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Latinos Beyond Reel

Challenging a Media Stereotype

Latinos Beyond Reel

Duration: 84 minutes
(61 minutes abridged)
ISBN: 1-932869-57-3
Date Produced: 2012
Subtitles: English & Spanish

Filmmaker Info
Film Festivals
Press Reviews
Praise for the Film

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Latinos Beyond Reel
Challenging a Media Stereotype

Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and among the most diverse -- accounting for one-sixth of all Americans and tracing their origins to more than 20 countries. They are also a rising force in American politics. Yet across the American media landscape, from the broadcast airwaves to cable television and Hollywood film, the reality and richness of the Latino experience are virtually nowhere to be found.

In Latinos Beyond Reel, filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun examine how US news and entertainment media portray -- and do not portray -- Latinos. Drawing on the insights of Latino scholars, journalists, community leaders, actors, directors, and producers, they uncover a pattern of gross misrepresentation and gross under-representation -- a world in which Latinos tend to appear, if at all, as gangsters and Mexican bandits, harlots and prostitutes, drug dealers and welfare-leeching illegals.

The film challenges viewers to think critically about the wide-ranging effects of these media stereotypes, and to envision alternative representations and models of production more capable of capturing the humanity and diversity of real Latinos. Features commentary from Charles Berg, Otto Santa Ana, Angharad Valdivia, Federico Subervi, Mari Castaneda, Chon Noriega, Isabel Molina, Alex Nogales, Juan Gonzalez, Moctesuma Esparza, Josefina Lopez, Alex Rivera, Luis Ramos, Lisa Vidal, and others.

DVD contains two versions: a full length version (84 minutes) and an abridged version (61 minutes).

Sections: Introduction | Invisible and Vilified | Who Tells Our Stories? | Justifying History | Stereotypes Never Die? | Images Matter

Filmmaker Info

Produced & Directed by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun
Co-producers: Edwin Pagan and Lorena Manriquez
Edited by Miguel Picker
Written by Chyng Sun
Directors of Photography: Edwin Pagan and Miguel Picker
Narrator: Hector Herrera
Original Music: Miguel Picker
Graphics: Miguel Picker
Associate Producer and Crowd-Fund Manager: Ronelle Rodriguez Torres
Assistant Producers: Quantrell Jackson and Galia Bogolasky
Production Coordinator: Rhon Flatts
Re-recording Mixer, Sound Designer & Additional Music: Francisco Monroy
Senior Consultant: Patti DeRosa
Story Editor: Jeremy Earp
Script Consultant: Sut Jhally

Filmmaker's Bios

Miguel Picker, a New York-based Chilean American filmmaker, is an award-winning editor, director, and music composer. He edited and composed music for Borinqueneers (2007), broadcast nationally on PBS in 2007 and the winner of the Audience Award at the Orlando Hispanic Film Festival, 2009, and Insight Award of Excellence by the National Association of Film and Digital Media Artists, 2008. He is currently working on two documentaries: Ulises' Odyssey, and Siqueiros: Walls of Passion. With Chyng Sun, he directed and edited Mickey Mouse Monopoly (2001), Beyond Good and Evil (2003), The Price of Pleasure (2008), and Latinos Beyond Reel (2012). Before moving to New York, Picker worked as an editor at WGBH-TV in Boston and produced numerous programs.

Chyng Sun, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor of Media Studies at McGhee Division, School of Continuing and Professional Studies at New York University. Her teaching and research interests are centered on media representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and their cultural and social impacts. In recent years, her research focus has been on pornography, and she is currently conducting global research on pornography use. In collaboration with Miguel Picker, Sun has produced, directed, and written four documentary films (see Picker's bio above).

Film Festivals

Reel Rasquache Art and Film Festival (Winner of the Audience Award)
San Francisco Latino Film Festival
Latism Festival
Georgia Latino Film Festival

Press Reviews

Film Takes Aim at Latino Stereotyping | Univision News
Latinos Beyond Reel: Film hopes to change Latino stereotypes in media | NBC Latino
Anthropology Review Database

"This doc looks at the ways Latinos are portrayed in American film and television, which is to say not flatteringly for the most part."
- Time Out

"A disturbing portrayal of intolerance in the guise of entertainment. Recommended."
- Video Librarian

Praise for the Film

"Reveals a relentless, stereotypical, and narrow vision of Latinidad produced by the culture industries."
- Esteban del Rio | Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego

"Illuminates the historical and contemporary invisibility and misrepresentation of Latinos in news and entertainment media and helps viewers understand how and why this distorted picture has come about. Particularly given that 1 in 4 American children is now Latino, this is a vitally important educational documentary."
- Mary Beltran, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, Austin | Author of Latina/o Stars in U.S. Eyes: The Making and Meanings of Film

