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. 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.”
“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 AMERICANS will 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.”
The LATINO AMERICANS project staff includes the following individuals (in alpha order):
Nina Alvarez, 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