Lin-Manuel Miranda Among 300 BIPOC Artists to Sign Open Letter Demanding Change from the “White American Theater”

Lin-Manuel Mirandais addressing the “White American Theater.”

As protests and rallies against racial injustice and the killing of black lives continue throughout the world, the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, singer, rapper, actor, producer, and playwright is bringing the theater world into the spotlight, to address systemic racism against black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

An open letter addressed to “White American Theater” and demanding change was published earlier this week. 

The letter was filled with ugly truths that those who’ve worked in the theater industry have experienced for decades. 

Among the 300 BIPOCs who signed the letter were Miranda,Viola DavisSandra OhUzo AdubaSterling K. BrownCynthia ErivoYahya Abdul-Mateen IIDanai GuriraAndre HollandConrad RicamoraTanya SarachoAnika Noni RoseJessica HagedornLeslie Odom Jr.,Katori Halland others.

The letter bluntly calls out the industry: “We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us.”

“We have watched you exploit us, shame us, diminish us, and exclude us. We see you. We have always seen you. And now you will see us.”

It continues to drag theater’s history of tokenism, white privilege, patriarchy, blatant racism, bias and hypocrisy: “We have watched you amplify our voices when we are heralded by the press, but refuse to defend our aesthetic when we are not, allowing our livelihoods to be destroyed by a monolithic and racist culture.”

“Join us in demanding change for BIPOC theater artists at http://weseeyouWAT.com. #WeSeeYou #TomorrowTherellBeMoreOfUs,” Miranda tweeted, sharing the letter and a petition with everyone.

The open letter comes as the protests following the killing of George Floyd and other black lives continue around the globe. It also comes when there seems to be a reckoning in all industries when it comes to racial inequality. 

Gloria Calderón Kellett Taking Part in Latinx-Themed Panel for Virtual ATX Television Festival

Gloria Calderón Kellett is representin’…

The 45-year-old Cuban American television writer and One Day at a Time co-showrunner will be taking part in ATX Television Festival’s virtual edition, which has been appropriately titled “ATX TV…From The Couch!” 

Gloria Calderón Kellett

Calderón Kellett will take part in a conversation about Latinx representation on the small screen, alongside Vida creator Tanya SarachoPose’s co-creator Steven Canals and Diary of a Future President’s Ilana Peña.

Calderón Kellett, Saracho, Canals and Peña, some of today’s hottest Latinx content creators, will be “Celebrating Authentic Stories,” the title of their panel. 

They’ll talk about celebrating and continuing the push for positive Latinx representation, as well as how decision-makers within the industry can amplify Latinx voices.

 “ATX TV… from the Couch!” marks the first virtual event for the fest and will include industry-forward panels with showrunners and executives, sneak previews of upcoming series, and virtual events such as television trivia and a music showcase. 

The virtual event will take place June 5-7. It will be free to access via ATX’s official YouTube channe l, with the option for viewers to donate to select organizations providing COVID-19 relief regionally and nationally.

In addition to the Latinx panel, the festival’s virtual line-up will include conversations with cast and creatives from Freeform’s The Bold TypeNBC’s hit drama New Amsterdam, and The CW’s mystery-drama Nancy Drew.

The ATX Television Festival will also include a Scrubs reunion with the show’s creator Bill Lawrence, as well as cast members Zach BraffDonald FaisonSarah Chalke, John C. McGinley, and Judy Reyes. The cast was previously confirmed for ATX Season 9 in Austin, and rescheduled their in-person reunion for the 2021 festival.

Starz to Premiere Season 3 of Melissa Barrera’s Series “Vida” in April

Melissa Barerrais breathing more lifeinto Starz’s lineup this April…

The network has announced that Season 3 of its original series Vida, starring the 29-year-old Mexican actress/singer, will premiere on Sunday, April 26 at 9:00 pm. 

Melissa Barrera

Six episodes of the East L.A.-set drama will air week-to-week on Starz in the U.S. and Canada and on StarzPlayacross Europe and Latin America.

The show created by Tanya Saracho was renewed for a third season less than a week after its Season 2 premiere in May 2019; the show has continued to boost Hispanic viewership numbers at the Lionsgate-owned network. 

The new season wrapped filming in Los Angeles in November, and was written by an all-Latinxwriters room and helmed by Latina directors Jenée LaMarqueand Saracho.

In addition to Barrera, Vidastars Mishel PradaSer AnzoateguiChelsea RendonCarlos Mirandaand Roberta Colindrez

The upcoming season returns with Emma (Prada) and Lyn (Barrera) riding on the heels of success. The bar is booming and their love lives are actually flourishing… until the Hernandez sisters discover a long-buried family secret that ruins their hard-won peace. They find themselves face to face with old ghosts and new enemies, all while deciding if they can continue together as a family or if they should move on alone, for good this time.

