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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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After 17 Seasons “Grey’s Anatomy” Has Finally Cast Its First Indigenous Doctor

Entertainment

After 17 Seasons “Grey’s Anatomy” Has Finally Cast Its First Indigenous Doctor

Courtesy of ABC

Just when you thought “Grey’s Anatomy” had literally done every storyline in the book, they turn around and surprise you. And this time, “Grey”‘s is bringing some good news.

Now, in 2021, after 17 seasons, “Grey’s Anatomy” is finally featuring its first indigenous doctor, Dr. James Chee, played by actor Robert I Mesa.

Robert I Mesa is an actor of Navajo and Soboba descent. According to an online biography, Mesa is self-taught photographer, filmmaker and actor working in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mesa took to Instagram to celebrate the good news about being the first indigenous doctor on “Grey’s”.

“I’m so excited and honored to be the first indigenous doctor on Grey’s Anatomy,” he wrote. “James Chee will be back on April 15, so be sure to tune in…Thank you so much To Grey’s Anatomy! I know this is going to mean so much to my indigenous peoples.” He ended the caption with “it’s a good day to be indigenous”

Although now Mesa is now on one of the biggest shows on TV, he is still a relative newcomer to showbiz and “Grey’s” will be his first major role after appearing on episode three of this season.

“Grey’s Anatomy” has always prided itself in hiring diverse actors to fill its cast.

In fact, when “Grey’s” creator Shonda Rhimes first created the show in 20–, she instructed her casting director to bring in actors of all races to audition. “The script was written with no character descriptions, no clue as to what anyone should look like,” she told Oprah in 2006.

“We read every color actor for every single part. My goal was simply to cast the best actors. I was lucky because the network said, ‘Go for it.'”

Those directions led to one of the most culturally and racially diverse casts in TV history. And it also changed the television landscape forever.

“When they had me come in to read for the role of chief of surgery, I hadn’t seen an African American in that kind of role before,” James Pickens Jr, who plays Dr. Richard Webber, said to The Hollywood Reporter.

He continued: “Shonda always wanted to make sure that the show impacted the landscape in a way that we hadn’t seen before on TV. I like to think that Grey’s had a big part in how the industry casts shows.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” has paved the way for other racially-diverse Shondaland shows like “How to Get Away With Murder”, “Scandal”, “Station 19”, and most recently, “Bridgerton.”

We’re glad that an iconic television staple like “Grey’s Anatomy” is finally expanding its diverse cast to include its first indigenous doctor.

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A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Entertainment

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Break out the tres leches! It’s gonna be a wedding of “epic proportions!” Cuban-style!

That’s right, the beloved 1991 film Father of the Bride is getting a remake. This time, the film will star 64-year-old actor Andy Garcia, the patriarch of a Cuban American family, struggling to see his daughter walk down the aisle.

Garcia will star in and executive produce the upcoming Warner Bros. remake of Father of the Bride, a story that will follow a Cuban American family.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B will produce the remake with Gaz Alazraki, director of Club de Cuervos, set to helm.

“I’m very excited to join The Father of the Bride, a beloved film that has brought so much joy to so many over the years and to represent my Cuban culture and heritage in this story,” Garcia explained in a statement published by THR. “I commend Warner Brothers for their foresight and celebrate this opportunity they have created.” 

Garcia’s remake is the latest in the franchise, which first came out in 1950 and starred actor Spencer Tracey and Elizabeth Taylor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The first film inspired a sequel, also starring Tracey and Taylor, called Father’s Little Dividend. The film was remade forty-years later with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in the 1991 version. Garcia’s upcoming take will focus on a similar storyline. According to THR, “the latest remake will center on the father of a soon-to-be bride coming to terms with daughters’ nuptials. But the latest take will be told through the relationships in a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.”

The 1991 cast of the film reunited in September for a Netflix special. 

father of the bride
BUENA VISTA PICTURES

The feature filmed memorable moments from the Nancy Meyers film and its 1995 sequel Father of the Bride II and showed “the Banks family’s” home in 2020. The reunion was produced to honor the World Central Kitchen amid the pandemic.

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