American Sons receives funding grant from Latino Public Broadcast

Article originally posted here:

Awards Go to Fifteen Film and Digital Media Projects

Every year LPB invites independent filmmakers to submit proposals for production, post-production and digital support. With the help of public media professionals, we selected a record fifteen new projects! The awarded films will receive funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Current Issues Fund, a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


2019′s funding awardees include twelve documentary projects and three digital shorts; ten of the funded projects are produced and/or directed by women. From three very unique films that shed light on the tenuous situation at our southern border (Exodus Stories: Voices from the Caravan, Borderland and On the Divide) to documentaries that take on issues including health care in Puerto Rico, the rise of women of color in politics, the environmental crisis in Latin America and more, this year’s awardees reflect the richness and breadth of the Latino experience.

“We’re very excited about this year’s funded projects. We have a high percentage of new filmmakers and there’s an urgency and passion and timeliness about their subject matter,” says Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). “We’re proud to support these important filmmakers and bring their work to a national audience on PBS.”

The 2019 awarded projects are:


Producer: Paco de Onìs
Director: Pamela Yates
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
Americans risk it all to stand up to inhumane immigration policies in Borderland.
This powerful set of stories about “righteous persons,” motivated by
moral conviction and compassion, shows how courageous actions can lead
to mobilization and the defense of human rights in the face of hate and

Exodus Stories: Voices from the Caravan
Photo Credit: Signature Image: Ilse Fernandez

Exodus Stories: Voices from the Caravan

Producer/Director: Ilse Fernandez
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
Exodus Stories
is an interwoven portrait of three Central American migrants and their
quest to be granted asylum in the United States. Fleeing from violence
or political persecution, asylum is their last hope. Directed by
Colombian-American filmmaker Ilse Fernandez, the film follows their
arduous and dangerous 2,600 mile journey to a promised land, where a
border separates their Central American nightmare from the American

On the Divide
Photo Credit: Signature Image: Peter Quandt, DP, On The Divide LLC

On the Divide

Producer/Director: Maya Cueva
Co-Director: Leah Galant
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
On the Divide
follows the story of three Latinx people who live in McAllen, Texas and
are, despite their differences, connected to the most unexpected place:
the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border.

Salud de un Pueblo (working title)
Photo Credit: Headshot: Mariángel Gonzales / Signature Image: Bruno Santamaría

Salud de un Pueblo (working title)

Producer/Director: Patricia Benabe
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
Puerto Rican filmmaker Patricia Benabe (Memories of a Penitent Heart, Councilwoman)
explores the fragile health care system in Puerto Rico, currently on
the verge of collapse. Unable to afford medical care, a growing number
of patients are leaving the island to seek treatment on the U.S.
mainland, leaving local hospitals and medical service providers
struggling to meet mounting operational costs.

Public Media Content Fund:

American Exile
Photo Credit: Signature Image: John J. Valadez

American Exile

Producer/Director: John J. Valadez
Producer: Carleen L. Hsu
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
Fifty years after they fought in Vietnam,
two Mexican American brothers face deportation, and in the process of
fighting for their rights, discover thousands of veterans who now
struggle with the same fate. The film will chronicle their journey as
they fight to stay in the country they served, and wage a broader
campaign to bring public attention and help to America’s veterans.

American Sons

American Sons

Producer/Director: Andrew Gonzales
Producer: Laura Varela
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
American Sons
explores the life and death of Marine Corporal JV Villareal, Jr. and
the men who served and died with him in the Helmand province of
Afghanistan. Through verité, interviews, reenactments and recovered
footage shot by JV himself, this film explores what these men endured
during those years and their fight to adapt to civilian life in the
country they fought so hard to defend.

And She Could Be Next
Photo Credit: Signature Image: Hatnim Lee

And She Could Be Next

Producer/Director: Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
In a polarized America, where the dual
forces of white supremacy and patriarchy threaten to further erode our
democracy, women of color are claiming power by running for political
office. And She Could Be Next,
made by a team of women filmmakers of color, asks whether democracy
itself can be preserved – and made stronger – by those most
marginalized. Set against the backdrop of the 2018 midterm elections, a
defiant group of candidates including Stacey Abrams, Rashida Tlaib, Lucy
McBath, Veronica Escobar, Maria Elena Durazo, and Deb Haaland, are
participating in the contact sport of true democracy and changing the
face of American leadership.

Fruits of Labor

Fruits of Labor

Producer/Director: Emily Cohen Ibañez
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
Fruits of Labor
is Colombian-American filmmaker Emily Cohen Ibañez’s coming of age
story about a California teenager traversing the seen and unseen forces
that keep her family trapped in a cycle of poverty. What does it mean to
live a dignified life as a working-poor young woman of color in the
wealthiest nation of the world?

