Posted by Larry Gleeson
Actor/Director/Producer/Activist (ad infinitem), Mexican-American, businesswoman Eva Longoria, took the stage with Dr. Stacy Smith, an Associate Professor of Communication, Annenberg School at the University at Southern California, for an insightful and informative talk on the culturally relevant issue of film’s role in shaping LatinX stereotypes at the The Erasure of LatinX as part of this year’s AFI SUMMIT at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom, Friday, November 15th. AFI FEST, presented by Audi, is in its 33rd year.
Due to moving pictures allowing for the suspension of disbelief, most viewers come to believe the images on the screen are real-life representations. Dr. Smith, an empirical data specialist on the current trends and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the Hollywood film industry, argued the representation of the LatinX community has fallen by 4.5% from last year. Longoria added these LatinX representations are mostly sinister characters and are defining LatinX, in conjunction with conservative political rhetoric, to rural and suburban Americans.
This is not a good representation especially if one believes in the dynamics of a free market and the effects of the invisible hand. According to Longoria, as LatinX resists assimilating into society and remains typecast as criminals in Hollywood film, a shift in policy is needed to allow for Hispanics to participate in the American Dream. These are not issues for most laypeople. For Longoria, however, they are career-defining. With a life and career as diverse as any in the lore of Hollywood, Longoria has focused her laser-like acumen into providing a voice for the Mexican-American community with a powerful and dynamic undertaking, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, based out of Mountain View, Calif. Already deluged with LatinX works from authentic writers, directors, and producers, Longoria envisions a production house showcasing LatinX films centered around family and love.
Steeped in activism and cured with exposure, Longoria, claiming to have an insight into LatinX (no argument here), is driven to succeed. According to IMDb, Longoria possesses 55 actress credits, 22 producer credits, and 12 director credits. Currently, helming and developing two conceptual projects, The Flaming Cheeto, a Horatio-Algereques take on the development of the product bearing the same name and a bigger budgeted, comedy, feature film, 24-7. Greenlighted by Universal Pictures, 24-7, starring Longoria and cohort, Kerry Washington, and written by Sarah Rothschild, tells a tale of a group of accountants banding together against their firm’s male colleagues to solve a fraud case that will save their jobs.
One thing I know for sure, it’s an exciting time to be involved in film with talent like Eva Longoria in the room! AFI FEST 2019, presented by Audi, continues through November 21st. Stay tuned for the upcoming Indie Contenders Panel and the Documentary Filmmaker Roundtable. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!