Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Join us as we celebrate by highlighting some of our favorite hispanic filmmakers, music makers, writers, animators and more!

Each week, we’ll be adding a section to the blog to showcase a different industry.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of hispanic people making the movies and shows that you love. You can even stop by the library and check out some of the scripts and videos we have that were helmed by hispanic creatives!

Browse through the tabs to see what titles we have in our collection!

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist) and worked on making his own short films. At the age of 21, del Toro executive produced his first feature, Dona Herlinda and Her Son. Del Toro spent almost 10 years as a makeup supervisor, and formed his own company, Necropia in the early 1980s. He also produced and directed Mexican television programs at this time, and taught film. – via IMDB

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. – via IMDB

Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director. González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born director to have won the Prix de la mise en scene or best director award at Cannes (2006), the second one being Carlos Reygadas in 2012. His six feature films, ‘Amores Perros’ (2000), ’21 Grams’ (2003), ‘Babel’ (2006), ‘Biutiful’ (2010), ‘Birdman’ (2014) and ‘The Revenant’ (2015), have gained critical acclaim world-wide including two Academy Award nominations. Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City. – via IMDB

The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn’t study filmmaking because he didn’t have the money to afford it. Besides, the filmmaking schools were closed in early 70s by Franco’s government. Instead, he found a job in the Spanish phone company and saved his salary to buy a Super 8 camera. From 1972 to 1978, he devoted himself to make short films with the help of of his friends. The “premieres” of those early films were famous in the rapidly growing world of the Spanish counter-culture. In few years, Almodóvar became a star of “La Movida”, the pop cultural movement of late 70s Madrid. His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom, was made in 16 mm and blown-up to 35 mm for public release. In 1987, he and his brother Agustín Almodóvar established their own production company: El Deseo, S. A. The “Almodóvar phenomenon” has reached all over the world, making his films very popular in many countries. – via IMDB

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the university there, where his close friends included Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca. – via IMDB

Born in 1974, Sebastián Lelio is one of the leading figures (along with Pablo Larraín, Andrés Wood and a few others) of the post-dictatorship Chilean cinema. After graduating from the “Escuela de Cine de Chile” in Santiago, Lelio started by making shorts (he made five from 1995 to 2003, as well as a documentary). From 2005 on, he directed four remarkable feature films, the first three very dark, the fourth one somewhat lighter, which all garnered awards in the festival circuit. The Sacred Family is kind of Chilean version of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema. It was followed by Navidad, a drama of uncommon intensity focusing on three teenagers alienated from their families and The Year of the Tiger, recounting the escape of an inmate during Chile’s 2010 earthquake. Coming after this taught triptych, Gloria surprises by its peaceful tone. The amorous adventures of Gloria, a sixty-year-old office worker in Santiago, although not without tensions and bitterness, are less upsetting than what Lelio had filmed before. But whether dark or rosy, Lelio’s cinema explores the Chilean society of today with the same acuteness. – via IMDB

Guillermo Arriaga is a Mexican author, screenwriter, director and producer. Self-defined as “a hunter who works as a writer,” he is best known for his Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay nominations for Babel and his screenplay for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which received the 2005 Cannes Best Screenplay Award. – via Wikipedia

Javier “Javi” Grillo-Marxuach, born October 28, 1969 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a television screenwriter and producer, and podcaster, known for his work as writer and producer on the first two seasons of the ABC television series Lost, as well as other series including Charmed and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. – via Wikipedia

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is an American playwright, screenwriter, and comic book writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics and for the television series Glee, Big Love, Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. He is Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. Aguirre-Sacasa grew up in Washington, D.C., the son of the senior Nicaraguan World Bank official turned Nicaraguan Ambassador to the US (1997-2000) and later Foreign Minister (2000-2002). Francisco Javier Aguirre Sacasa and Maria de los Angeles Sacasa Arguello y Gomez Arguello, both Nicaraguan nationals. Aguirre-Sacasa received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and later a Masters Degree in English literature from McGill University; he then graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2003.

