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The screening of Made in L.A., which was sponsored by Radio Adelante, a Spanish-language news program which airs each week on public radio station KOPN 89.5, brought together diverse panelists from the community who linked the issues in the film to the specific conditions of immigrants and other workers in Missouri.
Carolina Escalera from Radio Adelante described the event: "Radio Adelante invited leaders from the region's Latino community to talk about how the film relates to issues in Missouri. The panel included researchers, professors, community and youth leaders. Radio Adelante seeks to inform the public and spark conversations that give voice to Latinos in mid-Missouri because this group is often misunderstood or marginalized. The movie and the panel helped create a forum for conversations on work conditions, language barriers, community advocacy and leadership. Radio Adelante is proud to be a part of promoting conversations like this one. Made In L.A. helps people learn about others and realize that most people are searching for the same things in life... If you haven't seen the movie, we hope you do!"
I spent the last weekend traveling through the Midwest. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the organizers of the new Cine Club Hispano invited me to come screen Made in L.A. as their launch event. It was an inpiring event and I asked Ximena, of the organizers, to write something about the event. Her words couldn't be more beautiful...
|Ximena Castaneda and Margarita Vega-Treviño introduce the event|
"The messages of the documentary Made in L.A. and its producer Almudena Carracedo were like seeds in fertile land during the launch of the First Cine Club Hispano of the city last September 17th. Since Oklahoma approved last November one of the harshest laws against undocumented immigrants, hundreds of Latino leaders have united to fight for the respect of human rights. To reclaim the positive image of Latinos, who contribute so much to the economic growth of this country, has been a priority.
In this context Margarita Vega-Treviño, director of the Hispano de Tulsa newspaper (the oldest in the Oklahoma Northwest) and I decided to create the Latino Cine Club in the Circle Cinema theater. With the goal of initiating an open dialogue inside the community, through Latino cinema, that promotes a better understanding of social, historical, political and cultural reality of the Latin-American nations."
Academics, representatives from important organizations, religious leaders, students, organized women and heads of households attended this unforgettable night. "It is possible to transform fear into justice", asserted one of the participants, referring to the current situation of undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma. Her words "May the film inspire each of us to work for those who are suffering because of their ignorance of their rights!" -made the crowd erupt into applause.
The film Made in L.A., which served to inaugurate the Cine Club Latino of Tulsa, was such an interactive journey of personal growth. It started with the story lived by María, Maura and Lupe in their search for their rights as garment workers. It ended with the public completely moved and inspired, full of questions and eager to start looking, inside their own reality, for their own answers."
Journalist and staff writer of Hispano de Tulsa
He pasado el último fin de semana viajando por el Midwest. En Tulsa, Oklahoma, las organizadoras del nuevo Cine Club Hispano me invitaron a presentar Made in L.A., como evento de lanzamiento de la organización. El evento fue muy emotivo, y le pregunté a Ximena, una de las organizadoras, que escribiera algo sobre ello. Sus palabras no podrían ser más bonitas...
|Ximena Castaneda y Margarita Vega-Treviño presentando el evento|
Desde que el primero de noviembre del año anterior, fuera aprobada en Oklahoma una de las leyes más fuertes en contra de los inmigrantes indocumentados, cientos de líderes latinos se han unido para luchar por el respeto de sus derechos humanos. Reivindicar el nombre de los latinos, que tanto contribuyen al crecimiento económico de este país, ha sido desde entonces una prioridad.
Dentro de este marco, Margarita Vega-Treviño, directora del periódico Hispano de Tulsa (el más antiguo del noroeste de Oklahoma) y yo Ximena Castañeda, periodista y escritora del mismo medio, decidimos formar el Cine Club en el teatro Circle Cinema. Con el objetivo de "iniciar un dialogo abierto dentro de la comunidad, a través del cine latino, que promueva un mayor entendimiento de las realidades sociales, históricas, políticas y culturales de las naciones Latinoamericanas".
Académicos, representantes de importantes organizaciones, líderes religiosos, estudiantes, mujeres organizadas y padres de familia acudieron a esta inolvidable velada.
"Es posible transformar el miedo por la justicia" afirmó una de las participantes al referirse específicamente a la situación actual de los indocumentados en Oklahoma. Sus palabras: "Que la película nos impulse a cada uno de nosotros a trabajar por aquellos que están sufriendo a causa del desconocimiento de sus derechos", arrancaron los aplausos de los allí presentes.
La película Made in L.A. que inauguró el Cine Club Latino de Tulsa, fue todo un viaje interactivo de crecimiento personal. Comenzó con la historia vivida durante tres años por María, Maura y Lupe, en su búsqueda por el reconocimiento de los derechos de los trabajadores de la costura. Terminó con un público totalmente conmovido e inspirado, lleno de preguntas e inquieto por empezar a buscar dentro de su realidad, respuestas propias."