"A timely and important film that should galvanize all about the need to hire more Latinos at the top levels of media, where they can bring about real and lasting change as producers, gatekeepers, writers, actors and more."
- Arlene Davila, Ph.D. | Professor of Anthropology & American Studies at New York University | Author of Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race

"Latinos Beyond Reel is a comprehensive and powerful exploration of stereotypes of Latinos and Latinas in American media. Whether one dimensional representations are in film, cartoons, television shows, or in news the documentary makes clear that the effects are powerful, not only on Latinos but also on other populations' perceptions of Latinos. By examining both historical and contemporary representations, animated or actual, the film shows how stereotypes go beyond the symbolic realm and can harm the minds and bodies of Latinos, particularly children."
- Debra Merskin, Ph.D. | Professor of Communication at the University of Oregon | Author of Media, Minorities, and Meaning: A Critical Introduction

"An engaged, dynamic and accessible overview of the historically problematic portrayal of Latinos in U.S. news and entertainment media. Offers a critical and comprehensive insight on the media representation of Latinos for students and media professionals alike."
- Jose-Carlos Lozano | Professor of Communication at Texas A&M International University

"Latinos Beyond Reel tells the important story of Latino portrayals in U.S. mainstream media and its potential impact on the culture, society, and individuals. The film provides demographic and historical context for the invisibility and stereotypical depictions that have permeated U.S. media. This context provides the viewer with a complex and more nuanced understanding of how and why these images have been created and how they impact us."
- Rocio Rivadeneyra, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University

"Latinos Beyond Reel convincingly illustrates the gaps between our national rhetoric of a diverse and multiethnic democracy and the paucity of diverse ethnic media representations. The strong empirical basis for the program demonstrates that despite the exponential growth of media channels, Latinos are still struggling to be seen as equal members of the polity."
- Vicki Mayer, Ph.D. | Professor of Communication at Tulane University | Author of Producing Dreams, Consuming Youth: Mexican Americans and Mass Media

"Latinos Beyond Reel is a must-see documentary. It highlights how Latinos are, on the one hand, stereotyped by the media (film as well as news), and on the other hand, ignored and minimized. As a black Puerto Rican sociologist who suffers "en carne propia" many of the things highlighted in this documentary, endorse it wholeheartedly and will use it in my classes."
- Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Ph.D. | Professor of Sociology at Duke University

"Beyond a mere review of media stereotypes, Latinos Beyond Reel exposes the historical roots and political uses of the pervasive and narrow representations of Latinidad in the U.S. The film will become an indispensable resource for scholars and students of mediated Latino identities."
- Guillermo Avila-Saavedra, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Communications at Salem State University

"Latinos Beyond Reel is a hard-hitting and engaging examination of Latinos in media. Major players in the field including directors, actors, media scholars, journalists and activists discuss historical and contemporary stereotypes. They contextualize the historical exclusion of Latinos in the media, critique the lack of diversity in prevailing images of Latinos, and highlight critical challenges to this deplorable reality. This film is a welcome addition to Latino studies, media studies, and ethnic studies. Highly recommended!"
- Lourdes Torres, Ph.D. | Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University | Co-editor of Tortilleras: Hispanic and the Latina Lesbian Expression

"Latinos Beyond Reel includes a diversity of voices, from Latino children to university professors, that challenges viewers to consider the harmful consequences of the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of Latinos in U.S. media. This film is a must-see and makes a convincing argument for the critical need for better representation of Latinos in the media."
- Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Missouri

"Latinos Beyond Reel is more than a compelling documentary: it is a timely indictment of an industry that consistently maligns and misrepresents America's largest ethnic group."
- Myra Mendible, Ph.D. | Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University | Editor of From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture

"Effectively explains how a century of U.S. media has shaped perceptions and misperceptions of Latinos, and in turn influenced policies that have affected their lives."
- Andrea Quijada | Executive Director of the Media Literacy Project

"This film is a welcome and valuable tool for both educators and activists. Juxtaposing early media images of Latinos with contemporary ones, Picker and Sun show how backward are traditional media when it comes to representing Latinos."
- Lucila Vargas, Ph.D. | Author of Latina Teens, Migration, and Popular Culture | Director of Latino Journalism and Media at Carolina

"Latinos Beyond Reel is an eye-opening documentary about the portrayal of Latinos in the media. Perfect for library or community programs that examine race and ethnicity, stereotypes, or the media and its portrayals of different groups."
- Janet Ryan | Head of Programming & Outreach at Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Click here to read the complete reviews

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