Vida, which won last year’s GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy series, centers on Emma and Lyn, sisters who return home to their old neighborhood after their mother’s death to discover very little is as they thought it was, taking on issues of gender, gentrification, economics, representation and family.

Saracho returns as showrunner and executive produces the series.

Chelsea Rendon to Appear on New Season of Showtime’s “Shameless”

There’s a little Shame in Chelsea Rendon’s game…

The Latina actress has landed a recurring role on Showtime’s long-running series Shameless.

Chelsea Rendon

The 10th season of the William H. Macy-fronted series from Warner Bros. Televisionpicks up six months after last season’s finale with Frank (Macy) using his leg injury to collect as many prescription drugs as possible and his exploits leading him to an old friend. Meanwhile, Debbie (Emma Kenney), emboldened by the $50,000 left to her by Fiona, has stepped in as the new matriarch, ruling over the Gallagher household with an iron fist. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) navigates his relationship with a newly affectionate Tami (Kate Miner). Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) has to decide what to do with his life as he finishes military school and heads back to the South side. Liam is committed to learning more about black history and culture under the tutelage of V (Shanola Hampton) as Kev (Steve Howey) faces an identity crisis. Gallavich returns this season as Ian (Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) rekindle their romance in prison as both cellmates and lovers.

Rendon will portray Anne, the charismatic — and dangerously fun — new coworker of Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) at Captain Bob’s. Early on, the two have contentious relationship but then she shows Carl a different perspective on being poor on the South Side.

Shameless returns on Sunday, November 3 on Showtime.

Rendon stars in Tanya Saracho’s critically acclaimed Starzseries Vida as well as theSundancedrama The Infiltrators from Cristina Ibarraand Alex Rivera.

Raúl Castillo Lands Recurring Role on Starz’s “Vida”

There’s new life in Raúl Castillo’s career…

The 40-year-old Mexican American actor has landed a recurring role on Starz’s Latinx half-hour series Vida.

Raúl Castillo

From creator/showrunner Tanya Saracho, Vida centers around two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different from each other. Saracho will make her directorial debut in season two, which will delve deeper into the lives of Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada), who return home to face the past and secrets left behind by their late mother as they search for their future.

Castillo, rose to acclaim after starring on HBO’s Looking, will portray Baco, the bar’s new handyman with a questionable past.

Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez has also landed a recurring role on the show.

The Latino actor will appear as Rudy, an L.A. city councilman who Lyn meets at a gym class.

Production is set to begin in and around the Los Angeles area on the expanded 10-episode second season.

Castillo’s credits include Atypical, Amexicano andWe the Animals; Gonzalez’s credits include Superstore and Your Family or Mine.

In addition to Barrera and Prada, Vida also stars Ser Anzoategui, Chelsea Rendon, Carlos Miranda and Roberta Colindrez.

Saracho executive produces alongside Big Beach Television’s Robin Schwartz, Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub with Stephanie Langhoff.

Alonso Ruizpalacios’ Starz Pilot for “Vida” Wins Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival

The audience has spoken… And, they’ve given Alonso Ruizpalacios his due prize.

The SXSW Film Festival announced its Audience Award winners, with the Mexican film director and co-helmer So Yong Kim’s Vida taking home the Episodic prize.

Starz's Vida

The forthcoming Starz series was created by Tanya Saracho and directed by Kim. Ruizpalacios directed the Vida pilot.

Abner Benaim took home the prize in the 24 Beats Per Second category for his documentary film, Ruben Blades Is Not My Name.

The Panamanian film director’s film is hailed as a celebration of the Latin American icon who was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970’s. His socially charged lyrics and explosive rhythms brought Salsa music to an international audience. Blades has won 17 Grammys, acted in Hollywood, earned a law degree from Harvard and even ran for President of his native Panama.

Santiago Caicedo’s Virus Tropical was the Audience Award Winner in the Global category.

The black-and-white feature is closely adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Power Paola, the nom de plume of Colombian-Ecuadorian cartoonist Paola Gaviria.

The Audience Awards follow the previously announced 2018 Jury Awards.

Over nine days, the 2018 SXSW Film Festival screened 136 features.

