December 18, 1998

Chicano Studies Journal Aztlán Takes Aim at AFIS Exclusion of Women and Minorities in its "100 Greatest American Films"

Announces Top 100 Chicano Films

In the latest issue of the Chicano studies journal Aztlán, editor Chon Noriega takes aim at the American Film Institutes exclusion of films directed by women and minorities in its much-publicized list of the 100 greatest American movies.

In it, Noriega, a UCLA film historian and theorist, charges that by excluding women, gays and racial minorities from both Hollywood and the history books that define our nations cinema, America is being robbed of its history. The AFI list, he said, includes 100 pictures directed primarily by white men making big profits and good press for the studios, and excludes independent films, documentaries, avante-garde cinema and short narratives.

Recognized in Top-100 Chicano Films List, Foto-Novelas. Pictured to the left is the novela "In the Mirror" and to the right "The Fix."

"Hollywood is not an equal opportunity employer, and each year the employment numbers get a little worse," said Noriega, who two years ago took over as faculty editor of Aztlán, the nations preeminent scholarly journal in Chicano studies. "This list is being done in our name, as Americans. When an industry and an institute team up to lay claim to the sum of our nationality, we lose the one thing they are claiming to preserve: our national heritage a very complex, diverse and rich heritage."

As a result of the lack of diversity represented in the AFI list, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center established its own AFI, the Aztlán Film Institute, and presented its own top 100 list.

Nearly 2,500 ballots were received. "We suspected the Chihuahua," Noriega said, "but it was really democracy at work." Films were judged in four categories: documentaries, experimental, short or television narrative, and feature film.

"As the other but more inclusive AFI, we also stressed diversity, making sure to include male and female, straight and queer, Chicano and a few non-Chicano media artists," said Noriega, an associate professor of critical studies in the School of Theater, Film and Television. "What this list presents is a provisional Chicano film and video heritage, one that remains outside the official histories of the American cinema. Of course, we got so inclusive that we ended up with 149 titles in our top 100 list, but that's the price you pay."

While the Aztlán Film Institute did not rank films in order of importance, it cites the independent film "Please Don't Bury Me Alive/Por Favor, ¡No me Entierren Vivo! (1976)" as a pivotal film that inspired an independent film movement in Mexico. The low-budget film, directed by Mexican American Efraín Gutiérrez, uncovered barrio life in South Texas and served as an impetus for regional filmmaking.

Established in 1970, Atzlán was the country's first interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed academic journal to address Chicano issues and played a major role in the development of Chicano studies as a field of study. Published semi-annually by the Chicano Studies Research Center, the journal focuses on scholarly essays in the humanities, the social sciences and the arts.



  • I Am Joaquin (1969) El Teatro Campesino
  • América Tropical (1971) Jesús Salvador Treviño
  • Requiem 29 (1971) David Garcia
  • Yo Soy Chicano (1972) Jesús Salvador Treviño
  • Cinco Vidas (1972) José Luis Ruiz
  • La Raza Unida (1972) Jesús Salvador Treviño
  • Si Se Puede (1973) Rick Tejada-Flores
  • Carnalitos (1973) Bobby Páramo
  • Cristal (1974) Severo Pérez
  • Garment Workers (1975) Susan Racho
  • The Unwanted (1975) José Luis Ruiz
  • La Onda Chicana (1976) Efraín Gutiérrez
  • Agueda Martinez: Our People, Our Country (1977) Esperanza Vasquez Chicana (1979) Sylvia Morales Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983) Isaac Artenstein and Espinoza Rag Top Ralph (1984) Juan Garza.

