PBS Partners with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) to Present the Landmark Project with Funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS
WETA Washington, DC (May 2, 2012)
ARLINGTON, VA - LATINO AMERICANS, a three-part, six-hour documentary series produced by WETA Washington, D.C.; Bosch and Company, Inc.; and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), will air nationwide on PBS in the Fall of 2013, the production partners announced today. LATINO AMERICANS will chronicle the lives and experiences of Latinos in the United States from 1800 to the 21st Century. Through its people, politics and culture, LATINO AMERICANS will tell the story of early settlement, conquest and immigration; of tradition and reinvention; of anguish and celebration; and of the gradual construction of a new American identity from diverse sources that connects and empowers millions of people today. Initial funding for LATINO AMERICANS is made possible by major grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS.
The project brings together a diverse team of award-winning filmmakers from around the country to tell these stories, led by the Emmy Award-winning Series Producer Adriana Bosch. The team includes the Imagen Award-winning John Valadez, the ALMA Award-winning Ray Telles, the Peabody Award-winning Dan McCabe and the Emmy Award-winning Nina Alvarez (project staff list below). The production staff will utilize the accounts of historical figures and events; present-day interviews with Latinos - from best-selling authors, entrepreneurs and pop cultural celebrities to political leaders and everyday people, as well as historians and other experts; and historical re-enactments. LATINO AMERICANS will also include a Spanish-language version of the series, a companion book by acclaimed journalist Ray Suarez, and bilingual online educational resources.
"Over the centuries, Latinos - whether traveling across borders, or with deep roots in America itself - have profoundly influenced American culture and American history," said Bosch, whose recent PBS projects include LATIN MUSIC U.S.A. and several productions for the series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. "LATINO AMERICANS is a story of pride, a story about the people whose lives and contributions are at the very essence of American life. Latinos have transformed America and transformed themselves, and having a group of Latinos tell this story in their own words is an important milestone in our history."
LATINO AMERICANS will span more than two centuries, exploring the rise and transformation of the idea of a "Latino American" identity, formed from people of diverse backgrounds, different countries, socioeconomic classes, educational levels and opposing political agendas. The series will portray how unique and diverse Latino cultures are, and yet how much they all share through a powerful identity, their Latinidad.
"Through LATINO AMERICANS, the production team is powerfully weaving together the compelling stories of Latinos who have been an intricate part of the development of this country," said Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO, PBS. "We're very proud to be bringing this important piece of American history to all audiences, hoping that it will help spread a better understanding of and appreciation for the cultures behind our nation."
"Public media creates content that connects to all Americans - on-air, online and in their communities - and reflects the complexity of our country's history and culture," said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a major project funder. "We believe LATINO AMERICANS will be an important series honoring both the mission of public media and the Latino contribution to America."
The production is a partnership between WETA Washington, D.C., the third-largest producing station for public broadcasting; Bosch and Company, Inc., a production company that specializes in documentaries with a strong commitment to making films by and about Latinos; and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), a leader in the development, production, and distribution of non-commercial educational programming that is representative of Latino people and issues.
"Latino Public Broadcasting is a proud partner on this series that portrays the rich cultural heritage and contributions of Latinos to our country," commented Edward James Olmos, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). "This project embodies our mission of providing a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States in the most literal sense - from the Latino filmmakers behind the camera who are part of an impressive production team to the Latino individuals on the screen - leaders, historians, veterans - who through their personal stories will help tell this history. Furthermore, this project will create a national conversation between all Americans."
Beyond the Broadcast
LATINO AMERICANS will be supported by a major bilingual public engagement and education campaign, a corresponding bilingual website with user-generated digital content, social media platforms, and the development and distribution of school-based curriculum. Also, over the next year and a half, the project team will be working in partnership with groups and organizations to develop a series of national community-based screenings and discussion events to engage the public in the rich history and themes featured in the series.
LATINO AMERICANSwill also include a companion book written by Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for PBS NEWSHOUR.The companion book will be published by Celebra, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), and will be released in conjunction with the broadcast premiere.
"Latino American history is American history," said Suarez."Through the paths of many individuals and communities we have come to a collective shared America, and in the LATINO AMERICANS series and my companion book, we work against every notion of treating this great story as anything separate or apart from U.S. history. PBS is the essential home for sharing this important project with the nation."