Pablo Larraín was born in Santiago, Chile. He is a director, writer and producer, known for Spencer (2021), Jackie (2016), El Club (2015), NO (2012), among others. Together with his brother Juan de Dios Larraín, they founded Fabula in 2004, one of the most prolific production companies in Latin America. – via IMDB

Juan Antonio García Bayona is a Spanish film director. He directed the 2007 horror film The Orphanage, the 2012 drama film The Impossible, and the 2016 fantasy drama film A Monster Calls. Bayona’s latest film is the 2018 science fiction adventure film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park film series. He has also directed television commercials and music videos. He will direct the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. – via IMDB

Damián Szifron is an Argentine film and television director and screenwriter, best known as the creator of the TV series Los Simuladores, the most successful TV series in the history of Argentina, and writer-director of Wild Tales, the most successful film in the history of Argentina. – via Wikipedia

Juan José Campanella is an Argentine television and film director, writer and producer. He achieved worldwide attention with the release of The Secret in Their Eyes, for which he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. – via Wikipedia

Is the son of a Spanish mother and a Chilean father. His family moved back to Spain when he was 1 year old, and he grew up and studied in Madrid. He wrote, produced and directed his first short film La cabeza at the age of 19, and he was 23 when he directed his feature debut Thesis. His film Open Your Eyes was a huge success in Spain and was distributed worldwide. It was remade in Hollywood by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz (also the star of the original version) and Cameron Diaz. The Others is Amenábar’s first English language film. – via IMDB

Charise Castro Smith is an American playwright, actress, screenwriter, producer, and co-director. Castro Smith is from Miami, Florida, where she was raised in a Cuban American family. She attended Brown University as an undergraduate student and later the Yale School of Drama, where she earned her MFA in acting. Previous to graduate school, she was a city schoolteacher. She lives in LA and is married to actor Joby Earle, whom she met at Yale. – via Wikipedia

Hailing from The Bronx, Steven Canals is a 2015 graduate of UCLA’s MFA Screenwriting program. He began his writing career as a Research Assistant at Hungry Jackal Productions for Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Steven served as the Staff Writer on Freeform’s Dead of Summer, the same year his short film, Afuera, premiered at the 2016 LA Film Festival. He is Co-Creator and Co-Executive Producer of Pose (2018). Canals is openly queer. He is of African American and Puerto Rican heritage. – via IMDB and Wikipedia

Rodrigo Prieto is a Mexican cinematographer. He is best known for Brokeback Mountain (2005), Babel (2006), Argo (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and Silence (2016). He also worked with Alejandro González Iñárritu on the acclaimed Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), and Biutiful (2010). Pietro was nominated for two Academy Award for Best Cinematography, first in Brokeback Mountain and later in Silence. – via IMDB

Luisa Leschin (born Louisa Josefina Gomez) is an American television producer, actress, and voice-over artist. She currently serves as co-executive producer for the Amazon Studios TV series Just Add Magic. In 2019, she won a Norman Lear Writer’s Award at the 34th annual Imagen Awards. Leschin was born in Hollywood and grew up in Guatemala, where Spanish was her native tongue. Leschin’s mother was a concert pianist and her father was a former President of El Salvador. At age five, she made her debut as a dancer, and at the age of eight, she left Guatemala to spend her teenage years in Europe, where she learned to speak French and Italian. After her return to America, she studied at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, where she majored in ballet. – via Wikipedia

What’s a celebration without any music? Check out the playlist we made. It’s full of our favorite Hispanic artists from around the world!

Everyone loves cartoons! And I’ll bet you didn’t know that some of your childhood favorites had Hispanic and Latino artists working on the creative team behind them. Below, we’ve highlighted some fantastic Hispanic and Latino artists next to the animated features they’re attached to.

Labor Day Weekend is the perfect opportunity to get in some last minute Summer excitement! If you’re in need of some suggestions, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few events we found online. Let us know what your Labor Day Weekend plans are!

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards (2)

The first day of Fall is fast approaching! That time of year for gloomy skies, falling leaves and your favorite sweater. The kids go back to school, and the summer heat finally begins to let up. It’s our signal that the end of the year is soon to come and a reminder of how precious time truly is. 

To many people in the United States, Autumn is an opportunity to acknowledge everything we have to be grateful for. It’s the season of harvest and abundance – the season of reflection and new beginnings.

This year, the first day of Fall is September 22nd. So mark your calendars and cozy up with your loved ones. We’ve taken the liberty of creating a September Songs playlist, and a September Watchlist to make getting into the Autumn spirit as easy as pumpkin pie. 

Grab yourself a pumpkin spice latte, a warm blanket and relax with our September Songs Playlist.