  • The Lemon Grove Incident (1986) Paul Espinoza
  • Santeros (1986) Ray Tellez
  • When You Think of Mexico: Commerical Images of Mexico (1986) Yolanda Lopez
  • No Porque lo Diga Fidel Castro (1988) Graciela Sanchez
  • La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (1988) Lourdes Portillo
  • Chicano Park (1988) Marilyn Mulford and Mario Barrera
  • Mi Otro Yo (1988) Philip & Amy Brookman
  • Mbamba (1989) Olivia Chumacero
  • Uneasy Neighbors (1989) Paul Espinosa
  • Una Lucha Por Mi Pueblo (1990) Federico Antonio Reade
  • Twenty Years . . . y que? (1990) Nancy de los Santos
  • The New Tijuana (1990) Paul Espinosa
  • Friday Night under the Stars (1990) Rick Leal
  • Los Mineros (1991) Hector Galan and Paul Espinosa De Mujer a Mujer (1993) Beverley Sanchez-Padilla Cholo Joto (1993) Augie Robles ¡Viva 16! (1994) Valentin Aguirre and Augie Robles El Diablo Nunca Duerme/The Devil Never Sleeps (1994) Lourdes Portillo Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (1996) Four-part documentary series. Executive producer: José Luis Ruiz. Series producer: Hector Galán. Segment producers: Robert Cozens, Hector Galán, Sylvia Morales, Mylene Moreno, and Susan Racho. The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers Struggles (1996) Ray Telles and Rick Tejada-Flores

    Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary (1997) Laura Angélica Simón


  • My Trip in a 52 Ford (1966) Ernie Palomino
  • Mozo, or an Introduction into the Duality of Orbital Indecision (1968) Severo Pérez
  • Ghost Town (1974) Willie Varela
  • Beckys Eye (1975) Willie Varela
  • Cruel Profit (1975) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • No Movies (1975-1978) Harry Gamboa Jr. and Asco
  • April 1977 (1977) Willie Varela
  • Entelequia (1978) Juan Salazar
  • Mi Hermano, Mi Hambre (1978) Gustavo Vazquez
  • Stan and Jane Brakhage (1980) Willie Varela
  • Night Vigil (1982) Betty Maldonado
  • Recuerdos de Flores Muertas (1982) Willie Varela
  • Imperfecto (1983) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Insultan (1983) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Vaporz (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Baby Kake (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Blanx (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Agent Ex (1984) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Fearless Leader (1985) Willie Varela
  • In Progress (1985) Willie Varela
  • Juntos en la Vida, Unidos en la Muerte (1985) Willie Varela

    No Supper (1987) Harry Gamboa Jr.

    Border Crossing, Versions One and Two (1988) Willie Varela

  • Anima (1989) France Salomé España
  • Replies of the Night (1989) Sandra P. Hahn
  • Making Is Choosing: A Fragmented Life: A Broken Line: A Series of Observations (1989) Willie Varela
  • Reaffirmation (1990) Willie Varela
  • Cronica de un Ser (1990) S. M. Peña
  • The Idea We Live In (1990) Pilar Rodriguez
  • Mujeria: The Olmeca Rap (1991) Osa Hidalgo de la Riva
  • Border Brujo (1991) Isaac Artenstein
  • Slipping Between (1991) Sandra P. Hahn
  • L.A. Merge (1991) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • El Espejo (1991) Frances Salomé España
  • A History of Violence (1991) Danny G. Acosta
  • A Lost Man (1992) Willie Varela
  • Columbus on Trial (1992) Lourdes Portillo
  • Ramona: Birth of a Mis*ce*ge*NATION (1992) El Mundo L.A.: Humberto Sandoval, Actor (1992) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • L.A. Familia (1993) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Thanksgiving Day (1993) Willie Varela
  • Loner with a Gun (1994) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Fire Ants for Nothing (1994) Harry Gamboa Jr.
  • Border Swings/Vaivenes Fronterizos (1994) Berta Jottar
  • Straight, No Chaser (1995) Eugene Rodriguez
  • In Saturn (1996) Willie Varela
  • Depression (1996) Laura Aguilar
  • Knife (1996) Laura Aguilar
  • The Body (1996) Laura Aguilar
  • Short or Video Narratives:

