Indie Latinx Filmmakers Shine a Light On the Latino Essential Workers Who Are Keeping American Running During COVID-19
Latinos Are Essential, a New Series of Short Films Now Playing
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) announced in early November a new series of short films, Latinos Are Essential. The series premiered on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 and is available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV and Chromecast. The episodes will also be available on PBS Voices, a YouTube channel from PBS Digital Studios that aims to explore what unites us through short-form documentaries.
PBS and LPB invite the public to contribute to the project by creating their own essential worker portraits and posting them on social media using the hashtags, #Esenciales and #LatinosAreEssential.
“While this year has been devastating, it has also given us a chance to reflect on all the work that our community does to keep Americans safe, fed and comfortable,” says Sandie Viquez Pedlow, LPB Executive Director. “We wanted to honor these extraordinary people while also providing emerging Latinx filmmakers with work, empowering them to tell the stories of essential workers in their communities. These short films provide a glimpse into the lives of people often unseen but so deserving of our recognition and gratitude.”
The Latinos Are Essential films will be supported by a robust social media campaign led by LPB, PBS and station and community partners. Latinos Are Essential partners include LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), LCLAA (Labor Council for Latin American Advancement), HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities), HIP (Hispanics in Philanthropy), the IMAGEN Foundation, and Latinarrific as well as public television stations including WPBT/WXEL South Florida PBS, KLRN, Valley PBS, New Mexico PBS, WKAR, KERA, PBS El Paso, Texas Tech Public Media, PBS SoCal/KCET, Arizona PBS, WGCU Public Media, Austin PBS/KLRU and WORLD Channel.
Latinos Are Essential Films:
ALL AROUND US
Filmmaker: Andres Caballero
Location: New York, NY
Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR’s “Latino USA,” discusses her work reporting on the pandemic’s effect on Latino communities and her own bout with the virus.
Filmmaker: Claudia Zamora Valencia
Location: New York, NY
Astrid is a construction and domestic worker from Colombia who finds a temporary job cleaning subway cars at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.
CHELSEA – AN ESSENTIAL CITY
Filmmaker: Sabrina Aviles
Location: Chelsea, MA
Two-thirds of the residents of the port city of Chelsea are Latino and four out of five are essential workers. Meet a young city councilwoman and a sanitation worker who are keeping their city running.
EL PASO ESTA PRESENTE
Filmmaker: Ramon Villa-Hernandez
Location: El Paso, TX
Monica Navarro is an associate at the Cielo Vista Walmart, the site of the devastating 2019 shooting that left 23 dead. Despite the tragedy, she takes pride in her work and her role in her family and community.
GROWING IN THE SHADOWS
Filmmaker: Lidieth Arevalo
Location: Kennett Square, PA
Anel Medina is a 28-year-old registered nurse and one of the 200,000 DACA recipients who are classified as essential workers, serving Americans across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Filmmaker: Juan Carlos Davila
Location: Corozal, Puerto Rico
In Puerto Rico, wracked by the aftermath of recent natural disasters and with unreliable electricity and internet access, two married teachers struggle to teach their students virtually while raising their own children.
Filmmaker: Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana
Location: Denver, CO
Twenty-two-year-old Dulce Bueno is a first response EMT who works long nights driving an ambulance for one of Colorado’s busiest trauma centers. Her job takes an enormous emotional toll, especially during the difficult days of the pandemic.
A PESCADOR IN THE TOWN
Filmmaker: Yvan Iturriaga, María José Calderón
Location: Oakland, CA
Meet Pancho Pescador, a self-taught Chilean artist and teacher, who spends his pandemic-era days bringing art and life to the struggling streets of Oakland.
Filmmaker: Rhonda Mitrani
Location: Miami, FL
Melanie is a Cuban-American first-grade teacher who is navigating the new experience of teaching her students online while caring for her three-year-old daughter and coping with sudden single parenthood.
Filmmaker: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Location: San Francisco, CA
Jon Jacobo, a first-generation Salvadoran American policy analyst and community activist from San Francisco’s Mission District, shares the story of the city’s Latino Task Force and its groundbreaking partnership with medical researchers to create large-scale COVID testing for Latinos and essential workers.
TODOS UNIDOS Y YO
Filmmaker: Esau Melendez
Location: Chicago, IL
Alfonzo Seiva is a Mexican immigrant living with his wife and son, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy. After his maintenance business declined due to the pandemic, Alfonzo began a program that brings meals and groceries to people in need.
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