Powerhouse Ladies in Entertainment & Tech

Powerhouse Ladies in Entertainment & Tech

Join us for a panel discussion where we shine a spotlight on, and celebrate the hurdles and successes of, women in Entertainment & Tech. The panelists will also offer advice to students who are exploring careers in these creative spaces!

Panelists Include:

Robin Mayemura, Skydance VP of Corporate & Interactive Talent Acquisition

Magali Lamourelle, Amazon Sr. Product Manager | XCM Engagement Marketing

Breyon Johnson, Better Youth Grad Skydance Animation + Live Action Intern

A Director’s Journey: Conversation with Award-winning Director Pete Chatmon

A Director's Journey: Conversation with Award-winning Director Pete Chatmon

Join us for an in-depth conversation with director Pete Chatmon! Moderated by LAFS Faculty, Jay Zabriskie, the conversation will include best practices for working with a creative team, and the how & why behind the choices directors make for their audience. They will also discuss Pete Chatmon’s new book, “Transitions: A Director’s Journey and Motivational Handbook,” inspiring new directors.

Pete’s credits include: Insecure, Silicon Valley, You, Atypical, Grey’s Anatomy, Black-ish, A Million Little Things, Station 19, Mixed-ish, Single Parents, All Rise, Blindspotting, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Grown-ish, The Last OG, Greenleaf, and Mythic Quest.


With a deft ability to balance both half-hour single-camera comedies and one-hour dramas, PeteChatmon has directed episodes of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant, Insecure, Silicon Valley, and Love Life, Netflix’s You and Atypical, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Black-ish, A Million Little Things, Station 19, Mixed-ish and Single Parents, CBS’s All Rise and The Unicorn, Starz’ Blindspotting, FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FreeForm’s Grown-ish, TBS’s The Last OG, OWN’s Greenleaf, and the Apple TV+ series Mythic Quest. He is in development on The Education of Matt Barnes with Showtime, for which he will direct the pilot and serve as executive producer and is currently co-executive producer and producing director on Reasonable Doubt, the first project to be produced via Hulu’s Onyx Collective. His debut feature as writer/director, “Premium”, starred Dorian Missick, Zoe Saldana, and Hill Harper and premiered on Showtime after a limited theatrical run. Chatmon also wrote, produced, and directed “761st”, a documentary on the first black tank battalion in WWII, narrated by Andre Braugher. He received the Tribeca Film Institute “All Access” Program’s Creative Promise Narrative Award for the heist screenplay “$FREE.99”. Through TheDirector, his Digital Studio, he has directed, shot, and edited content for advertising agencies and Fortune 500 brands. Chatmon’s career began in 2001 with the Sundance selection of his NYU thesis film, “3D”, starring Kerry Washington. His most recent short film, “BlackCard”, premiered on HBO, and his narrative podcast, “Wednesday Morning” engaged voters around the 2020 election. He is developing several episodic concepts and feature films while booking episodes for the upcoming cable, broadcast, and streaming seasons. His podcast, “Let’s Shoot! with Pete Chatmon” is available on YouTube, iTunes, and all podcast platforms. His debut book, “Transitions: A Director’s Journey and Motivational Handbook” was recently released by Michael Wiese Productions, publisher of the world’s best-selling books for independent filmmakers.

Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @petechatmon.


Book: https://www.amazon.com/Transitions-Directors-Journey-Motivational-Handbook/dp/161593331X/

Website: https://petechatmon.com/

Changing the Face of PR Panel

Changing the Face of PR Panel

Join us for a roundtable discussion featuring black executives from Warner Media, Netflix and Starz. In their roles at these companies, these execs focus on inclusivity, while elevating the importance of authentic and intentional representation in the industry.

Exploring the World of Multicultural Marketing with HBO

Exploring the World of Multicultural Marketing with HBO

Don’t miss our exclusive virtual conversation featuring Jessica Vargas – Director, Multicultural Marketing, at HBO and HBO Max, in her role, Jessica focuses on inclusivity while developing authentic and intentional campaigns that reflect the diverse world that we live in. With the launch of HBO’s ambicultural movement and campaign, Pa’lante!, she is helping to shape the future of HBO and multi-cultural marketing. You won’t want to miss this chat!

