Aug 02, 2019 01:53 PM EST

HBO Latino Celebrates Diversity and Latino Talent in Miami

HBO Latino Celebrates Diversity and Latino Talent in Miami

In the first of a three-event series, HBO Latino brought their Marquesina Sessions to Miami last night to discuss the diverse and groundbreaking stories coming out of the Latino community lately.  Held at the Alfred DuPont Building in Downtown, the evening showcased three members of the Latino film community.  Moderated by Miami Herald Film Critic, Rene Rodriguez, the panel included Director, Playwright, and winner of the HBO New York Latino Film Festival Shorts Competition, Carmen Pelaez, Associate Director of Programming and Industry for the Miami Film Festival, Diana Cadavid and the Director of "My Name Is Maria De Jesus", Marcella Ochoa.

The panel discussion included topics about the lack of inclusiveness for Latinos as well as the stereotypes that are still evident.  Ochoa offered a unique perspective having worked for major studios before breaking out and starting her own production company.  She spoke about how even when projects get greenlit on the lower levels they often get stalled at Upper Management  (consisting primarily of white Anglo-Saxon males) because the fear is that there is not enough interest so they don't want to invest the money initially.  Pelaez stated how nice it was working with HBO Latino because they "get it" and there is no "translating necessary".  She went on to explain that Her experiences living in a Latino community in Miami is vastly different from Ochoa's, Cadavid's and other Latinos situated elsewhere in the United States.

Besides the panel discussion, guests were invited to enjoy a photo opportunity, party-themed food and drinks and a few interactive stations including two billboards posing the questions, "What kind of stories do you want to see more of on HBO and HBO Latino?" and "What do you feel is lacking in Latino representation in TV shows or films?".  Guests were encouraged to write their answers on sticky notes and attach them to the boards.  Answers ranged from the serious - "No More Dug Dealers" to the more humorous responses - "All Latino GoT!".   Those who participated were offered an HBO Marquesina tote bag that included some popcorn and a mini, personal, light up marquee sign.

The party continued until 11:30 pm and included DJ sets by Nina Sky, Mr. Pauer, Bonnie Beats and Out of Service.  Attendees enjoyed a night of fun while addressing serious issues facing Latinos in the film industry today despite the fact that four of the last five Oscars for Best Director were won by Latinos.

Two more events are planned for New York and Los Angeles later this year.

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