The Alice Initiative, an effort launched by a group of female film executives to shed a spotlight on emerging female talent behind the camera, has shared its list of 30 female filmmakers on the rise. Woo hoo! All the women on the list are talented, buzz-worthy, and telling innovative stories.
Where are the Latina directors?
Of the 30 women listed, it appears that only Melina Matsoukas (she’s directed music videos for the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna, made the much-anticipated pilot for HBO’s “Insecure” with Issa Rae), who is of Cuban descent, has a Latinx background. (Of course, if we missed someone else, let us know!) And one person out of a list of 30 is OK, but…
The truth is, Hollywood remains overwhelmingly non-Latinx, white and male.
This was mostly recently evidence by USC Annenberg’s 2015 Media, Diversity & Social Change report, as parsed by THR:
Only 14 of 2015’s top movies had a lead or co-lead from the underrepresented groups. Nine were black, one Latino and four of mixed race. Not one lead or co-lead was played by an Asian actor. Seventeen percent of the films did not feature one black or African-American. Asian actors did not appear across 49 of the films.
Behind the camera, of 1,365 key creatives who worked on the top films of 2015, the numbers were stark. There were eight female directors (7.5 percent); 30 female writers (11.8 percent), 220 female producers (22 percent) and just one female composer.
Among the 800 films surveyed since 2007, female directors numbered just 4.1 percent of those hired. And of those, only three were black or African-American and just one was Asian.
Plus, when you consider that of the few roles offered to Latinx, most are based on stereotypes, the need for not only more, but better Latinx representation, stories and viewpoints becomes all the more urgent.
The reality is, change cannot possibly be made if only Latinx outlets (like yours truly) champion Latinx artists. It is possible to be a Latinx who does not necessarily or solely seek out Latinx-specific stories, and it is possible for a story that deals with specifically Latinx themes, experiences and cultural touch points to be covered, shared, crtiqued, and heralded by non-Latinx. No meaningful change can be made if the work of seeking out and supporting Latinx artists is kept within an echo chamber.
So make things. And tell people about the great things you make. Tell people about the things other Latinx make that you enjoy. And hold people accountable when they don’t do the work of championing Latinx talent.
Time for a serious question: what makes a celebrity, a celebrity? How do they know they’ve made it? Is it by appearing in the tabloids for the first time? Or is it by winning industry awards? Or, maybe it’s to do with the amount of number of Insta followers they have?
Nah, it’s not any of those things. A celeb knows they’ve made it once they get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! So, we’ve put together a list of 20 latino celebrities that have got a real, bona fide star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You know, for the next time you’re playing Trivial Pursuit. Or when you wanna impress your Tinder date.
Xtina got her name emblazoned on the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 2010, having been awarded a Star of Recording. While she’s got plenty of reasons to have been selected for the honor, at the time of the award, Christina had gotten four number one singles on the Billboard’s Hottest 100 chart, won five Grammys, and sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.
Our girl Selena Quintanilla was awarded her Star of Recording only as recently as 2017! Since it was awarded posthumously, Selena’s family attended the ceremony, while her sister helped design the star itself. There’s no doubt that Selena was deserving. Her accomplishments include winning the Female Vocalist of the Year at the Tejano Music Awards for nineyearsin row, as well as being recognized as Billboard Magazine’s “Top Latin artist of the ‘90s”, “Best selling Latin artist of the decade,” and charted in 2016 as the “Top Latin Album of the Year, Female Artist.”
While Guillermo del Toro only received his star recently, it’s been a long time coming. His most recently released film, “The Shape of Water,” alone went onto win Golden Globes, BAFTAs, DGA, PGA and Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Production Design.
Even though Antonio Banderas received his star in 2005 for his achievements in film, that doesn’t mean that he’s not multitalented! He’s known for his acting, directing, producing and singing skills. Fun fact: Antonio Banderas holds the record for the highest salary for an extra, for the part he played in “Gladiator,” where he was paid $50,000. Nice.