  • Los Vendidos (1972) Luis Valdez
  • El Corrido (1976) Luis Valdez
  • Guadalupe (1976) José Luis Ruiz
  • Despues del Terremoto/After the Earthquake (1979) Lourdes Portillo and Nina Serrano
  • Seguin (1981) Jesús Salvador Treviño
  • Esperanza (1985) Sylvia Morales
  • Tormenta (1985) Juan Garza
  • The Royal Family (1987) Juan Garza
  • Who Gets to Water the Grass? (1987) Luis Meza
  • Esperanza (1987) Graciela Sanchez
  • Ojos que no ven (1987) José Gutiérrez-Gómez and José Vergelín
  • Corridos! Tales of Passion and Revolution (1987) Luis Valdez
  • Face to Face with AIDS (1988) Socorro Valdez
  • Mi Casa (1989) Edgar Bravo
  • Vida (1989) Lourdes Portillo Albert Pastors First Video Project (1989) Juan Garza
  • Distant Water (1990) Carlos Avila
  • The Trouble with Tonia (1990) Juan Garza
  • Mi Hermano (1990) Edgar Bravo
  • Between Friends (1990) Severo Perez
  • Always Roses (1990) Luis Avalos and George Figueroa
  • Ill Be Home for Christmas (1990) Robert Diaz LeRoy
  • The Detour (1991) Joseph and Raul Tovares
  • La Pastorela: The Shepherds Tale (1991) Luis Valdez
  • The Bike (1991) Gary Soto
  • Bedhead (1992) Robert Rodriguez
  • The Pool Party (1992) Gary Soto
  • Tanto Tiempo (1992) Cheryl Quintana Leader
  • How Else Am I Supposed to Know Im Still Alive? (1993) Evelina Fernández and José Luis Valenzula
  • La Carpa (1993) Carlos Avila
  • The Ballad of Tina Juarez (1994) Juan A. Uribe
  • Cruel (1994) Desi Del Valle
  • Mi Pollo Loco (1995) Andrew Durham, Rico Martinez, and Victor Vargas
  • El Corrido de Cherry Creek (1995) Gwylym Cano
  • Pretty Vacant (1996) Jim Mendiola
  • Foto-Novelas (1997) Four-part dramatic series: "Seeing Through Walls," "In the Mirror," "Mangas," "The Fix." Executive Producer: Carlos Avila. Episode directors: Carlos Avila and A. P. Gonzalez I.N.F.I.T.D. "I'll Not Fall into the Devil" (1997) Aldo Velasco

  • Jennifer Lopez starred in the feature film "Selena".

    Feature Films:

  • Please, Don't Bury Me Alive/Por Favor, (No me Entierren Vivo! (1976) Efraín Gutiérrez
  • Raíces de Sangre (Mexico, 1977) Jesús Salvador Treviño
  • Amor Chicano es Para Siempre/Chicano Love is Forever (1978) Efraín Gutiérrez
  • Only Once in a Lifetime (1978) Alejandro Grattan and Moctesuma Esparza
  • Run, Tecato/Junkie, Run (1979) Efraín Gutiérrez
  • Zoot Suit (1981) Luis Valdez
  • The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) Robert Young and Moctesuma Esparza
  • El Norte (1983) Gregory Nava
  • Heartbreaker (1984) Frank Zuniga
  • La Bamba (1987) Luis Valdez
  • Born in East L.A. (1987) Richard "Cheech" Marin
  • Break of Dawn (1988) Isaac Artenstein
  • Stand and Deliver (1988) Ramon Menendez
  • Kiss Me a Killer (1991) Marcus de Leon
  • American Me (1992) Edward James Olmos
  • El Mariachi (1992) Robert Rodriguez
  • River Bottom (1992 and 1994) Robert Diaz LeRoy
  • . . . and the Earth Did Not Swallow Him (1994) Severo Pérez and Paul Espinosa
  • A Million to Juan (1994) Paul Rodriguez
  • Mi Familia/My Family (1995) Gregory Nava
  • Painflower (1995) Fred Garcia
  • Follow Me Home (1995) Peter Bratt
  • The Big Squeeze (1996) Marcus de Leon
  • Staccato Purr of the Exhaust (1996) Luis M. Meza
  • Selena (1997) Gregory Nava and Moctesuma Esparza
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