What these two documents were telling them they already knew in their hearts and in their résumés: The industry is running out for Latinx creatives.
“I’m so tired,” said one person. “Very, very tired.”
Peter Murrieta, Executive Producer of “Mr. Iglesias” on Netflix, who recently signed a first-look deal with Universal Television, was there.
“I absolutely think their frustration is justified,” he told CNN.
He knows because he felt it too. He has run three television shows, overseen hundreds of television episodes over his decades in the business, and has seen that opportunities don’t always correlate with the level of experience one has.
“Over the years you really have to look at what decisions are being made, how they are being made, and then there’s a problem. There’s just a problem.”
In reality, the movie is just a step in the right direction that will hopefully lead to more and bigger investments in stories about the life of Latinx. Every time a project gets the green light and goes beyond the development phase, it creates “an ecosystem so that we can have our future stars, our future star writers, our future star directors,” said Murrieta.
“I think we should celebrate ‘In the Heights’. We’re up there. I think we should show up. I hope people come out and I hope we show that this is the beginning, that we deserve more” , he said. “And I think that’s enough because I don’t want to put all of our hopes and dreams on a film. I think that’s not fair to this film.”
Gina Reyes, TV literary agent at Verve Talent and Literary Agency, knows this hopeful feeling. In 2007, when she was an agent assistant at ICM, she recalls feeling encouraged reading a story in entertainment industry magazine Variety about MGM and Salma Hayek collaborating to produce Latin-themed films.
“I remember thinking, ‘Finally! Hollywood sees us,'” she said.
That was back in 2007 “and we’re still here”.
Reyes worked with Hayek in development for the early years of her career and was an early champion of In the Heights, but the rights went to Universal Pictures and eventually Warner Bros. (which, like CNN, is part of WarnerMedia). .)
Much of it falls on the people for whom the doors have already been opened. Several Latinx characters from the entertainment industry described to CNN the efforts they have made as individuals to foster a community of support and mentoring – whether it be to bring out the work of other emerging professionals or to work with the youth to create the next generation to promote from creators. (Reyes serves on the board of directors of The Unusual Suspects Theater Company, a nonprofit that provides theater education to vulnerable youth and families, and previously served on the board of Young Storytellers.)
La gente is working to make this a reality.
However, maintaining unity is important. It’s a topic that comes up when I tell Murrieta about some of the heated reactions that were generated when the term Latinx, used in this project for its integrative nature, was used in a recent callout form.
“If you give yourself these identifiers, they should be things that give you power,” said Murrieta, who brought up the subject on an episode of Mr. Iglesias. “If Latinx gives you power, then you should be what you identify as.”
However, it is mandatory that the Latinx community view other marginalized groups as companions rather than competition, Murrieta said.
“I think one of the most damaging things you can do as an individual or a community is compare yourself,” he said. “I think that in our best life and in our best selves we run our races and we know what our race is. When we’re there and run these laps, we can look over at the people who are running with us.” and say, ‘I see this other person running and I want to see if I can be with them and help them.’ ”
The race is, if you will, not over for any marginalized group. But rest assured, the Latinx community in Hollywood will keep going as they say con ganas.