At NALIP with ITVS Production Manager Jorge Trelles

Posted on April 20, 2009

Over the weekend, ITVS Production Manager Jorge Trelles attended the annual National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) conference. Read about his experience and about how Latinos are making a difference in media.

As I landed into John Wayne airport in Orange County, CA, I knew this year’s National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) conference promised to be one for the books. This year celebrated the 10-year anniversary of this great organization, which has done so much to provide not only a voice, but a megaphone for Latinos in the media. The combination of documentary filmmakers, new media producers, narrative producers, funders, studio executives and everything in between delivered what it had promised––a celebration of a decade of influence. 

During an uplifting keynote address, Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino, gave some background on the history of Latinos in media to remind everyone about our righteous place in society, as the original Americans, and as the future of the national media. Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, took time to recognize the valuable contributions of Latino producers, past and present, and also addressed PBS’s strategy to increase minority presence throughout the organization as well as representation on the board and management. 

Our very own ITVS-funded producers also contributed to the energy of the conference. Natalia Almada, producer of EL GENERAL, and Juan Mandelbaum, producer of OUR DISAPPEARED/NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS shared a panel facilitated by P.O.V.’s Simon Kilmurry. This case study traced the creative and business journeys of these films that tell stories of the Latino diaspora. On the new media developments, the conference had sessions about some of the most successful multi-platform projects online today. Douglas Cheney, co-founder of Big Fantastic, and Eric Escobar of Kontent Films showed their immediate audience feedback models, the development of fictional social platform profiles of their narrative characters, as well as their “concept placement” model as a funding tool. 

Manuel Garcia-Durán, chairman and CEO of, described the success of the “comunitainment” model, the idea of combining social media with original content, which has placed as one of the few profitable online portals today. But for me, one of the greatest highlights came from the “What’s Going On? Meeting Today’s Challenges” panel facilitated by Frances Negrón-Muntaner, co-chair of NALIP. In this panel, we received a number of rating statistics from Cindi Smith of Nielsen Entertainment, which reinforced that at 13 percent of the American population, Latinos are the biggest consumers group of media today. Ligiah Villalobos, writer of LA MISMA LUNA, described how the trends of today’s market point at international plot lines as some of the hottest commodities. It was Juan Gonzáles, columnist of the New York Daily News and co-host of Democracy Now! that reminded everyone “it’s the pipe, stupid!” 

It is the federally funded media pipelines that have brought on revolutionary changes that have re-shaped the way we communicate with each other (from the postal systems to the telegraph to the radio to TV to the Internet and satellite). On that note, Mark Lloyd, vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, spoke about the fact that there is $7.2 billion today that has been allocated by the Obama Administration, to fund broadband installations on the communities that need it the most. He reminded us that it was “brown” who helped to get “black” into the White House, and it was now time for “brown” to reap the benefits from that political power. He reminded us that a decade of influence was not enough. It is time for the next decade to be the decade of real power. Well said. 

-Jorge Production Manager, ITVS


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