Periodista y escritora de Hispano de Tulsa
The story of how this event came about is particularly beautiful. Last May, at the end of the awards ceremony at the Council on Foundations Conference, where Made in L.A. received the Henry Hampton Award, we had the opportunity to meet Darryl Lester, head of the Community Investment Network (CIN). He expressed interest in Made in L.A. and we offered to send him a DVD so that he could see the film. A few months later Dionne Lester from CIN sent us the most beautiful e-mail explaining how moved she and Darryl had been by the film and inviting us to come show the film at their national conference!
The Community Investment Network (CIN), which was launched with the help of the Ford Foundation, is cultivating a new cadre of philanthropic leaders from communities of color who recognize their civic responsibilities and their power to influence mainstream philanthropy. With the goal of leveraging its social capital and charitable giving to create the communities it wishes to see, CIN is currently composed of nine giving circles of more than 130 new and seasoned philanthropists.
| Don't we look tired...?|
[Photo courtesy of FIND]
| Robert, Peter, Sandi and me after the panel|
As if a whole week at the market was not enough, on Saturday afternoon, we had arranged to do a case study for Doculinkers in New York, and we spent 4 hours telling the story of how we raised funds to make Made in L.A. and how our funding model worked.And, because Robert and I are not happy if we don't pack our schedule, we also held a beautiful screening of Made in L.A. at the North Star Fund, organized in collaboration with Arts Engine. It was a very very nice, intimate screening where we got to discuss the process of making Made in L.A. and how we're using the film to make an impact.
Acceptance speeches provide a unique opportunity to say "thank you", since this film could not have been made without the care, support and encouragement of literally hundreds of people. And so we took the moment to thank our families, our friends, our amazing crew, the organizations that believed in us (including NALIP and our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies), and the hundreds of individuals that have supported this film throughout its journey. Special thanks must also go to our Executive Producers Simon Kilmurry, Cara Mertes and Sally Jo Fifer, and to Cynthia Lopez, Annelise Wunderlich and the amazing teams at American Documentary | P.O.V. and ITVS that took such care and devotion in bringing Made in L.A. to a national audience. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to PBS and to our funders ITVS, POV, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Latino Public Broadcasting, CPB, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society, Diane Middleton Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Agape Foundation, and nearly 300 individual donors. Finally, we thank our outreach partners for helping us to spread the word and make an impact!
Above all, we owe the deepest, most personal thanks to the people in the film and to the three amazing women in Made in L.A., Lupe, Maria and Maura, who opened their lives to us and allowed us to capture and portray their stories in Made in L.A. As we said in front of more than 1,200 attendees on Monday night, we dedicate this award to them, because it was their fight for their rights and personal dignity that taught us the true meaning of courage and perseverance.
As grassroots filmmakers, we deeply understand the financial constraints of small organizations. We have thus created an innovative screening kit that contains all the materials needed for a great event (full-size movie posters, DVDs, postcards) and that is essentially free. Here's how it works: while organizations do have to pay to order a kit, the kit "pays for itself" because it includes enough extra DVDs to sell at the screening to cover the cost of the kit. All proceeds help us continue our outreach and education efforts, and thus the kits help support both sustainable social-issue filmmaking and sustainable grassroots organizing.
Check our brand-new Host a Screening page!
The nominees were announced by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The News & Documentary Emmy® Awards will be presented on Monday, September 22 at a ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City. We will of course, be there!
As one might imagine, this was very exciting news for everyone who has been part of making this film. A friend of ours wrote us to say: "A rockin' film about immigrant workers rights gets an Emmy nomination! I've died and gone to heaven." That's kind of how we feel...!
We are also proud that Made in L.A. is a finalist for the Alma Awards in the category of Outstanding Made-for-TV-Documentary. The Alma Awards are given by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. NCLR created the ALMA Awards in 1995 and "the show was named "Alma" (Spanish for "spirit" or "soul") to represent the determined spirit of the Latino people."
|Robert Bahar, Joann Lo, me, Lupe and Maura last year at the World Premiere of Made in L.A. (Photo by Lauren Ruane AFI)|
It was extremely moving...
|With Peter Broderick at Silverdocs Documentary Conference 2008|
|With Sky Sitney (Silverdocs Director of Programming) and Steve James|
I have the feeling that life is giving me second opportunities to make up for what I wasn't able to do before. Last year we were so busy (as we were also having our West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival a week later!) that we spent far too much time working in the hotel room - day and night. So this year we went to as many screenings and parties as we could - and I am happy to say that we were able to make up for what we missed!
While Robert was doing presentations in California, I was in Madrid presenting Made in L.A. at Casa de America as part of DocumentaMadrid. Originally planned as a single screening, Teresa Toledo (who is in charge of film programming at Casa de America) soon added a special 4-night run for a total of 5 screenings in 1 week! (thank you Teresa!)
|With the wonderful press team of DocumentaMadrid: Marcela, Lucía and Sonia Uría, marvelous Chief of Press.|
The screenings were announced in major newspapers such as El País Semanal (the largest newspaper in Spain), Público and Diagonal, in over 30 on-line publications, and I was also interviewed on 6 national radio programs including "De Película", "Hora America" "Otros acentos", "De Cine", and Radio "La Nuestra". Finally, the news was spread in dozens of e-mail list-serves and what started as a grassroots effort soon spread and became "the screening" to go to during Madrid's annual Fiestas de San Isidro.
