July 25, 2003

The First Latino Producers Academy to Address Scarcity of Latinos In Media

UCLA’s June 2003 study, titled “Prime Time in Black and White,” describes how mainstream media has been slow to include Latino filmmakers, their stories and voices in the development of programming in America. The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) addresses this issue by creating the first Latino Producers Academy. Designed to advance the skills, projects and careers of Latino media makers, the Academy is a 7-day intensive for select film, television and documentary producers who applied to attend the August 1-7 workshop in Tucson, Arizona.

“Last month, the Census Bureau announced that Latinos are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority,” reminds NALIP Founding Board member Moctesuma Esparza. “Our buying power is over $650 billion. And yet we’re barely visible on the major broadcast networks, and in the offices of Hollywood studios and agencies. NALIP’s Academy moves to empower more Latino media leaders producers, executives, creators.”

After a competitive application and selection process, 36 Latino/a producers were invited from six states and two nations. The Academy brings together mentors and instructors in the areas of storytelling, entertainment law, production planning, marketing and new technologies. In addition, a repertory company of Latino actors will partner with producers to hold staged readings of works-in-progress each evening, in order to assist the script development process.

“NALIP recognizes that we must provide in-depth mentoring, and intimate opportunities for skills development to ensure that more Latino projects are produced, and more emerging and mid-career professionals have the tools they need to develop, fund and supervise film and television projects,” says NALIP Board Chair Frances Negron-Muntaner. This program is a logical growth from our Annual National Conference and regional workshops, and compliments those programs as we begin our fifth year as a service organization.”

Instructors for the first Latino Producers Academy include “Matter of Race” Producer Orlando Bagwell, “Resurrection Blvd.” Executive Producer Dennis Leoni, “Greetings from Tucson” Executive Producer Peter Murietta, “Gettysburg” producer Moctesuma Esparza, entertainment attorney Mark Litwak, Paramount Senior VP Chip Diggins, ICM Agent Eddie Borges, Women Make Movies distribution executive Deborah Zimmerman, HBO Executive Sam Martin and director Luis Mandoki.

“We developed a curriculum for this Academy by asking advice of the best,” says NALIP Executive Director Kathryn Galan. “UCLA’s Professional Certificate Program, the LA Film School, UT-Austin and the University of Arizona Media Arts Departments weighed in on what producers need after graduate school. The Sundance Institute and Corporation for Public Broadcasting offered ideas based on their excellent training programs. And filmmakers around the country told us where they needed support, guidance and input.”

NALIP is a national arts service organization that seeks to promote the advancement, development and funding of Latino/Latina film and media arts in all media.  Dedicated to addressing the professional needs of Latino independent producers.

In its fifth year, NALIP has produced four National Conferences with its Fifth Annual Conference scheduled for Santa Barbara, February 26 29, 2004.  In addition, NALIP provides professional development workshops in fundraising, pitching, grant-writing and technical skills around the country.

For additional information on Conference V or NALIP, please go to www.nalip.org

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