In the Pines

In the Pines

Producer/Director: Noam Osband
Producer: Sebastian Diaz Aguirre
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
In the Pines
follows Raymundo Morales and his crew of Mexican planters over the
course of a season planting trees in the U.S. for America’s largest tree
planting business. We witness with intimate detail the personal and
professional struggles of men living and working together, each planting
thousands of trees a day to support their families thousands of miles
away in northern Oaxaca.

Setting the Word on Fire
Photo Credit: Signature Image: Alejandro Stuart

Setting the Word on Fire

Producer/Director: David L. Brown
Co-Director/Co-Producer: Louis Dematteis
Producer/Writer: Raymond Telles
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
Through the life and work of writer Alejandro Murguia, Setting the Word on Fire
explores the roles of activist writers and poets passionately involved
with the social justice struggles of our times. Following in the
footsteps of the Beat poets and inspired by the rich traditions of
Spanish and Latin American literature, Murguia confronts with his work
and his words many of the urgent issues of the day.

Troubled Water
Photo Credit: Rick’s headshot: Gail Donaldson / Will’s headshot: Reid Yalom / Signature Image: Tim Russo

Troubled Water

Producer/Editor: Rick Tejada-Flores
Producer/Director: Will Parrinello
Category: Post-Production
Genre: Documentary
Three indigenous activists in Central and
South America fight to stop multinational corporations from polluting
their rivers and lakes, destroying their farming communities and
threatening their way of life. The film follows as they brave death
threats and murder and, in the process, reveals a troubling pattern of
U.S. exploitation and political intrigue taking place throughout Latin

Photo Credit: Signature Image: Alejandro Mejía, AMC


Producer/Director: Rodrigo Reyes
Producer: Su Kim
Category: Production
Genre: Documentary
Mexican American director Rodrigo Reyes
works as a Spanish court interpreter. After befriending a client, a
young Latino defendant, during a gang-related murder trial, Rodrigo and
his new friend begin collaborating to craft a multi-layered story about
how the failures of immigration and opportunity intersect with the
criminal justice system.

Digital Media:

Con Sabor Ártico
Photo Credit: Signature Image: Thuy Vo Photography

Con Sabor Ártico

Producer/Director: Indra Arriaga Delgado
Category: Digital Media
Genre: Documentary
Latinos in the arctic face unique
challenges adapting to extreme environments where everything is foreign,
remote, and sometimes inaccessible. Alaska ships in more than 90
percent of its food so, for the growing but still small population of
Latinos in Alaska, this means that they cannot cook in their traditional
ways or grow their own food. Con Sabor Ártico
documents how some Latinos are adapting their rich culinary practices
in the Arctic, using local ingredients, Arctic fish and fauna, and even
meats like moose and caribou to hold on to traditions and pass them
along to new generations of Latinos in Alaska.

On The Beat: Feeling Body
Photo Credit: Headshot: Karla Duarte / Signature Image: Aleck Guzman

On The Beat: Feeling Body

Producer/Director: Karla Duarte
Category: Digital Media
Genre: Documentary
On The Beat: Feeling Body
is a poetic documentary short about women in search of empowerment and
liberation by using their mind-body connection through the Afro-Mexican
practices in music and dance.

Milly and Chilly
Photo Credit: Headshot: Sheldon Botler

Milly and Chilly

Producer/Director: William D. Caballero
Category: Digital Media
Genre: Documentary
This animated familial biopic features 3D
modeled figures of the project creator and his infirm Puerto Rican
parents, digitally inserted into a hand-built miniature reconstruction
of their trailer home. Visuals are combined with an edited conversation
between parents and son, touching upon subjects such as health, income,
hopes/dreams, and identity.

About Latino Public Broadcasting

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the
leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of
educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people,
or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These
programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations
and other public media entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a
voice for the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and
is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Latino Public
Broadcasting also produces VOCES, the signature Latino arts and culture
documentary series on PBS devoted to exploring the rich diversity of the
Latino cultural experience. Between 2009 and 2019, LPB programs won
over 125 awards, including two prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards
as well as Emmys, Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for
Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of
the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special
Achievement – Year in Documentaries. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is Executive
Director of LPB; Edward James Olmos is Co-founder and Chairman.

About the Current Issues Fund

The Current Issues Fund (CIF) provides
production and post-production funding to documentary films (60 or 90
minutes only) exploring contemporary civic and social justice issues
that integrate the Latino American perspective, incorporate a
journalistic approach into the filmmaking process and have resonance for
a national audience. The fund is made possible by a grant from the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.



Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest