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2nd Annual Latino Independent Filmmaking Conference
October 18-19, 1996
Sheraton Universal Hotel, Universal City, CA
Day Two Produced by Latin Heat Magazine

By Wendy Jane Carrel
Latino Conference Program
Latino Conference - Day 2
New Orleans Fest 1996
New Orleans Fest Continued
BANFF Program
BANFF Awards
BANFF - Day 1
BANFF - Day 2
BANFF - Day 3
BANFF - Day 4
BANFF - Day 5
BANFF - Day 6

October 19, 1996, Saturday.

9:30 a.m. TELEVISION PRODUCTION PANEL

Maclovio Perez, former KCBS-TV weather anchor (17 years), as well as talk and game show host, and winner of an Emmy Award for weather reporting, is the sporting and amusing morning moderator.

Panelist backgrounds and comments:

Gary Hoffman Prolific and respected TV/cable movie Producer, Gary Hoffman Productions. Prior to producing, worked for a period of time developing movies and minis as a Fox exec under Barry Diller. Married to actress Julie Carmen.

Hoffman says the truly independent TV producer is totally dependent. He defines a TV indie producer as a person under the delusion he or she can compete with the networks and all the economic and philosophical changes going on in the TV business. Today when you pitch to sell your project to the networks, the networks are now your competitors, competitors because they produce TV movies in-house. Furthermore, the financial interest rule has hurt indie producers and the merits of films as well. It's a strange environment. I'm part of a dying breed, I own my own movies and I own my own negatives. Financially, the buck stops with me, it's interesting to work this way. I produced 24 movies in the last 10 years, most recently BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA directed by Angelica Huston. The good news is that if you have something to say on film, there are more and more places to go for financing of your projects. I'm personally attracted to cable because of the opportunities to produce unusual stories for cable. 200-250 TV movies made per year, years ago less than 100. My experience is that material rules if you are a first-timer trying to get noticed. Good material attracts attention of execs, producers and stars.

Rick Najera, Producer/Comedy Writer/Playwright. Has a deal at Viacom. Went from the barrios of LA to the suburbs of San Diego to Hollywood.

Recently worked for Mexico's Televisa, writing 110 episodes of soap opera. I translated from Spanish to English to American for the shows FOREVER and THE GUILT. Rick says Televisa is it if you want to work in Mexican TV. His first job in America was as a writer for IN LIVING COLOR. This is a unique business. Be valuable. If you are valuable, people use you, so keep getting used in bigger and better ways. So many people have tried to be hospitable to me, they've offered me tacos, etc., this is a good sign. Keep writing, keep laughing, keep doing what it takes. COMMON LAW, a show I developed, was cancelled, it's okay, the most important thing is that I had the opportunity to try it. You grow with your successes. You have to be in charge of your career. Take every class and workshop you can.

Pancho Mansfield, Director of Development, Showtime Networks. A graduate of NYU Film School, worked at The Artists Agency.

OUTER LIMITS, DEAD MAN'S GUN, POLTERGEIST, HIROSHIMA showing on Showtime, Mansfield was involved with these projects.

I have a great deal of freedom in my job at Showtime, I look for things which I feel are interesting enough for me to sell to my bosses. We have so much in development, so it is rare that we develop from treatments. Good scripts plus talent make all the difference in the world. We make over 50% of what we develop. Involved with development of series BOYLE HEIGHTS, plus another series with Latino characters. Budgets $2.5-$4 million for a Showtime movie. All Showtime producers have an option to get a theatrical distribution deal before Showtime airing. No Spanish language films are produced at Showtime, but Showtime product is dubbed into Spanish for Spanish language audiences.

Richard Maynard Former editor and writer for Scholastic Productions in New York, contributing editor Emmy Magazine, and producer for Fries Entertainment, Universal MCA/TV, and Hearst Entertainment. Now producing features, most recently NORMAL LIFE for New Line/Spelling which will be released soon.

