Dolores Huerta to Be Honored at This Year’s Girl Up #GirlHero Awards

Dolores Huerta is living legend in the Latino community… And, now she’s being heralded as a girl hero.

The 90-year-old Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist, who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers) with Cesar Chavez, will be one of the honorees at this year’s Girl Up #GirlHero Awards.

Dolores Huerta

Huerta, television super-producer Shonda Rhimes, #metoo and Founder Tarana Burke for their work on gender equality at its third annual ceremony, which will take place on International Day of the Girl.

The virtual event will take place online on Thursday, October 29 at 12:00 pm ET with Girl Up Champion Nigel Barker as co-host.

In addition, Girl Up executive director Melissa Kilby will highlight Girl Up’s Gen Z leaders fighting for change while special guests will make appearances on the event’s virtual red carpet.

“Today we’re celebrating gender equality giants, at a time when there’s a lot at stake for girls and women,” said Kilby. “We’re honored to stand with them in building a brighter, more equal movement by relentlessly showing that girls are and have always been leading us toward a better future.”

The awards will honor lifelong civil rights advocate Huerta, who models how standing for a cause can change the world. Rhimes will be honored for her work as a storyteller that explores the most relevant topics of our time, reflecting the world as we know it onscreen with dynamic characters; and Burke who founded #metoo, a movement that kicked off a worldwide wave of women taking a stand against violence and discrimination.

The honorees will participate in conversations with Girl Up’s own girl changemakers Ina Bhoopalam, Alliyah Logan, and Rym Badran as they share their work for gender equality.

The one-on-one conversations will highlight advocates, allies, and activists shaking up accepted norms and changing the trajectory of global gender equality over the course of their lifetime.

Honorees of last year’s #GirlHero Awards in Los Angeles were Cara Delevingne, Jameela Jamil and Kate Hudson.

Stephanie McMahon, Pamella Roland, LaVerne Council, Amanda Fata, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Michelle King, Alexandra Trustman, Shaun Robinson, Tracy Shaffer and Chantelle Siegel will serve as this year’s co-chairs of the event.

Ferrera Among 683 Stars Invited to Become Members of The Academy

America Ferrera is joining the Academy…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a record 683 people to joins its ranks, including the 32-year-old Honduran American actress, more than double last year’s 322 invitees.

America Ferrera

Best known for her Golden Globe-, Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy-winning role on ABC’s Ugly Betty, Ferrera has also starred in several acclaimed films including Real Women Have Curves, Under the Same Moon, End of Watch, Cesar Chavez and Lords of Dogtown.

The Academy was careful to include a breakdown by gender and race, with the new list comprising of 46% women, including Girl in Progess star Eva Mendes and Fast & Furious star Michelle Rodriguez, and 41% people of color, including Luis Guzman, Oscar Isaac and Spanish director J.A. Bayona.

“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation — a mission and not just a membership,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today. We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

The new invitees include 28 Oscar winners, range in age from 24 to 91 and represent 59 countries.

 

Other Latinos invited to join AMPAS include Enrique Castillo, Sal Lopez, Marisa Paredes, Jacob Vargas, Daphne Zuniga, Ciro Guerra and Nicole Garcia.

 

Check out the complete list here.

PBS to Air Special on Late Hispanic Leader Willie Velasquez in October

Willie Velasquez’s memory will live on as part of a PBS special…

The public broadcaster has announced plans to air Willie Velasquez: Empowering the People in October.

Willie Velasquez

The program centers on the late leader of the movement to increase political power among Hispanic Americans. He passed away of cancer in June 1998. He was 44.

With his rallying cry of “Su Voto es su Voz,” Velasquez started a grassroots movement that would change the nation’s political landscape and pave the way for the growing power of the Latino vote

Velasquez, a native of San Antonio, was a leader of La Raza Unida, a Hispanic-American political party that was active in the Southwest in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1968 he led a farmworkers’ strike, along with Cesar Chavez, in south Texas. In 1981, he taught a course on Southwestern politics at Harvard University.

In 1974, Velasquez founded the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, the nation’s largest voter registration project aimed at the Hispanic community.

Under his guidance, a spokesman said, the project conducted voter registration drives in 200 cities and Indian reservations and conducted extensive polling.

”What we’re most proud of is that from 1974 when we started to 1987, the number of Hispanic elected officials in the U.S. grew from 1,566 to 3,038, an increase of 82 percent,” the spokesman said.

PBS will air Willie Velasquez: Empowering the People on October 3 from 10:30-11:30 pm ET.

Luna to Star in Next “Star Wars” Feature, “Star Wars: Rogue One”

May the force be with Diego Luna

The 35-year-old Mexican actor, director and producer has landed a co-starring role in the next installment of the Star Wars feature series, Star Wars: Rogue One.

Diego Luna

The film, which will also star Felicity Jones and Ben Mendelsohn, will be released by Disney in December.

Luna, who directed and produced Cesar Chavez, also was part of the cast of Milk, Elysium, The Terminal and Y Tu Mama Tambien.

No word yet on the role Luna will portray in the film.

Dawson to Announce This Year’s Spirit Award Nominees

Rosario Dawson has the spirit, yes she does…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban American actress, who has earned critical acclaim for her work in Chris Rock’s Top Five, has been tapped to announce this year’s 2015 Spirit Award nominees, according to Film Independent president Josh Welsh.

Rosario Dawson

The Sin City: A Dame To Kill For star will be joined by Mexican actor Diego Luna, who directed Dawson in his Cesar Chavez biopic Chavez.

They’ll announce the nominees at 10:00 am PT on Tuesday, November 25, at the W Hollywood.

