FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Donnelly / 512-414-0472
Latinitas and Con Mi MADRE Present Austin Latinas in Film Event
September 15th Panel Features Troublemaker Studios Co-Founder and Vice President
AUSTIN, TX — August 31, 2016 — Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States and their love for movies is unsurpassed: Latinos purchase 25 percent of movie tickets sold while they comprise 17 percent of the population; however, they are cast in less than 5 percent of the speaking roles in American films, which, for Latinas, are too often a “spicy Latina” or a domestic worker.
Austin-based nonprofit organizations Latinitas and Con Mi MADRE have partnered to bring together a panel of impressive women who work in front of and behind the camera to discuss the current state of Latinas in the film industry and learn about some of the amazing projects our panelists are working on.
Austin Latinas in Film will take place Thursday, September 15, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Google Fiber Space (201 Colorado Street). The event is free and open to the public.
The panel will feature Elizabeth Avellán, Co-Owner and Vice President of Troublemaker Studios and President of EYA Productions. In addition to producing genre and family films such as Spy Kids – one of the first and only films to feature Latino kids – that have collectively grossed over a billion dollars, she has played a primary role in developing Austin, Texas, as a thriving film community.
“We cannot simply encourage children to pursue their dreams; we have to create an environment for them that helps them see, helps them believe that their dreams can and will become a reality. If they don’t see others who look like them, who come from similar backgrounds, succeeding in the areas they want to pursue, it makes it hard for them to believe that it can be a reality,” said Con Mi MADRE Executive Director Dr. Teresa Granillo. “This type of panel and discussion is one step, a necessary step, into creating that environment, particularly for Latinas, who are sorely underrepresented in American cinema.”
Also on the panel are: six-time Lone Star Emmy winning Chelsea Hernandez, editor of Arts in Context on KLRU and Building The American Dream documentary filmmaker; Sharon Arteaga, producer for Republic Ventures Group; and Latina actress and writer Sandy Avila Ramirez. The panel moderator is award-winning writer and director and Austin Film Society Artist Services Manager Iliana Sosa, who is currently in pre-production of her full-length documentary, tentatively titled JULIAN. Sosa will be accompanied by youth moderator Emily Alpuche, a fourth-grade Latinitas ambassador.
“American cinema is still exclusively White and male,” said Laura Donnelly, founder of Latinitas, which works primarily with young Latinas in its after-school programs and weekend workshops. “When we ask girls in our programs to name the Latina/o equivalent of Will Ferrell, someone who is cast in multiple movies a year, they can’t. Until they can, we will keep this dialogue going.”
This is the second annual Hispanic Heritage Month panel hosted by Latinitas. Last year’s panel was Las Voces: Austin Latinas in Journalism, which featured panelists from Ahora Sí, the Austin American-Statesman, the Texas Tribune, KUT-FM, and Univision.
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For 14 years, Latinitas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been empowering Latina youth using media and technology, providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services to nearly 3,500 girls and teens across Texas annually. Founded by two journalism students fed up with the lack of representation of Latinas in media and technology industries, Latinitas presents enrichment programs at Texas schools, libraries and community centers that use culture as a thread to teach web and graphic design, blogging, video and audio production, photography and of late: video game and app development and coding.
About Con Mi MADRE
Con Mi MADRE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to empower young Latinas and their mothers through educational and support services that increase preparedness, participation, and success in post‐secondary education. Con Mi MADRE currently serves 600+ mother‐daughter teams in 20 middle and high schools in the Austin area. The majority of the families are low‐income (65%), and 80% of the girls will be first‐generation college graduates.