What is the Hollywood machine? I was a teacher. Been around a long time but in TV only 11 years. I am the poor man's Gary Hoffman. (Hardly true, Maynard has several prestigious and substantive projects in development.) You can learn from other producers, do everything you can to learn. There are many resources to help you get where you need to go - the Hollywood Creative Directory, the Hollywood Distributors Directory, the Hollywood Agents Directory.

12:30-2:30 p.m. Special Recognition Lunch to Honor Independent Latino Filmmakers. Maclovio Perez is host at the Sheraton Universal's Roof Garden Restaurant celebration. A spectacularly clear view of Universal City and the valley below, "Latin heat" throughout banquet room - excited voices, smiling faces, high energy filmmakers table-hopping to visit friends and make new ones, and most of all, a strong pride of heritage. The filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors at WJC's table were from Arizona, Boston (via Costa Rica and Puerto Rico), and Los Angeles (via Cuba and New Orleans). Entertainment by Latina/Swedish singer Michaelina (you can buy her album SONIDAS DE LUZ), a clip from a PBS documentary-in-progress about the history of Latinos in Hollywood, and a clip from ROCKY BOYS, a satirical road picture a la EL MARIACHI from director/producer Chris Pulis. (ROCKY BOYS was shot for $23,000 in 9 days on location in Montana).

3:00-5:30 p.m. MOTION PICTURE MARKETING, DISTRIBUTION PANEL

James E. Blancarte, entertainment attorney, yet another strong, guiding, moderator with friendly humor and good pacing. Blancarte began his industry career as a litigator for Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp. In 1993 he formed his own full service litigation and business law firm; he recently expanded under the name Blancarte, Sussman & Rosenblum.

Panelists' backgrounds and comments:

Ted Dahl, Film Marketing Researcher, Garcia Research. Prior to Garcia Research, Dahl was SVP ASI Market Research. He is a member of the development of Cinevista, a movie tracking system for the Hispanic market at Garcia Research.

Garcia Research worked with New Line on the research and strategies for the marketing of MI FAMIGLIA. Where is the U.S. Hispanic population gathered? San Antonio, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, large urban centers. This means these are places to go to market films. Mass media can be an efficient vehicle in these places. Median age of Hispanics is ten years younger that the non-Hispanic populations. The purchasing power of Hispanics in 1995 was $220 billion, 7% of which was spent on entertainment. Jack Valenti of the MPAA said 13% of all box office grosses are attributable to the Hispanic community.

Dawn Hudson, Executive Director. IFP/West. 5 years as Executive Director of this non-profit organization whose membership has grown from 900 to over 4,000 under her leadership. Hudson is a former editor, writer and actor. She holds a B.A. in government from Harvard University.

The original IFP New York was created in 1979. Greg Nava (MI FAMIGLIA, EL NORTE) and Anna Thomas helped found the Los Angeles organization. It was formed to provide information on how to work outside the studio system. We are all about specialized and niche marketing. Financing, marketing and distribution has to make sense for the different voices of indies. Best way to market and distribute films? Just to get your film made in first place is so difficult. Sony Pictures Classics is really good about marketing projects, i.e. MI VIDA LOCA. First distributed ths film in Texas border towns, then New York, Los Angeles, marketed to teenagers, used sound track to attract audience. There is today a crisis in exhibition for indie films and indie theaters.

Henri E. Norris, co-founder of New Millennnia Films, LLC, and an independent film and video producer. Norris began her career as a litigator in product liability with cases involving the Dalkon Shield and Silicone Breast Implants.

Norris and Kay Shaw created New Millennia for filmmakers of color. Targets black, Latin American and Native American cultures. We want to be supportive and helpful. We believe we have our fingers on the pulse of the communities we are addressing. We believe in getting the community behind your film. FOLLOW ME HOME, a film by San Francisco Bay Area native Peter Bratt, will be released in February with this in mind.