Moderated by Evelyn Brito

Jessica Vargas Director, Multicultural Marketing, HBO Max and HBO

Jessica Vargas is director, Multicultural Marketing, at HBO Max and HBO, working across the HBO Max portfolio, responsible for the strategic and creative oversight of targeted marketing efforts and business initiatives to the network’s Latino audiences. This includes HBO, HBO Latino, and all of HBO’s digital platforms. ​

Among her most recent accomplishments at HBO Max and HBO, Jessica led the successful launch of HBO Max’s new audience initiative, Pa’lante! an always-on social platform to engage the Latinx audience with the purpose of representing, celebrating, and empowering the community and ultimately driving retention, loyalty, and viewership growth. She also recently spearheaded the launch of “Are You Listening?” a content series inspired by the HBO award-winning series Habla and the Pa’lante Promise, a way to support Latino creatives through a partnership with WarnerMedia’s OneFifty. In the past 3 years, she has also launched a Latino Stand-Up competition, a Latinx Short-Film competition, and a New York City school program bringing the arts to students of color.

Jessica has also led the development of award-winning marketing campaigns for Habla y Vota (Mosaic Media Image Award for Advocacy & New York Festival Award Certificate), El Hipnotizador (Festival Iberoamericano de Promociones y Eventos (Grand Prix Crystal)), Alejandro Sanz + Carlos Santana (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Award (EMMA)), and Yandel (New York Festival Award, Bronze World Medal).

​Jessica joined HBO as a marketing associate, Affiliate Operations, in 2010, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of provider-specific print and media campaigns for acquisition and retention marketing activity related to segment marketing, documentaries, sports, retail and new product launches. In 2012, Jessica was promoted to marketing manager and in 2015, the Multicultural marketing team was restructured and placed under the Consumer Marketing division of HBO.

​Before her career at HBO, Jessica worked at Reader’s Digest and Parenting Magazine where she partnered with sales reps to respond to RFPs, offering and executing merchandising proposals for such brands as Neutrogena, Kraft, Motts, Pepperidge Farm, and Clorox. At Reader’s Digest she got her first taste of Hispanic Marketing when she developed custom integrated marketing presentations for Selecciones and selecionnes.com, the Hispanic magazine part of Reader’s Digest.

Jessica holds a BA in International Business with a minor in French from The State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a member of Chi Alpha Epsilon (XAE), Educational Opportunity Program National Honor Society. For more information, please visit www.vargasjessica.com.

Eyes on the Prize with Official Latino Film Festival Founder, Danny Hastings

Eyes on the Prize with Official Latino Film Festival Founder, Danny Hastings

Don’t miss our exclusive chat with filmmaker Danny Hastings. Danny created the Official Latino Film Festival in 2015, in response to the lack of Latinx representation in Hollywood films and TV shows. Its mission is to showcase, nurture, and support the emerging creative Latinx filmmakers who produce, direct and/or write their films in the United States.

Let’s Get Real About Representation in TV and Film

Let’s Get Real About Representation in TV and Film

Let’s talk about authentic representation in storytelling. Many TV writer’s rooms don’t always accurately reflect the diverse world that surrounds them. In addition to that, the character profile and storylines on these shows are often inauthentic and don’t accurately represent the culture in which the character is supposed to be a part of.

For this year’s Hispanic Heritage + Latinx Month, we’re proud to speak with a few Hispanic + Latinx writers who are focused on elevating authentic, accurate and intentional representation in Film & TV. These accomplished group of writers and producers have worked on multi-award winning and nominated shows including Snowfall, Private Practice, East Los High, Diary of a Future President and more.


