Oscar Night America
Canyon News.com, Fernando Roldan Mar 1, 2009
While the nation and the world were glued to their TVs watching the excitement and glamour of the 81st Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater, Downtown Los Angeles was also celebrating the Oscars with Oscar Night America 2009 at the Conga Room last Sunday night.
Sponsored by the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts in Washington D.C., an organization formed to increase participation of Hispanics in the entertainment, communications and other professional education programs, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the event in its first year raised money for Charles Drew University in terms of education for Latinos and other minorities in the community.
“Oscar Night America parties give communities across the country the opportunity to both share in the excitement of Oscar Night and support worthy causes,” said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis in a NHFA press release. “And it’s terrific that a worldwide television event can benefit so many charities on a local level.”
Brazilian actress Sonia Braga who has been in roles in television shows such as CSI Miami and Ghost Whisper was among the many Latino celebrities who attended the event to contribute to the community.
“Very important, this foundation (NHFA) helps so much teaching,” Braga said. “It is the thought that we rebuild the community.”
Even Cuban-American singer Karina Nuvo also sees the importance of the Latino community in the entertainment industry.
“What is important is keeping the arts alive,” Nuvo said.
NHFA’s Communications Director Eloy Martinez who was one of the coordinators of the event and felt the change to the Conga Room was due to the fact that it “was transformed into a lounge where people could really interact. The Conga Room seemed like the ideal fit for what we wanted to accomplish.”
Martinez, in his fourth year as communications director, said 300 people attended and this event and it is important to the Latino community.
“This event was extremely important to NHFA. Since 1997 one of the Foundation’s primary goals has been to provide emerging Latino talent with pathways to the media and entertainment industries through education and mentoring,” Martinez added.
“Not only was this a good night for people to feel a close connection to the Oscars but it was also a great networking opportunity for our current and past students. We were honored to be part of such a great event.”
Colombian actress and former NHFA student Yvonne Delarosa attended the event saying all Latinos need to be recognized for their contributions to the entertainment industry.
Founded in 1997 by actors Jimmy Smits, Sonia Braga, Esai Morales and Merel Julia and Washington, D.C. attorney Felix Sanchez, NHFA was formed to increase participation of Hispanics in the entertainment, communications and other professional education programs. The Foundation offers graduate student scholarships and an outreach program at prominent colleges and universities for young Latino students. NHFA also seeks to expand career opportunities for existing talent in all aspects of entertainment, telecommunications and performing arts.