Lawrence Eulojio Martin. Producer YUEBA YOL, LA TUMBA DEL MOJADO and VP of the Spanish Pictures Exhibitors Association. Majored in filmmaking at San Jose State College. Grandparents from Spain, wife is Nicaraguan and there are lots of Mexican relatives. I take all this into account when I think of producing movies.

My theory is give us good theaters, Latinos want to see movies in comfort in a modern theater just as much as anyone else. With NUEVA YOL playing in the Bronx, new filmgoers came out in droves. I know about the small cultural differences within the Latino community, the subgroups within our marketplace, it is important to know these details when marketing films. Washington, D.C. has a large Salvadorean population, and it was one of our best grossing cities per capita because this population is upwardly mobile. I think that the Spanish language is the secret weapon - look at Spanish radio and TV newscasts, commercials, we used these tools.

Kit Parker. President, Kit Parker Films. A movie buff and filmmaker since childhood, was a journalist. In 1971 opened his company which then specialized in 16mm versions of classic films. He also produced classics shows for PBS, the Disney Channel and NBC. In the early 1990s he acquired the theatrical rights to the classic libraries of WB, Republic, Orion, CBS, and others. He also distributes indies.

Ironically I'm here because I was inspired by the worst movie I have ever seen - the worst direction, photography, print, tired Latino jokes, etc, a Hispanic film entitled SANTOS. I now work to bring back a facsimile of the cinema of great Mexican films of the 1940s because those films were just as good as Hollywood movies. I became involved with NUEVA YOL to make a popular Latino film. It opened in New York on 12 screens with extraordinary business. It opened in Los Angeles last night at 12 theaters.

Jose Luis Ruiz. Executive Director, National Latino Communications Center, a non-profit media arts resource center which funds Latino-themed programming for broadcast on public television. A producer-director-writer of innumerable acclaimed documentaries (4 Emmys and 11 Emmy nominations), and a most articulate panelist.

The Garcia Research presentation is important and it needs to be marketed to Hollywood so that Hollywood can learn how to market Latino films. We also need to define what we are talking about. Are we talking about a Spanish-language film for distribution, or English-speaking Latino films which have crossover audiences? Be specific when speaking about Latino films. My personal feeling is that LA BAMBA and MI FAMIGLIA films are most interesting of all (because they have universal themes). Let's get a better grasp on what we are doing. We are historically in the business of importing Spanish culture, we're not big exporters of it. Film festivals and film markets are a place for you to begin. I recommend the IFFM in New York every September. Go to festivals so you know what they are. Listen to how others pitch their projects. Most of all, you need to know people, which means producers, to see your projects realized.

Rosalia Valencia. Administrator, Director and Festival Coordinator, Cine Accion. San Francisco, CA. A native of San Francisco, she has been with Cine Accion since 1980.

Cine Accion is dedicated to the distribution of Latino films and videos. We present rarely seen works to our audiences which we show mostly in the Bay Area, northern California and at film festivals around the world. We want to know all work of filmmakers present at this conference. We accept Latino films from all over the world for our festival. (415)553-8135, fax 863-7428. E-mail: cineaccion@aol.com

WJC wrap-up: The notes conclude here, the two day Latino Independent Filmmaking Conference has come to a close. It has been a satisfying and worthwhile event for filmmakers in attendance as well as for the professionals who participated. Accolades to the organizers. For a subscription to Latin Heat, or information about next year's conference write the magazine at 625 Sonora Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201, or call (818)247-1960, or fax (818)240-1667.


Latino Conference Program
Latino Conference - Day 2
New Orleans Fest 1996
New Orleans Fest Continued
BANFF Program
BANFF Awards
BANFF - Day 1
BANFF - Day 2
Wendy Jane Carrel
BANFF - Day 3
BANFF - Day 4
BANFF - Day 5
BANFF - Day 6


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