NALIP Media Summit 2015: Latina/o Filmmakers at the W Hotel

Latina/o & Chicana/o actors, directors, producers, screenwriters & showbiz in the heart of Hollywood, June 25 - 28

By Carlos San Miguel
Published on LatinoLA: June 24, 2015

NALIP Media Summit 2015: Latina/o Filmmakers at the W Hotel

June 25 28th, 2015 are the dates for this year's gathering of the NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) Media Summit. Talents like Gregory Nava, Salma Hayek, Moctesuma Esparza, Robert Rodriguez and many other Latina/os heavyweights have participated at past NALIP conferences leading the charge for Latina/os to strive to tell their stories in whatever medium they choose.

If you're a professional working in the entertainment industry (or would like to be) this is an event worth attending (even just one day, if you can't make it all four days) & tell a friend to network with filmmakers from around the country, who are passionate about their work and changing the image of the Latina/o community.

NALIP membership consists of directors, producers, writers, actors, educators, production crew and showbiz executives from all levels of experience. NALIP's main goal has been to help foster and develop creative talent both in front of & especially behind the camera, where it goes without saying there needs to be more diverse representation across the board.

The NALIP conference begins on Thursday afternoon at the W Hotel in Hollywood and continues in the evening at the Egyptian Theater with screenings of short films created by NALIP members, a documentary "No M?s Beb?s" is the story of immigrant mothers who sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were prodded into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and 70s. Led by an intrepid, 26-year-old Chicana lawyer and armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing young doctor, the mothers faced public exposure and stood up to powerful institutions in the name of justice.

Closing the opening nite will be a new feature film, "Ardor" starring Latino super star Gael Garcia Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries") & Alice Braga ("City of God," "I Am Legend"). Directed by Pablo Fendrik, the film tells the story of a visually sumptuous adventure about a mysterious man who emerges from the Argentinian rainforest to rescue a family from ruthless land-grabbers bent on stealing their farm. Ardor made its world premiere as an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

Friday morning the Media Summit will resume with a full day of panels covering everything from project financing, writing for major tv shows, distribution, Women in media, LGBT characters & more.

The panels and workshops vary from feature & short filmmaking, documentaries, screenwriting, reality TV, commercial production, creating songs & soundtracks, working within the world of PBS and of course the continuously evolving & boundless possibilities of Social Media and internet avenues which seem to just keep growing every year did you know there such a thing as "Vine celebrities" who actually make money from 7 second videos on social media app Vine and boast of having sometimes millions of followers?? Crazy, right?

On Sat starting at 9AM the wide range of panels continue all day & the keynote luncheon speaker will be A-Level actress/ producer/ director & activist: Eva Longoria. So yes the "big name talent" does show up to help inspire the up & comers who are working on their own projects, be it a short, a feature film or PBS documentary.

And she's just one of many working professionals from all areas of filmmaking who will be attending the 4 day summit. On Sat nite NALIP will hold an awards ceremony presenting a Lifetime Achievement award to actress & Hollywood icon, Raquel Welch. Filmmaker Eugenio Derbez will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award; actress Dascha Polanco (currently on Netflix's "Orange is the New Black") will be presented the Lupe Award (named in honor of the great Chicana matriarch Lupe Ontiveros), Rick Ramirez will receive the Industry Pioneer Award and Univision Communications Inc. will be bestowed the Media Advocacy Award.

And that's just sample of various things planned for this year's NALIP Summit.

For a full schedule of events, speakers, prices to attend, etc go to: http://nalip.org

NALIP was founded in 1999, by a group of passionate Chicana/o & Latina/o filmmakers & educators (Esparza among them), who were determined to open up the opportunities for Latina/o story tellers in all mediums. The first NALIP conference was held in San Francisco & it has been going strong every year since. Since those humble beginnings the national organization has grown exponentially into a great networking source for filmmakers nationwide and internationally who focus their work on creating HONEST portrayals of the Latina/o community and varied experiences.

Over the years member chapters sprouted across the U.S. & even in Latin America and the leadership of NALIP have created various avenues for participation thru mentorship programs, Screenwriting Labs, a Producers Academy and even providing funding sources & scholarships to help independent filmmakers tell their varied stories of the 21st century.

Speakers for the 2015 Summit range over 80 different professionals from across the spectrum of the entertainment industry, such as:

Eugenio Derbez - Actor, Writer, Director and Producer an undeniable talent with a vast list of film & tv credits in his native Mexico, but perhaps best known by U.S. general audiences for his recent feature film "Instructions Not Included" which broke box office records earning over $100 million and really woke up Hollywood power brokers to the potential for Spanish language films.

Chicana filmmaker, Aurora Guerero, whose debut independent feature film "Mosquita y Mari" has screened in over 100 film festivals since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her film, about two teenage Chicanas discovering their sexuality, has been recognized with multiple awards & nominations including the Independent Spirit Award & the GLADD nomination for Best Film Under $500,000. Currently Guerrero is hard at work on her second feature film.

Wilmer Valderama, Actor/ producer best known of course for his long run on the Fox sitcom "That 70's Show" but now recently working with Robert Rodriguez on his El Rey Network's "From Dusk 'til Dawn." Along the way Wilmer has also built a name for himself as a producer and activist including serving as a co-chair for VotoLatino a national organization to get young Latina/os registered to vote.

JOHN QUI?ONES, nationally recognized ABC NEWS correspondent & host of the popular tv show "Primetime: What Would You Do?" with a long and distinguished career in hard news & many Emmy awards to his credit there is no one better to glean from his experiences.

CHRISTY HAUBEGGER well known as the founder of Latina Magazine & who has a vast list of accolades & acknowledgements most notably being named one of Newsweek's 2001 "Women of the New Century" and in 2009 being appointed by President Obama to the "President's Commission on White House Fellows." She now works as an agent at Creative Artists Agency arguably one of the top talent agencies in Hollywood, with clients such as Salma Hayek, Sof?a Vergara, Eva Longoria, Pitbull, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Andy Garcia, and Rosario Dawson, among others.

Davy Perez, an East L.A. native & NALIP member all-star writer who participated in past NALIP & ABC Writer's workshops and in the past year joined the writing staff of ABC's successful new drama, "American Crime" where he'll be returning to for it's second season.

Lalo Alcaraz without doubt the most successful nationally syndicated Chicano cartoonist who's work has had readers cracking up for over 20 years, is now also a writer on Fox's upcoming animated show, "Bordertown" (premiering this fall). Lalo's work is well known from the New York Times, the Village Voice, the L.A. Times, Variety, Hispanic Magazine, Latina Magazine, Mexico's La Jornada, Germany's BUNTE and many other publications. As well he has been a radio host on LA's own 90.7 FM aka KPFK with his "Pocho Hour of Power" and other work as a performer. Lalo really has done it all and only continues to broaden his resume. A natural comedian and insightful speaker Lalo's comments will be a welcome voice to the discourse on Latino representation.

Jennifer Maytorena Taylor Assistant Professor in Social Documentation and the Department of Film and Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz. Her documentary work has screened some of the highest level film festivals & locations ie. the Sundance Film Festival, the New York Museum of Modern Art, on PBS, etc. Her most recent film, "Daisy and Max" was commissioned by Al Jazeera America. She helps in representing educators who have always been a part of NALIP since it's inception.

And that's just a small sample of the diverse list of women & men, including studio executives from the various major networks, etc who will be speaking on panels or participating as moderators at this year's summit.

Local Chicana Playwright/ Screenwriter & all around Super-Chingona Josefina Lopez commented, "I love NALIP - its where I get the best chisme of what's really going on in the business ... I catch up with a lot of friends and artists who are all in the same fight - to get Latinos represented Ǫ Things don't seem to get better, but at least you don't feel alone in this fight."

Last year at LALIFF (Los Angeles Latino Independent Film Festival) Lopez, best known for her play / turned feature film "Real Women Have Curves" debuted her new independent film "Detained In the Desert" based on her hit play (co- produced by Lopez & adapted for the screen/ directed by UCLA MFA alumni, Iliana Sosa). The film was created as a protest against the many current anti-immigrant laws.

From the film's website: "Detained in the Desert" is a human rights film and fundraiser for Border Angels, founded by Enrique Morones in 1986. Border Angels is a non-profit organization that works to stop the unnecessary deaths of individuals in the desert by delivering water in key points where migrants cross the desert. The film is a stand against hate and hate crimes in the US against immigrants and their families.

When asked about the hardest part for her when she first started working in the industry, Lopez said, "The idiotic comments studio executives made about Latinos ... Having to keep a smile and patiently educate them without pissing them off... It's been painful trying to tell stories that are out of the box when the studio/network just wants mediocre BS that pacifies people and distracts them for what is really important."

And as for advice to others looking to pursue their passion in storytelling, Lopez said,
"Be bold. Tell the truth... Keep telling the truth even if no one wants to present it or produce it."

For more about Josefina Lopez, go to her theater's website at: http://casa0101.org
And if you go see a play at Josefina's Boyle Heights theater tell them Carlos referred you.

For info about the film "Detained In the Dessert" go to: https://www.facebook.com/DetainedintheDesertMovie

Veteran Chicano director & NALIP founding member, Jesus Trevi??o (who's list of credits span a VERY LONG list of popular tv shows over the last 30 years, but also a long series of documentary work, including most significantly the 1996 PBS series, "Chicano: History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement") summed up the purpose of NALIP very well in a past interview in 2012 when he said, "Many of the stories that we as Latinos have to tell will not find a welcome in mainstream television and cinema. The stories are perceived as not being universal enough to reach wide audiences. That's, of course, not true, but the gatekeepers think it so and we don't get a chance to tell our stories. But the landscape is changing. Once there was only three major networks that all of America had to watch. Then cable came in and broke that up. Now, the internet offers the possibility of niche programming. And what larger niche audience than the 50 million Latinos in the United States? All those wonderful stories that are not being told and need to be told can and must be told. And the internet is the way to do it. Hence my website: http://Latinopia.com"

Check out Jesus' website it some really great original content & interviews with some of the best Latina/o & Chicana/o people of note.

The NALIP Media Summit runs June 25 28, 2015 tell a friend & try to attend if you can.

Who knows may be you'll be discovered by the next great Chicana/o or Latina/o filmmaker and get cast in their next big film or they'll want to do a documentary about your personal story?

Or who knows Ǫ may it's YOU & you don't even know it yet? Ǫ All you need is GANAS!

Full info on events/ schedule & pricing, etc: http://nalip.org

NALIP national headquarter offices are is in Los Angeles.


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About Carlos San Miguel:
Actor & Writer
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