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LatinoBuzz: All Eyes on Hispanicize – Film Lineup Announced

LatinoBuzz: All Eyes on Hispanicize – Film Lineup Announced

Next week in Miami, hundreds of bloggers,
marketers, corporate brand reps, music and film artists will be checking in at
the Eden Roc Hotel to attend Hispanicize, a social media platform for today’s
Latino innovators.  Now in its 4th
year, the marketing, interactive, film and music conference was founded by
Manny Ruiz, a PR businessman who adopted the term Hispanicize to signify the
transformation and growing impact of Latino culture into traditional American
mainstream and who created this convergence to amplify the success of diverse
voices in social media. 

In part modeled after SXSW and Ted Talks, Hispanicize
aims to be a digital multi-media launchpad and idea stimulating conference
tailored towards Latinos.  The event’s core
journalistic DNA is confirmed by guest co-chair, Soledad O Brien, who just
signed off on her morning CNN show capping off a decade of reporting for the
news outlet.  For the second year the
South Beach setting will host yacht parties, beachside receptions, breakfast
and lunch networking, and
100 plus talks,
featuring such entrepreneurs in social media like the Latina Mom Bloggers, panels
like How Brands and Agencies are Engaging and Collaborating with Latino
Bloggers and Getting on Corporate Boards. 
The heavily sponsored event, (Procter & Gamble is the presenting
sponsor) will include a Diversity Tech Leaders Summit presented
by Sprint in which the lesser-known business stories of diverse tech and social
media entrepreneurs who are making their marks in digital media will be

I have to admit I knew nothing of
Hispanicize up until a couple months ago. 
Curious, I went on the website and I found the lingo a tad superfluous and hyperbolic.  Words like iconic and mighty are used to describe
the young but clearly flourishing event. 
Then again, this kind of grandiose speak is typical Public Relations so
it makes sense given it is a partnership with Hispanic Public Relations
 (HPRA) and the Public Relations
Society of America

I reached out to the founder Manny
Ruiz to find out more about the mission of the event and found his enthusiasm and
excitement for what he considers a pioneering movement infectious.  It’s hard to argue that this mass tech and
entertainment crossroads gathering makes for an incredible networking
opportunity.  Ruiz called it a “Uniting
of these industries to create a symphony” and went on to note it is much more
powerful for bloggers to converge at the same place with journalists,
marketers, digital, music and film innovators then if you had them out there
individually and remotely.  Before I
knew it I was put in touch with with Roman Morales, the Film Showcase Organizer
and I came onboard as Programmer for the film component.  A big reason I stepped in was because I was particularly
attracted to presenting US independent Latino films to an audience heavy with
social media influence and bloggers, to see if it would indeed create a higher
level of buzz, publicity and exposure from the community.

Along with a special screening of Filly Brown
days before its national theatrical release, this year Hispanicize will screen
six features including the high profile sneak preview of The Weinstein
Company’s Aftershock, the horror comedy produced and starring Eli Roth,
directed by Chilean filmmaker Nicolas Lopez (Que Pena tu Vida, Promedio Rojo).  Also, straight from SXSW the music industry
and character-driven documentary Los Wild Ones about the Wild Records label and
family of Mexican rockabilly acts.  With
the exception of Aftershock, all the films reflect a taste of the diaspora of unique,
bi-cultural US narratives, and notably are all first features.  Three of the films, Blaze You Out, Filly Brown
and Mission Park are being distributed by Lionsgate labels Pantelion and
Grindstone Entertainment. Meanwhile, seeking distribution is Dreamer written
and directed by Salvador born Jesse Salmeron, a poignant and timely story starring
and produced by Jeremy Ray Valdez about an upwardly mobile American whose
paralyzed by the fear of being deported. 
Los Wild Ones is also seeking distribution and should find considerable
traction within and outside hard core music fan circles.

My personal pride and joy however has to be the
shorts film showcase.  Portraying
visionary quests for identity, love, truth and legacy and created by multicultural
emergent voices from San Antonio, Miami, LA, NYC, Oaxaca and Puerto Rico.  This is the medium in which to find
provocative, daring and versatile young generation of fresh voices who you can
expect will blow up big soon.  To name
just a few, the filmmakers include Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva of the Borscht
corporation, Zoé Salicrup Junco, the filmmaker of Gabi who workshopped
her feature script of the short at San Antonio’s CineFestival’s Latino
Screenwriters Project, Victor Hugo Duran the Colombia Film grad whose short,
Fireworks played at the LA Film Festival last year and is currently shooting
his first feature in Mexico called La Victoria, and Steve Acevedo, the director
of El Cocodrilo which is a powerful and urgent film about a journalist played
by Jacob Vargas on the run from narcos, who participated in NBCU Directing

I’ll try not to go all Spring Breaker debauchery
when I head to Miami next week.  I’m very
interested in immersing myself in the Hispanicize program to cover the dialogue
and scrutinize the impact so stay tuned for my report.

See below to check out full film list and
links.  Hispanicize will take place April 9 – 13.  For information on
how to attend
and the schedule click here.


