LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING PRESENTS NEW DIGITAL SHORT FILM SERIES “LATINOS ARE ESSENTIAL”
|NEW WORKS BY INDEPENDENT LATINX FILMMAKERS SHINE A LIGHT ON THE LATINO ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO ARE KEEPING AMERICA RUNNING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
SERIES DEBUTS ON PBS.ORG PLATFORMS ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020
(Los Angeles, CA; November 17, 2020) Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) today announced “Latinos Are Essential,” a new series of short films premiering on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. Commissioned by LPB, the shorts chronicle the stories of Latinos during the COVID-19 pandemic and showcase the work of dedicated “essential workers” — health care providers, teachers, food service workers, retail clerks and others — who have kept our country going while caring for their own families. These films not only profile extraordinary people; they provide an invaluable snapshot of life during an unprecedented year in our nation’s history. “Latinos Are Essential” will be 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. In addition, 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.
During the last six months, Latinos have been on the pandemic’s frontlines, providing essential services to Americans from all walks of life. Many do jobs that can’t be done from home. Many are DREAMers, working as nurses, doctors, therapists and researchers, fighting the pandemic but living in the shadow of deportation. These essential workers are at greater risk of contracting the virus; according to the CDC, close to a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths to date have been Latinos, and hospitalization rates for Latinos are a staggering 4.6 times the rate for whites.
“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.”
“PBS Digital Studios is excited to partner with Latino Public Broadcasting to bring ‘Latinos Are Essential’ to the PBS Voices YouTube Channel,” said Brandon Arolfo, Head of PBS Digital Studios. “The channel’s mission is to document our shared human journey and we are proud to use our platform to shine a spotlight on the essential workers who are at the heart of this country.”
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.
The “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.
About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of film and digital cultural media that is representative of Latino people or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public media entities. Providing a voice for the diverse Latino community throughout the United States, Latino Public Broadcasting is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. LPB also produces the acclaimed PBS documentary series VOCES, featuring the best of Latino arts, culture and history. Devoted to exploring the rich diversity of the Latino experience, VOCES presents new and established filmmakers and brings their powerful and illuminating stories to a national audience — on TV, online and on the PBS app.
Between 2009 and 2020, LPB programs won over 125 awards, including three prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards as well as Emmys, Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is executive director of LPB; Edward James Olmos is co-founder and chairman.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook Watch, designed to engage, enlighten and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 23 million subscribers, generating an average of 50 million views a month and has acquired more than 2.6 billion views lifetime views. Currently, the Studio has 20 original series streaming online, including eight series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning It’s Okay to Be Smart, Sound Field, Physics Girl and Crash Course, as well as popular series such as Two Cents and PBS Space Time.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV— including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.