Having received her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 1983 for her talents as a recording artist, Gloria Estefan is definitely a legend in her own right. She has won seven Grammy Awards and is in the top 100 best selling music artists of all time, with over 90 million albums sold worldwide.
Despite the fact that Shakira’s full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, she’s one of the few celebrities awarded with a star on the Walk of Fame that only has one name engraved on the star! 2011 was the year that she was formally recognized for her contributions to the music industry. She’s accrued 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards and two Grammys over the years for her bangers, which include “Whenever, Wherever,” “Hips Don’t Lie,” and “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).”
Andy García’s star for his acting abilities was awarded to him back in 1995. Having been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his part in “The Godfather Part III”, we’d probably know him better for the part he played in “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.”
8. Luis Miguel
Alright, so we were all in diapers when Luis Miguel got this award back in 1996, but his mariachis and boleros have lived on. He received 5 Grammy Awards by the time he hit 26. That’s estrella material right there.
Carlos Santana counts more than just a star of recording on the Hollywood Walk of Fame among his accolades. Rolling Stone name him number 15 on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003. In addition, Santana’s also won 3 Latin Grammy Awards and 10 Grammys.
Entertainment trade papers have named Sofia Vergara one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment, and for good reason. Her star in television, which was awarded in 2015, comes as no surprise when looking at her expansive acting career, retail lines, producing roles, successful Hispanic management agency and philanthropic endeavors.
Armando Christian Perez, or as we know him, Pitbull, received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording in 2016. Between his number one hits in over 15 countries, nine billion followers between his Youtube and VEVO channels, 70 million single sales and six million album sales, you’ve probably heard his name somewhere before.
After jiving away to number one hits such as “Maria” and “La Copa de la Vida,” there’s no way we’d forgive you if you said you didn’t know Ricky Martin. His star on the Walk of Fame for recording came to him a year after he was nominated as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine in 2006. Which is fair – he’s an absolute babe.
2018 was the year that Zoe Saldana was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to motion pictures. While you know her from movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Star Trek: Beyond,” and “Avatar,” you probably don’t know that she’s also launched digital platform “BESE” to shed a light on Latino stories in America.
Eva Longoria also received her star on the Walk of Fame in 2018, for her influence in television. She’s best known for her role as Gabrielle Solis in “Desperate Housewives,” which was the most popular show in its demographic, worldwide. It aired in 208 countries, with an audience of 120 million views. Imagine having that many people watching you on television every week!
15. George López
Get this: The comedian we all know and love said, “I remember being 15, and walking up and down (the Walk of Fame) and dreaming about what I wanted to do and never thinking it was going to be done,” said the star.
She’s a four-time Golden Globe nominee, Best Actress of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle, and has also won an MTV Movie Award, so it’s no wonder Cameron Diaz received a Walk of Fame star for her work in motion pictures in 2009. The biggest shame is the fact that she’s formally retired from acting, as of 2014.
JLo has made a name for herself as an actress, entertainer, music artist, film and television producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian. So which of these do you think landed her the star on the Walk of Fame in 2013? If you thought it was her career as a recording artist, you’d be right! We’re sure it’s only a matter of time before she gets another star for her other work.
She’s the “Queen of Latin Pop” and was honored like a jefe in December 2013. She’s truly a Renaissance woman, selling tens of millions of records, authoring four books and acting in star roles in several telenovelas. You should get a star for each category you star in.
She’s the first, and only, Hispanic actor to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. So, it seems only natural that Rita Moreno received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in motion pictures in 1995, right?
Having recorded more than 20 albums, written more than 300 songs, released eight number one hits, and won multiple Latin Grammys, Marco Antonio Solis definitely deserved his award of a star for recording in 2010.
There are some seriously talented and creative Latinos out there – as we can already see from the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars! Are there any Latinos you’ve wished would be awarded a star already? Let us know on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.