Here’s the complete list of Audience Award winners:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: First Match
Director: Olivia Newman 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Audience Award Winner: TransMilitary
Directors: Gabriel Silverman, Fiona Dawson 

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT
Audience Award Winner: All Square
Director: John Hyams 

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT
Audience Award Winner: The Dawn Wall
Director: Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer 

VISIONS
Audience Award Winner: Profile
Director: Timur Bekmambetov 

MIDNIGHTERS
Audience Award Winner: Upgrade
Director: Leigh Whannell 

EPISODIC
Audience Award Winner: Vida
Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios, So Yong Kim 

24 BEATS PER SECOND
Audience Award Winner: Ruben Blades Is Not My Name
Director: Abner Benaim 

GLOBAL
Audience Award Winner: Virus Tropical
Director: Santiago Caicedo 

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
Audience Award Winner: Science Fair
Director: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster 

SXSW Film Design Awards
EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN
Audience Award Winner: #19 – Offf Barcelona 2017
Directors: Eve Duhamel, Julien Vallee

Tanya Saracho Partnering with Big Beach for New Latinx Series, “Brujas”

It’s the witching hour for Tanya Saracho

The Mexican playwright and television writer will serve as the showrunner for a new series titled Brujas, a show in development via Big Beach.

Tanya Saracho

The series will follow four Afro-Caribbean/Latinx women in Chicago and series explore the relationships and community born out of the growing identification with the Bruja movement.

Brujas marks the continuing collaboration between Saracho and Big Beach. The new show will use the brujería counter-culture as a foundation. The brujería culture is a means for Latinx feminists to reconnect with their heritage through music, style, nightlife, and art. It’s a powerful return to indigenous practices and a reclamation of feminine strength. It’s also a headline-grabbing movement reflected from coast to coast by artists from Princess Nokia with her single “Brujas” to Beyonce’s opus of female empowerment, “Lemonade.”

Saracho is writing the series and will serve as executive producer alongside Big Beach’s Robin Schwartz, Peter Saraf, and Marc Turtletaub.

Saracho has written for Lifetime’s Devious Maids, HBO’s Girls and Looking, and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

She was previously named Best New Playwright by Chicago Magazine, one of the 9 national “Luminarios” by Café Magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” award in theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Mishel Prada Cast in Starz’s New Latinx Drama Series “Vida”

Mishel Prada is livin’ la vida in Hollywood…

The Latina actress has landed a series regular in Starz new Latinx drama series Vida from showrunner Tanya Saracho (How To Get Away With Murder).

Mishel Prada

Rendon joins a cast that includes several Latino actors/actresses, including McFarland, USA’s Chelsea Rendon, East Los High’s Karen Ser Anzoategui, The Bling Ring’s Carlos Miranda, Suffering Man’s Charity’s Maria Elena Laas and Club de CuervosMelissa Berrera.

Vida focuses on two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other. Circumstances force them to return to their old neighborhood, where they are confronted by the past and shocking truth about their mother’s identity.

Prada will portray Emma who, estranged from both her sister and her mother, reluctantly returns for her mother’s funeral and to deal with the family business. Barrera will play her sister, Lyn, a care-free party girl, who has figured out how to live a pretty worry-free life in the Bay Area.

Anzoategui will portray Eddy, a sensitive soul who is trustworthy, generous and passionate but also intimidating looking upon first glance. Rendon will play Marisol who is the expression of east side youth culture: woke, politicized, and deep in the resistance. Miranda is Johnny, a stand-up guy who runs his ailing dad’s auto shop and is engaged to his pregnant girlfriend but has a history with Lyn. Laas will portray Cruz, an enigmatic lesbian who has a checkered history with Emma.

Alonso Ruizpalacios directs the series premiere episode. Big Beach TV will produce the Latinx series.

Prada’s previous credits include Fear the Walking Dead: Passage and Tell Me How I Die.

Starz Names Saracho Showrunner on Latin-Themed Project “Pour Vida”

Tanya Saracho has a new vida in Hollywood

Starz has named the Mexican-born playwright and television writer the showrunner for Pour Vida, a series in development.

Tanya Saracho

Inspired by a short story by Richard Villegas Jr., Pour Vida follows twin sisters, Brook and Lyn Hernandez, who inherit an East LA building from their recently deceased mother. They open Pour Vida, a new wine and tapas bar, in a building in Boyle Heights which houses a failing lesbian bar below and a village-like collection of Eastside denizens in three units above. Pour Vida is the sisters’ attempt to put the “gente” in the “gentefication” of the historic barrio.

Saracho has penned episodes of How to Get Away with Murder, Looking and Devious Maids and has also served as c0-producer on HTGWM and Looking.

Saracho has had plays produced at New York City’s Primary Stages (upcoming) and 2nd Stage, as well as the Denver Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The Goodman Theater, among others.

She is currently in development with South Coast Repertory Theatre and Two Rivers Theatre.