(USA, 2013, 90 min)

Writers/Directors: Mateo Frazier,
Diego Joaquin Lopez

Cast: Veronica Diaz Carranza,
Elizabeth Pena, Q’orianka Kilcher, Mark Adair Rios, Elizabeth Pena

Logline: An unyielding young woman
ventures into the ruthless underworld of the town’s heroin trade in order to
save her younger sister’s life.


(USA, 2013)

Writer/Director: Jesse Salmeron

Cast: Jeremy Ray Valdez, Isabella
Hofmann, Cory Knauf

Logline: Joe Rodriguez is an All
American young man.  He’s amiable, well
educated and attractive.  He’s graduated
from college and is working and excelling in his field.  He’s on his way to achieving the American
Dream.  That is until his employer
discovers his undocumented status and the life he’s worked so hard for begins
to crumble around him.  He must face the
possibility of losing his livelihood, his family and even himself.


(USA, 2013, 95 min)

Director: Elise Salomon
Ryan Brown, Elise Salomon

Featuring Luis Arriaga, Gizzelle, the
Rhythm Shakers and more

Logline: Wild Records is an LA
indie music label comprised of young Hispanic musicians, it is run by Irishman,
Reb Kennedy. Wild is an unconventional family, reminiscent of the early days of
Sun Records, all of its musicians write and perform 50s Rock ‘n Roll. If Wild
is going to continue to grow and reach broader audiences, its current business
model will cease to work.


(USA, 2012, 90 min)

Director: Nicolás López

Writers: Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás
López and Eli Roth

Cast:  Andrea Osvart, Ariel Levy, Eli Roth

Logline: In Chile, a group of
travelers who are in an underground nightclub when a massive earthquake hits quickly
learn that reaching the surface is just the beginning of their nightmare.


(USA, 2013, 120 min)

Writer/Director: Bryan Ramirez

Jeremy Ray Valdez, Walter Perez,
Fenanda Romero, Joseph Julian Soria, William Rothaar, Jesse Borrego

Logline: Four friends from the rough
side of town grow apart when two are consumed by a life of crime, and the other
two become FBI agents sent deep undercover – to bring down those childhood



2012, 13 mins)

Writers/Directors:   Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer

Cast:  Jillian Mayer, Kayla Delacerda, Amy
Seimetz, Arly Montes, Jesse Miller, Shivers Thedog

Logline: A comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop musical based
on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, #PostModem is the story of
two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told
through a series of cinematic tweets.




(USA, 2012, 11 mins)

Director: Victor Hugo Duran

Writer: Kevin James McMuillin

Cast: Roger Cruz, Alberto Castañeda, Irene Sorto,
Azucena Benitez, Edgar Vanegas, Julio Duran, Victor Hugo Duran, Kevin James

Logline: During the Fourth of July in South Los Angeles, a
teenage boy and his brother scour the neighborhood for fireworks in order to
win the admiration of a girl.

 Twitter: @victorhugoduran


(USA, 2012 10 min)

Fernanda Rossi

Cast:  Kathiria Bonilla León, Sixta Rivera, Rubén
Andrés Medina, Alfonso Peña Ossoria, Stephanie Quiles Reyes, Eyra Aguero

Logline:  Clara is the only light-skinned and
clear-eyed girl in an all-black neighborhood. Teased incessantly, the children
claim her unknown father is actually a “gringo” tourist. However, Clara was
told a different story, and to find out the truth, she will venture into the
magical waters of the bioluminescent bay all on her own.



(USA, 2012  6min) 

Writer/director: Yolanda Cruz

Cast: Joe Nunez, Hugo Medina,
Tzina Carmel, Donato López, Lobo Manet

Logline: Bear, a single gay Latino
man in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, looks for love online. Fearing traffic,
he searches locally, but soon discovers how geographic convenience can turn to
heartache overnight.



(2012, USA, 12 min)

Directed by Mark and Angela Walley

Logline: Two years in the making, this
beautifully shot and perfectly paced short documentary captures the creative
process of painter Vincent Valdez, as the artist works on a series of
pieces dedicated to a childhood friend John Holt Jr. an Army combat medic
who died in 2009 after serving in Iraq. 



(2012, 15 min)

Director: Steve Acevedo

Writer: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.

Cast: Jacob Vargas Hugo Medina
Shannon Lucio Manuel Uriza

Logline: A Mexican journalist and
a cartel assassin collide in a diner, with tragic consequences for both.  


(USA, 2012, 3:29min)

Writer/director Lucas Leyva

Shark: Alberto Ibarguen
Man: Epifanio Leyva

Logline: Told from the point of view of a dying shark,
‘Reinaldo Arenas’ metaphorically captures the current state of the aging
Cuban-American exile community, many of whom have still not come to terms with
the Communist Revolution that changed their lives forever. The film culls from
various Cuban films and works of literature to create not a singular voice, but
a feeling of a particular moment in time 




(2012, USA  20 min)

Zoe Junco

Cast: Marisé Alvarez , Dalia Davi , Roy Sanchez Vahamonde
, Aris Mejias

Logline: A Puerto Rican saying
haunts single women in their 30’s: “If such a woman is not married by this
time, she must be a slut, a lesbian, or a prude.” This is the story of that




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