party. Until then, we’ll just be re-watching old episodes on HBO.

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