Streaming services like Netflix have become our go-to place for fresh media. So, whenever we hear of a new project coming from the streaming service, we’re all in. Last November, Netflix announced a huge 6 project animated deal that will bring even more cartoon goodness to our screens. One, in particular, has us especially excited because it comes from animator and director Jorge Gutierrez. You might remember him from Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” and the gorgeously animated “The Book of Life.”
Now, we’re seeing the first looks of Gutierrez’s new Netflix project, “Maya and the Three.”
Twitter / @mexopolis
Described as a Mesoamerican fantasy epic, the director sat down with VARIETY to share the origins of the project and the journey to get it made. Gutierrez was approached by Netflix with an alluring challenge: share his dream project with executives; the one he didn’t believe anyone would ever allow him to make. It only took him one pitch to win the streaming giant over and “Maya” was greenlit for production.
“So I sat down on Jan. 25th of  and that was the first time I ever pitched ‘Maya,’” he shared with VARIETY. “No art, no writing, just an idea. And here I am 11 months later, knee-deep in production.”
It was Gutierrez’s goal to portray a “bad-ass female Mesoamerican hero” in a fantasy world of his own creation.
Twitter / @zette16
“I started seeing a lot of things I didn’t like as far as not having any lead females, especially in Mesoamerican mythology,” he explained. “So I said I want to have a hero who is a half-god half-human warrior princess.”
In the Netflix series, a demigod warrior princess named Maya embarks on a quest to recruit three legendary fighters. With their help, she hopes to save the worlds of god and man from destruction. The intention was to show Maya as a strong female lead and, to do so, Gutierrez pulled from his real-life heroes. The director credits his sister, mother and his wife, Sandra Equihua for inspiring the mythical heroine. Equihua is also a talented animator and acts as a character designer for the female characters in her husband’s work.
With his female lead in place, Gutierrez focused on the mystical world that “Maya” would be set in.
Twitter / @mexopolis
The setting for the Netflix limited series has been growing in Gutierrez’s mind since he was a boy growing up in Mexico City. He would wander the halls of the Museum of Natural History and makeup stories about what he saw. These stories would later help to mold the setting. Even now, the director has fun teasing his Twitter followers with hints about what the new series could look like. However, it’s the architecture from his boyhood explorations, Gutierrez’s fondness for skulls and the pantheon of Mesoamerican gods that have helped to create Maya’s world.
Due to the mystical quest and the fantasy setting of “Maya and the Three,” Gutierrez has taken to calling the series the Mexican “Lord of the Rings.” Still, it’s a fantasy first and foremost. The director wants everyone to understand that “Maya” is inspired by Mesoamerican culture but is not meant to be an accurate representation.
“I tell everybody that while it’s inspired by Mesoamerica, this will be as accurate (to that world) as ‘Rocky’ was to boxing,” Gutierrez shared with VARIETY. “It’s all fantasy and I’m having a blast playing with the history.”
The series will feature a number of talented Latinx writers, producers and voice actors to bring Maya to life.
Instagram / @thraxisjr
Silvia Olivas from “Elena of Avalor” is acting as a co-writer and co-producer for “Maya and the Three.” From Disney’s “Moana,” Jeff Ranjo is the head of story. Paul Sullivan, who worked with Gutierrez on “The Book of Life,” is the production designer.
Despite these important hires, animators were in short supply so the producer had to get creative.
“Especially in L.A., we are all fighting for basically the same people, so now we’re looking outside. Before we announced Maya, I would go online and look for artists who were already inspired by Mesoamerica and say to them ‘You already love this stuff, we love it too! Come to our team.’”
Gutierrez used Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to find animators that could do justice to the project. This modern-day recruiting system allowed Gutierrez and his team to find fresh artists with untapped talent to animate “Maya.” The results promise to be unique and beautiful.
The series is still a long ways away; it won’t debut on Netflix until its 2021 worldwide release. While it’s a long wait, the director promises fans that it is well worth it.
“Please have patience,” he told fans through his VARIETY interview. “This is gonna take a while, but we hope it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen. We are so giddy every day and still can’t believe this is happening.”
Share this story with all of your friends by tapping our little share buttons below!