The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) hosted its annual Latino Media Fest Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday (Oct. 4). The show is part of a three-day program where Latino filmmakers and producers have an opportunity to showcase their work. In addition to viewing new films, attendees had a chance to attend various workshops on screenwriting and more.
Many of the awards were given for some of the most poignant and timely pieces of work in Latinx content this year. STARZ’s Vida, a show centered around the gentrification of East Los Angeles, queerness among Mexican-Americans and a complicated family reunion, took home Best Latinx Show.
Then there was All About Nina, directed by Spanish filmmaker Eva Vives, which goes into the life of a sexually abused woman, Nina Geld, who is also a well-known comedian. Much of this story starring Angelique Cabral and Common is inspired by Vives’ own struggle with sexual abuse from her father as a child. As a result, Vives won the Best Latinx Filmmaker Award.
With the way men are being perceived in media in the lense of sexual abuse or toxic masculinity, Vives made it a point to represent men in a different light in All About Nina.
“Common and I talked a lot about representation in this movie,” Vives told VIBE Viva on the red carpet. “It was very important to me and to him that we have a positive representation of masculinity there. It doesn’t mean that we shy away from his flaws or try to make everybody seem perfect. I do hope his character teaches men how to deal with a woman with a past like that.”
For Cabral, who plays Carrie in the film, it’s given her a new sense of authority in standing up for herself as a woman in the entertainment industry and the world. This confidence also comes from everything that’s been unearthed in the media about men like Bill Cosby. She feels like women are finally coming together to fight the abuse.
“I think that women are supporting each other for the first time, and we’re finding our voices and we’re not afraid to speak out,” Cabral said. “I find myself on a daily basis on set walking around with more of a sense of belonging, and more of a sense of self. And being able to say, ‘I don’t like that joke. I don’t want to hear about your balls.”
Another conundrum that’s slowly but surely opening up a conversation in Hollywood is colorism within the Latino community. Afro-Latinos have always existed, but now they are getting the much-needed visibility.
“Things also have to open up for Afro-Latinos,” said actress Alex Meneses. “A lot of my Puerto Rican friends and Cuban friends are Latinos—they are not just black and a lot of times they are cast as just black. So I think people are starting to get it, which makes me happy.”
Judging by the emergence of talents like Amara La Negra and Buzzfeed Pero Like channel’s Julissa Calderon (who was also in attendance), more are both bridging the gap that’s needed for these opportunities to happen for more entertainers who culturally and racially look like them.
“I’m very proud because Latinos come in all colors,” Calderon said of her Afro-Latina identity. “We shouldn’t just represent just one demographic. We shouldn’t shun anybody, we should give the opportunity to represent what we all look like. I’m glad to be one of the front runners I’m ok to take all of the crap for the ones after me to be successful and be held on the same platform as everyone else.”
Other winners of the night included director Carlos Lopez Estrada who won Best Latinx Film for Blindspotting starring Daveed Diggs (Hamilton); the Best Latin American Filmmaker award went to Alonzo Ruizpalacios for Museo, and the Best Latin American film went to Sebastian Silva for Fistful of Dirt.
See some of the night’s red carpet highlights in the gallery above.