About the Series Content
The project staff have been working with a team of professors and historians to develop the narrative for this series. The LATINO AMERICANS Content Advisory Panel, listed below, was organized in 2008 and is still actively consulted on the ongoing production. The Content Advisory Panel includes individuals with backgrounds in economics, demographics, social and cultural studies, migration, and various history specialties.
"At last, a documentary that offers a big picture narrative of Latinos in the United States from the colonial period to the present," said Vicki Ruiz, Interim Dean of School of Humanities and Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at University of California, Irvine, and member of the LATINO AMERICANS Content Advisory Panel. "Rather than focusing on one group or one event, this series seeks to have a larger conversation across time and across Latino cultural groups in order to better understand the historical imprints of Latinos on the American journey."
The three-part, six-hour long series will narrate the story of Latino Americans from 1800 to the 21st Century, starting with the English and Spanish colonies, and following with a survey of milestones in Latino American history. The series will intersect with much that is central to the history of the United States such as multiple wars, the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement. LATINO AMERICANS will also go to places where standard U.S. histories do not tend to tread, driven by the human dramas of individuals' struggles and triumphs, successes and disappointments, people whose stories tell us much about their times.
LATINO AMERICANS will trace the arrival of millions of people from the 1980s through to the 21st century, the largest migration of people in recent U.S. history. They came for a variety of reasons, including civil strife and wars, the impact of U.S. policy during the Cold War, and the impact of globalization and NAFTA. Many came to the U.S. for a better life for themselves and their families, in pursuit of the American Dream. The series will also examine the backlash of tightened borders, anti-bilingualism, and efforts to declare all undocumented immigrants as felons. But during the debate over immigration, a powerful new voice of second-, third- and fourth-generation Latinos rose to positions of power and influence, changing America's politics, policy and economy, and coalescing around a new phenomenon - the idea of Latino Americans.
About the Project Team
The production team brings many perspectives to the creation of the series. Their collective experience spans filmmaking around the world for news, documentaries and feature films, and individuals on the team have had their work recognized with George Foster Peabody Awards, Imagen Awards, Emmy Awards, Christopher Awards, Erik Barnouw Awards and an NCLR ALMA Outstanding Career Achievement Award.
"Our goal has been to produce a history about Latinos as has never been told. Towards that end, we have assembled an amazing line-up of filmmakers, historians and on-camera interview subjects," said Jeff Bieber, Series Executive Producer and Vice President, News and Public Affairs Programming, WETA Washington, D.C. "We have the opportunity to shed light on American history that many people do not know. The depth and breadth of the history brought to life by our team will be unprecedented, driven by the human dramas of the individuals featured."
The LATINO AMERICANS project staff includes the following individuals (in alpha order):
- Nina Alvarez, Co-Producer
- Sabrina Avilés, Associate Producer
- David Belton, Director of Re-Enactments
- Jeff Bieber, Series Executive Producer for WETA
- Adriana Bosch, Series Producer
- Dalton Delan, Series Executive Producer for WETA
- Sonia Fritz, Director of Re-Enactments
- Yvan Iturriaga, Associate Producer
- Salme Lopez, Supervising Producer
- Dan McCabe, Producer
- Javier Melendez, Production Assistant
- Monika Navarro, Associate Producer
- Cathleen O'Connell, Producer of Re-Enactments
- Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Series Executive Producer for Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB)
- Ray Telles, Producer, and Consulting Producer of Re-Enactments
- John Valadez, Producer
- George J. Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research
- Linda Chavez, Chairperson of the Center for Equal Opportunity; and author of Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation
- Juan Flores, Visiting Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University
- Donna Gabaccia, Rudolph J. Vecoli Professor at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Immigration History Research Center
- Maria Cristina Garcia, Professor of History at Cornell University
- Gary Gerstle, James Stahlman Professor of History at Vanderbilt University
- David Gutierrez, Associate Professor of History at the University of California at San Diego
- Stephen J. Pitti, Professor of History & American Studies; Director of the Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration; and Director of the Latina/o History Project at Yale University
- Vicki Ruiz, Interim Dean of School of Humanities and Professor of History and
- Chicano/Latino Studies at University of California, Irvine
- Marta Tienda, Maurice P. During '22 Professor in Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University
LATINO AMERICANS is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C., Bosch and Company, Inc., and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). Major funding for LATINO AMERICANS is provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) and The Summerlee Foundation.