Spirit Award winners will be announced on February 21 under Film Independent’s signature tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Luna’s “Chavez” Claims an Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival

The future looks like bright for Diego Luna’s biopic on Cesar Chavez

The 34-year-old Mexican actor-turned-director’s film Chavez about the life of the life of Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist earned an audience award at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.

Cesar Chavez

Chavez, which stars Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson and John Malkovich, took home the audience prize in the Narrative Spotlight category.  

The film premiered in the Berlinale Special Galas section of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival last month.

Here’s a look at the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winners:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITIONAudience Award Winner: Before I Disappear
Director: Shawn Christensen

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITIONAudience Award Winner: Vessel
Director: Diana Whitten

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHTAudience Award Winner: DamNation
Director: Ben Knight & Travis Rummel

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT Audience Award Winner: CESAR CHAVEZ
Directors: Diego Luna

VISIONSAudience Award Winner: Yakona
Director: Anlo Sepulveda & Paul Collins

MIDNIGHTERSAudience Award Winner: Exists
Director: Eduardo Sánchez

EPISODICAudience Award Winner: Silicon Valley
Director: Mike Judge

SXGLOBALAudience Award Winner: The Special Need
Directors: Carlo Zoratti

FESTIVAL FAVORITESAudience Award Winner: The Case Against 8
Director: Ben Cotner & Ryan White

SXSW Film Design Awards EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN

Audience Award Winner: Big Significant Things
Designer: Corey Holms

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN Audience Award Winner:  True Detective
Designer: Patrick Clair for Elastic

Luna’s Cesar Chavez Biopic to Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival

Diego Luna’s latest directorial effort is set to premiere in Germany…

The 34-year-old Mexican actor/director’s biopic Cesar Chavez: An American Hero will have its world premiere next month at the Berlin International Film Festival, according to the movie’s production company.

Diego Luna

The film about Latino icon Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) will be entered into the festival’s official program in the Berlinale Special section, which presents recent works by contemporary directors, as well as cinematic portraits of renowned personalities, Canana Films, which Luna co-owns with fellow Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, said in a statement.

The cast of the biopic is led by Michael Peña, who portrays the late migrant farmworkers’ leader and civil rights activist.

Michael Pena as Cesar Chavez

Golden Globe winning actress America Ferrera portrays Chavez’s wife, while Rosario Dawson plays Dolores Huerta, Chavez’s partner in founding the National Farmworkers Association (later renamed to the United Farm Workers).

“Cesar Chavez represents the largest non-violent protest movement in U.S. history; his goal was to achieve basic human rights for the more than 50,000 farm workers in California,” said the production company’s statement.

“We think the film will send the message that change is in our hands. Chavez did something that everyone thought was impossible with courage that inspired an entire nation.”

Cesar Chavez, which will hit U.S. theaters on March 28 and arrive in Mexico on May 2, was filmed in the United States and the northern Mexican state of Sonora.

It marks Luna’s second foray into directing, after his hit 2010 comedy/drama Abel.

Ferrera to Star in the Relationship Drama “X/Y”

America Fererra didn’t have to go far to audition (and land) for her latest role…

The 28-year-old Honduran-American actress and former Ugly Betty star has landed a role in her husband Ryan Piers Williams’ latest film X/Y.

America Ferrera

The writer-filmmaker previously directed his wife in 2010’s The Dry Land, a film that earned Ferrera an Imagen Award nomination for best actress.

X/Y, which is being called a relationship drama, will take a look inside the lives and minds of an interconnected group of friends in New York City. The character-driven film explores the challenges people face in communicating and connecting.

In addition to starring Ferrera and Williams, the film stars Melonie Diaz, Jon Paul Phillips, Dree Hemingway, Adam Rapp, Ann Dowd and Common.

Production on the film has already begun in New York.

Ferrera will next be seen in Diego Luna’s Chavez, a biopic about labor leader and civil right advocate Cesar Chavez.

 

Peña Cast in Fox’s Drama Pilot “The List”

Michael Peña is officially on The List at Fox

The 37-year-old Mexican American actor has landed the lead role in Fox’s drama pilot The List.

Michael Pena

The project, from Paul Zbyszewski, Ruben Fleischer and 20th Century Fox Television, revolves around an intense deputy U.S. Marshal who must hunt down the person who stole “the list,” a file with the identities of every member of the federal witness protection program, when people on that list start getting picked off.

Peña’s character is described as a ruggedly attractive, oddly charismatic man, a notoriously quirky maverick who often gets into trouble with the bureaucracy.

Peña, who earned a 2013 Independent Spirit Award nomination for End Of Watch and starred opposite Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad, recently wrapped up work with Ed Harris on the border drama Frontera.

He’ll next be seen portraying Cesar Chavez in the Diego Luna-directed film Chavez.

Ferrera Returning to Off Broadway…

It’s bye, bye Betty… and Hello, Bethany for America Ferrera

The 28-year-old Honduran American actress will be returning to Off Broadway this season to play the lead in Bethany.

America Ferrera

Written by Laura Marks, the dark comedy is set in an American community hit hard by foreclosures and economic woes, the play revolves around a woman who tests the limits of her own morality as she scrambles to regain her financial footing.

Produced by Women’s Project Theater, the world premiere will be directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.

The play is scheduled to run January 11-February 17, 2013 at New York City Center Stage II.

The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning star of ABC‘s Ugly Betty’s last Off Broadway project was in the satirical Peanuts riff Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead back in 2005. Ferrera recently did an eight-week stint as Roxie Hart in Chicago on London’s West End.

Ferrera’s latest projects include appearing with Michael Peña in End of Watch, She’ll next appear opposite Peña in the Diego Luna-directed biopic, Chavez, playing the wife of Latin American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.