The first night the film was scheduled to start at 8:30pm and it was sold out by 7:45! A big crowd gathered at the entrance and I tried to talk to everyone to encourage them to come to the other screenings. People protested: "but we want to hear the Q&A!" Originally we hadn't planned to do Q&As at the other four screenings, but in that very moment I agreed to it! As a result, we had an hour long Q&A everyday. Word of mouth brought more and more people each day, and we ended up with 5 full-house screenings, and with tons of people who (unfortunately) could not make it in! It was exhausting but so moving...
The success of the event was also a great example of effective grassroots work in reaching a wide audience, and our Q&As brought together very diverse people, from immigrants to fashion students, from activists to regular folk who were curious to see the film. The Q&As enabled a discussion among audience members, who linked the themes and the experiences of the characters in the film with what's happening in Spain at this very moment: precariedad laboral (precarious jobs), subcontracting, immigrant bashing, etc. It is interesting to see how Made in L.A. comes to fill a void in the representation of immigrants in Spanish society, which is trying to cope with a process of rapid changes that, over the last 8 years, have made this country much more multi-cultural, diverse and richer...
|People in line waiting to talk to Almudena|
Dozens of organizations have contacted us because they want to be part of a national effort to bring the film everywhere in Spain, and hundreds of people have signed up to receive news about the film. It is certainly a huge effort for Robert and I, who are at this point handling all of the distribution and the growing demand for the film (it's like a snow ball!)... But the response was so moving and amazing, that we feel an urgent sense of responsibility to work towards this goal. Many thanks everyone who was part of supporting and spreading the word about these screenings. Good things are in the works... stay tuned!
|Con las estupendas chicas de prensa de DocumentaMadrid: Marcela, Lucía y Sonia Uría, maravillosa jefa de prensa!|
Las proyecciones salieron en varios periódicos de tirada nacional como El País Semanal, Público y Diagonal, en más de 30 publicaciones on-line, y me entrevistaron en 6 programas radio nacionales, incluyendo "De Película" (RNE1), "Hora America"(REE), "Otros acentos" (RNE), "De Cine" (RNE5) y Radio "La Nuestra". Finalmente la noticia se distribuyó por docenas de listas de correo y lo que empezó como un esfuerzo "de base" pronto se extendió y se convirtió en "la película guay" para ver durante las fiestas de San Isidro.
La primera noche la peli empezaba a las 20h pero para las 19:45h ¡ya se habían vendido todas las entradas! Yo trataba de convencer a la muchedumbre en la entrada de que vinieran otros días, pero la gente se quejó: "es que queremos estar en el coloquio!" Inicialmente no habíamos planeado hacer coloquio todos los días, pero en ese momento dije "por qué no?" y, como resultado, ¡tuvimos una hora de coloquio los 5 días...! El boca a boca funcionó y cada día vino más y más gente, así que acabamos con 5 proyecciones hasta arriba, y con cantidad de gente que (desafortunadamente) no pudo siquiera entrar. Ha sido super super cansado, pero realmente emocionante...
El éxito del evento es también un ejemplo de un trabajo de base efectivo para llegar a cantidad de gente; de hecho los coloquios atrajeron a una audiencia muy diversa, desde inmigrantes a estudiantes de moda, desde activistas a gente corriente que tenían curiosidad por ver la peli. Estos coloquios hicieron posible una conversación (a menudo muy emotiva) entre el público, que relacionó los temas y las experiencias de las protagonistas en la película con lo que está pasando en España en este preciso momento: precariedad laboral, subcontratación, odio al inmigrante, etc. Es super interesante ver como Made in L.A. viene a llenar un vacío en la representación y la imagen de la población inmigrante en la sociedad española, que está tratando de lidiar con un proceso de cambios rápidos que, durante los últimos 8 o 10 años, ha enriquecido a este país y lo ha hecho multi-cultural y diverso.
|La gente hace cola para hablar con Almudena|
Cantidad de organizaciones nos han contactado para ser parte de un esfuerzo para llevar el documental por toda España, y cientos de personas se han apuntado a nuestra lista para recibir noticias sobre futuras proyecciones. Es ciertamente un esfuerzo enorme para Robert y para mi, que en ese momento estamos prácticamente llevando toda la distribución y difusión en medio de un torbellino de peticiones (¡es como una bola de nieve!). Pero la respuesta ha sido tan increíble y emotiva, que sentimos una responsabilidad tremenda de trabajar en este sentido... Mil gracias a todas y todos que han apoyado y difundido estas proyecciones. Estamos manos a la obra... ¡estate atento/a!