Growing up as a first-generation Colombiana in the United States during the 1980s, the references in popular culture that depicted what it meant to be Latino in this country were limited. It was mostly a two-dimensional Que Pasa U.S.A representation for many of us who were trying to really understand the quirks and nuances of our ever-evolving cultural mash-up. But we’ve certainly come a long way, as HBO’s Latino List: Volume Two clearly demonstrates.
“It takes a long time for women to realize that…it’s alright to be a chingona,” says renowned author, MacArthur Fellow, and proud Latina, Sandra Cisneros, one of the various subjects featured in the second documentary of a series that explores what it means to be Latino in the United States today.
Read Related: The Latino List
Executive Producers Ingrid Duran and Catherine Pino chimed in with Mamiverse about the process and intention of creating this crucial work.
Mamiverse: What inspired the making of this series?
Duran/Pino: When we started our business, we did so with the intent to use media to affect social change; working on projects that illustrated the positive images of the communities that we are part of—Latino and LGBT. A friend of ours, Susan Gonzales, introduced us to her colleague who was one of the producers of HBO’s The Black List and at the time we had just finished doing some work with Eva Longoria on her film, The Harvest, and were saying to each other we need more films with positive images of Latinos. It was also at the time that SB-1070 was introduced in Arizona so you can imagine our sense of urgency!
So, the three of us created a production company, Brown Beauty Productions, and we met with the producers, Freemind Ventures, and director of The Black List and all decided to work together forming a new production company called Freemind Beauty. We asked our friend, Maria Hinojosa, to interview the talent (she thought we were crazy). Doing The Latino List was an opportunity to change hearts and minds and the discourse in America about the amazing contributions of our community.
Mamiverse: Did you know you were going to do Volume Two, or did it emerge after the first one was done? Will you make more?
Duran/Pino: We began filming Volume Two while we were still working on volume one, so we always intended to do a second volume, whether HBO wanted it or not. We also believe we will have a volume three and would love for your readers to let HBO know how much they enjoyed the Latino Lists and the importance of doing another volume!
Mamiverse: What has been the reaction to this work?
Duran/Pino: We have received such a positive response from people all over the country who are hungry for this kind of content. They ask when the next one is coming out, how they can buy a DVD, how they can get the film into their schools; it really has been quite extraordinary! They want their kids to see it because of all the incredible messages by leaders in our community that share their stories about how they got to where they are— the importance of working hard, perseverance and never giving up.
Mamiverse: Why do you think this work is important? And why in this way?
Duran/Pino: Because these stories are important for the younger generation who may fear taking a step to live their dreams or worry about failure or not feeling worthy. This film is for them to see that they too can succeed and do whatever it is they set their mind to. The film is also one step closer to ensuring that the media include positive images of Latinos.
Mamiverse: What were some of the challenges you met in such a production?
Duran/Pino: Selecting the participants and raising the funds were challenging, and ensuring that our film included the breadth and depth and color of our community.
Mamiverse: How can people watch it?
Duran/Pino: HBO and HBO Latino are continuing to air it on all their platforms for the next 30 days, and then it will be on HBO on Demand, and HBO.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LATINO LIST