With the success of binge-worthy TV shows that have been picked up for a new season, like Starz’s “Vida,” and Netflix’s “On My Block” and “One Day At A Time,” audiences all over may be looking for other ways to support Latino creators in film. Here at Latino Rebels, we dove into the Internet with the hopes of finding examples of independent web series coming up this year to binge on and support, for and by Latinos.
And even though, there are few Latino-driven and Latino-themed content in the realm of independent series right, the good news is that those who began or continue to create independent web series are killing it.
Here are just some examples of what you can find right now:
Indie Latino Web Series
Named the “Latino Show for the New Generation” by the New York Times, East WillyB is a comedy that delves into the culture clash between the Latino community and the newcomers who arrive to Bushwick in Brooklyn. Julia Ahumada Grob and Yamin Segal worked on the series for more than six years before ABC bought it in November of last year.
In The Pineapple Diaries, series creator and director Dominican-American Paloma Valenzuela explores the absurdities of everyday life for Latina women. She does this through the fictional lives of three best friends in their late twenties and their next-door neighbor, living in a predominantly Dominican neighborhood in Boston The series is expected to launch a fundraising campaign soon in preparation for season 3. Follow their progress here. Valenzuela’s Production company, La Gringa Productions, released the first season in 2015 on YouTube. You can also catch the second season on YouTube as well.
Then there’s Brown Girls, a viral web series developed by Fatimah Asghar and Samantha Bailey. While the series isn’t specifically about the Latina experience, it is a series that all women of color could relate to. Set in Chicago, it stars a South Asian-American writer (Leila) and a sex-positive Black-American musician (Patricia) who lean into each other while they grapple with life as women of color in their mid-twenties. Originally presented by OpenTV, it got picked up by HBO two years ago.
Justice Woman is a dramedy web series written, directed and produced by Vanessa Verduga. Verduga even plays the main character, feisty assistant district attorney Sofía Escala. The original idea came into fruition after Verduga found herself uninspired with the judicial clerkship position she lined up after law school, but inspired by Wonder Woman.
“I began writing about the many unfair things that exist in our society pertaining to racism, homophobia, immigration, discrimination, double standards, sexual hypocrisy, class power, political corruption and so forth,” Verduga said in a statement. “Those became the issues that I wanted to tackle in Justice Woman. However, I took to heart Oscar Wilde’s saying that ‘if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you” and put a humorist twist to my writing.” While the series’ last episode already aired a year ago, the entire show is available on YouTube.
Efforts To Improve Representation
Given the challenges independent filmmakers have, some organizations are making efforts to grow representation in the big and small screens. Just the other day, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, or NALIP, hosted the “Producing the Latinx Pipeline” event during the Sundance Film Festival, where creatives got together to discuss how to build an inclusive ecosystem for Latino perspectives and expand opportunities for Latinos and people of color.
Additionally, on January 26, Blackhouse, a non-profit organization working to support Black multi-platform content creators, announced their organization was teaming up with The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) to launch the IFP-Blackhouse Multicultural Producers Lab. Sponsored by HBO Corporate Social Responsibility Department, the Producers Lab selected six POC fellows from film, television and digital media to participate in a year-long program that started this January.
Likewise, Latino creatives with a short film between 2 and 20 minutes in length have until this Thursday January 31 to enter the Voces Nuevas Short Film Contest, sponsored by NALIP in partnership with Cine Sony, a channel aimed at the bi-cultural U.S. Latino audience.
The deadline for the #NALIP and @CineSony Voces Nuevas Short Film Contest is approaching! Enter for a chance to win $10,000, meet with Sony execs and receive a NALIP scholarship! Deadline to apply is January 31, 2019. Read more: https://t.co/RVErKZtb2L| #WeAreInclusion #CineSony pic.twitter.com/ZWaWu6zhTq
— NALIP (@NALIP_org) January 28, 2019
Winners’ perks include $10,000 plus airfare and accommodations for up to five nights in Los Angeles to meet with Sony Pictures Television executives there, plus a scholarship to the 2019 NALIP Media Summit.
Did we miss any of your fav Latino indie web series? Comment below and let us know.
Emily Corona is a digital intern at Futuro Media Group. She is a journalist and translator from Mexico City, pursuing a master’s in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at NYU. She tweets from @daminijo.