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Made in LASpread the Word

Month of October, 2008

At FIND’s Filmmaker Conference

Don't we look tired...?
[Photo courtesy of FIND]

Back in LA after the Emmys, we presented a case study at Film Independent's (FIND) annual Filmmaker Forum, which is both a very nice gathering and an excellent learning opportunity. I have to say we were a bit exhausted from all of our NY travel, but the presentation seemed to be quite inspiring for a lot for the attendees - and, really, we love sharing our story...!

Made in L.A. continues international premieres!

In the month of October, Made in L.A. will have four more international premieres: at the prestigious Sao Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil); "Itinéraires": Women Make Waves Film Festival (Taiwan); Festival du Film Documentaire et de Fiction Latino-américain (Belgium); and Document 6 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Scotland). Here's to many more!

Event brings together African-Americans and Latinos

CHARLOTTE, NC. Made in L.A. was recently featured as the "Saturday Night Event" at the Community Investment Network (CIN) Conference. CIN is a non-profit organization that encourages organizations and individuals to think and act more strategically with their giving to impel greater social change in their communities. The event brought together African-American philanthropists with members of Charlotte's Latin-American Coalition, and a number of other philanthropic leaders. The post-screening dialogue brought out themes of shared struggles and common goals and was such a beautiful reminder of the power of Made in L.A. to reach across perceived boundaries and help make change...

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.

Made in L.A. launches Cine Club Latino in Tulsa, OK

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."

Ximena Castaneda
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
"Granos de semillas en tierra fértil fueron los poderosos mensajes del documental Made in L.A. y las palabras de su productora, Almudena Carracedo, durante la apertura del Primer Cine Club Hispano de la ciudad, el pasado viernes 17 de septiembre.

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."

Ximena Castaneda
Periodista y escritora de Hispano de Tulsa

Citizen Jane Film Festival: bringing the community together in Columbia, MO

From Tulsa, I flew to the very first Citizen Jane Film festival, at the invitation of my friend Kerri Yost. Kerri and I were lucky enough to be hotel roommates the year we both won awards at Silverdocs for our short docs (she received the Audience Award for "Billy" and I received the Sterling Jury Prize for "Welcome. A docu-journey of impressions"). Kerri is now head of the film department at Stephens College, and in collaboration with Polina Malikin, just launched the very first women's film festival in the heart of Columbia, MO, home of the celebrated True/False Film Festival. It felt really nice to be surrounded by women filmmakers and artists!

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!"

You can read an article about the film (and me, I guess) in Vox Magazine that came out right before the festival, or check Rebecca Martinez's comment about Made in L.A. in our Audience Reactions page (Rebecca was at the panel and teaches at the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of Missouri).

LatinaLista: Almudena guest-blogs

The popular blogger LatinaLista has asked me to do a guest blog on their site describing our experience making and distributing Made in L.A.... Here's part of her introduction to my guest-blog:

"Intent on capturing on film the atrocities immigrant workers are subjected to in making cheap clothing for U.S. consumers on U.S. soil, Almudena embarked on a journey that spanned five years and resulted in an Emmy award-winning film that showcases the struggles of immigrant workers, their bravery and the one thing that has been a constant in all their lives - never giving up on their dream to succeed in the United States."

Read the full blog at:


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