DANNY FERNANDEZ is a writer, actor, producer, and songwriter. He is currently working on season 2 of ICARLY on Paramount Plus with previous writing credits including: DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT for Disney+, LOVE, VICTOR on Hulu, and Eva Longoria’s GRAND HOTEL on ABC. Danny was selected for the 2020 LATINXT List, a groundbreaking initiative founded by Zoe Saldana, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Robert Rodriguez, recognizing and elevating breakthrough US Latinx creatives.Danny was born in Miami and is a first-generation Cuban-American. A graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, he has been seen as an actor Off-Broadway, and on Nickelodeon’s iCarly, ABC’s Mistresses and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opposite Steve Carrell. After noticing the lack of authentic Latinx representation on TV and Film, Danny decided to dedicate himself to writing that material himself. He quickly fell in love with writing and telling stories that were true to his experiences as a first-generation Latino-American.For three years, Danny was the sole writer for the annual Imagen Awards, which included reworking the opening of Hamilton to honor Lin-Manuel Miranda and writing for Rita Moreno, Kenny Ortega, among others. Founded by Norman Lear, The Imagen Awards celebrate the positive portrayals of Latinx characters and stories in TV and Film. As a director, Danny produced and directed portions of Todrick Hall’s Visual Album, Straight Outta Oz, which currently has over 7 Million views on YouTube and reached #2 on the iTunes Pop Music Charts.Danny has written extensively for non-profits, creating videos that are viral hits which star Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Verne Troyer, Kat Graham, and Anika Noni Rose. His other projects feature Mariah Carey, The Roots, Dr. Cornell West, and Al Sharpton, surrounding issues regarding Civil Rights and Racial Justice as a public health crisis.

SAL CALLEROS is an LA native who started out as a graffiti artist in high school and college. He graduated from the ABC Writing Fellowship in 2006 but his first true writing job was for the Domestic Violence Clinic in the San Fernando Courthouse. After also working three years as a Family Law paralegal, and a court interpreter -he transitioned into entertainment. He started as a research analyst at FX and then as a Media Planner at a Hispanic marketing agency. Sal also has a beautiful family, that provides entertaining and challenging culture clashes that fuel his creativity!

MARIA ESCOBEDO is a native New Yorker, living in Los Angeles, who writes for both live action and animation. Her writing credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Hulu’s East Los High, plus Madagascar: A Little Wild for Dreamworks, Nickelodeon’s Santiago of the Seas, and Disney’s Elena of Avalor! She’s a 1st generation Latina raised in NYC’s Washington Heights, (yes, she was raised: In The Heights!) and she spent her summers with family in Miami and Puerto Rico. After film school, Maria co-wrote and directed, Rum and Coke, an indie film, and wrote a movie for Disney Channel, Lifetime (co-wrote), and developed a half hour single cam pilot for Nickelodeon. She recently co-wrote and developed an hour-long dramedy pilot for ABC. Maria has also written and sold pilots in the animated kids space, (Disney, Nick, Amazon, Netflix, Universal Kids, Dreamworks, PBS) earning a Humanitas nomination. She has a degree in film from NY’s School of Visual Arts, studied screenwriting at NYU, playwriting at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, and earned a TV Writing Fellowship from ABC/Disney. Maria served as Chair of the Latino Writers Committee at the WGAW for 5 years.

ANGELICA FIGUEROA has more than 17 years of experience as a screenwriter. In 2019, she received an award for best script in Marbella’s Film Festival for the feature film Sofia. She has worked as an educator for more than 10 years and writes for independent projects for television and film. During seven years she worked in public television overseas. In 2020, she earned a master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology. She is passionate about teaching and making a positive difference in students’ lives.

Barrier Breakers: Building Your Empire with Alumni Alex Ferrufino & David Mansanalez

Barrier Breakers: Building Your Empire with Alumni Alex Ferrufino & David Mansanalez

Fresh off his 2021 Spotlight Academy honor, Alex Ferrufino, is back with his business partner and fellow alum, David Mansanalez to share all about their latest project, In Broad Daylight, running a small business, and everything you need to know about the unions that run the film industry.

In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage + Latinx month we’re excited to bring you a discussion with LAFS alumni Alex Ferrufino and David Mansanalez. 2021 Spotlight Academy Inductee, Alex Ferrufino and his team at 4 Ways Entertainment don’t stop! They’re back to share the scoop about their latest project, In Broad Daylight, the ins-and-outs of running of your own production company, and everything you need to know about unions. You won’t want to miss this one!

Barrier Breaker: Evelyn Brito, Bodega Makeover

Barrier Breaker: Evelyn Brito, Bodega Makeover

In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage + Latinx Month, we’re excited to host a virtual conversation with LAFS Alumni Evelyn Brito! You’ll hear about Evelyn’s experiences from getting her foot in the door after graduating to creating and executive producing her own show. We’ll also talk about how she’s giving back to the community through The Bodega Makeover Project.

The Barrier Breakers event series highlights writers, filmmakers, executives, music industry professionals and entertainment icons – who not only excel in their industry but continue to pave the way for others by fighting for diversity, inclusion and representation.