Sonia Gonzalez Among Finalists for NALIP & Netflix’s Women of Color Incubator

Sonia Gonzalez will be bringing her art to life…

The National Association of Latino Independent Producers and Netflix have announced the third cohort for their Women of Color Incubator, with the Mexican-American writer and filmmaker among the finalists.

Women of Color Incubator,

In addition to Gonzalez, the class of filmmakers includes Michelle Salcedo, Jackie! Zhou, Lorena Duran and Fabiola Andrade.

The cohort chosen from a pool of over 100 applications.

After studying French Literature at Stanford University, Gonzalez moved to Paris, France, to work in television development.

Salcedo was named Best New Filmmaker of the Year in 2020 and is an award-winning director with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. In 2022, Salcedo directed the action feature film, “Switch & Bait,” which was shot on location in Serbia.

Zhou is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist, director and sound designer “keen on blurring the lines between formats and disciplines.” Their short Order for Pickup was produced through Hillman Grad and Indeed’s Rising Voices fellowship and premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.

Duran is a Dominican-American director and cinematographer. Her films have been official selections for the International Rotterdam Film Festival, Palm Springs ShortFest, Atlanta Film Festival and New Orleans Film Festival.

Lastly, Andrade is a Honduras-born, US–based filmmaker “inspired by her multicultural heritage and interdisciplinary background.” Her creative journey in Honduras started as a photographer and copywriter while receiving her BA in Mass Communication.

The Women of Color Incubator, supported by the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, provides five women of color with the opportunity, access, mentorship and production support to develop and produce each of their original short films.

With support from executives at NALIP and Netflix, the filmmakers receive guidance through all stages of the filmmaking journey — from pre-production, filming, post-production and eventual distribution.

“For the past 25 years, NALIP has dedicated itself to championing the voices of Latino and diverse creators within the dynamic landscape of the entertainment industry. Our commitment to amplify the narratives of a vibrant multicultural community is possible through strategic partnerships with like-minded visionaries,” Diana Luna, executive director of NALIP, said in a statement.

Luna added, “In a transformative collaboration with Netflix, this groundbreaking initiative delivers financial support, mentorship and development to a cohort of exceptionally diverse women filmmakers in their journey to telling powerful stories.”

All five filmmakers receive a $30,000 film grant to produce their work. The films will be presented at a special screening at NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Forum on April 18 at The London West Hollywood.

NALIP also provided an update on the recent accomplishments of the class of 2022. Holly M. Kaplan’s “Sunflower Girl” premiered at the Uppsala Short Film Festival and continues its festival run across Europe and North America. Nicole Otero’s “Wait for Night” was selected for The Future of Film is Female Grant grant, as Otero is developing her feature film debut.

Akilah ‘Ak’ Walker and Diana Gonzalez-Morett’s “Pedacito de Carne” had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), then focused on their impact campaign in support of caretakers

and families affected by Frontotemporal Degeneration.

Jhanvi Motla’s “Mirage” won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short at the Santa Fe International Film Festival. Motla was also reaped as a 1497 Features LabMentee, where she is developing her directorial debut under the guidance of Mira Nair. Finally, Frida Perez’s “Detox” premiered at 2022’s LALIFF. Perez is currently developing a show with Apple TV+ and Point Grey.

Learn more about the five finalists and the NALIP here.

Chef Ingrid Hoffman Partners with Justice For Migrant Women to Launch The Humans Who Feed Us” Campaign

Ingrid Hoffman is shining a spotlight on the “humans who feed us.”

Justice For Migrant Women has launched a national campaign entitled “The Humans Who Feed Us” in partnership with the 56-year-old Colombian chef, television personality and restaurateur and other chefs, restaurants and universities across the country.

Chef Ingrid Hoffman The project humanizes workers throughout the food supply chain; highlighting the interdependence between companies, the workers they employ and consumers; and fosters a sense of belonging for these amazing community members in the places where they live and work.

In its second phase, the “The Humans Who Feed Us” portrait exhibition will expand to be displayed in places where food is served and sold in the United States, from restaurants to universities.

As we move into the season for great meals and celebrations in America, the project will focus on “Celebrating the human beings who feed us.”

As the project expands geographically, it will also expand to feature the unique stories of 20 members of the immigrant community employed in the food supply chain, including workers in the dairy, poultry, restaurant and supermarket industries, to showcase the role that each of these individuals plays in ensuring that we have the food to feed ourselves and celebrate special moments. Justice for Migrant Women is also asking the U.S Congress to pass permanent protections and a path to citizenship for essential immigrant workers.

The Migration Policy Institute shares that immigrants make up 22% of all workers in the US food industry. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, more than half of front-line meatpacking workers are immigrants. Additionally, many of the estimated 2.5-3 million farmworkers are migrants and travel to the United States on temporary work visas. Projects like these are vital to changing the narrative around immigrants in this country, many of whom are essential workers, and also to holding elected officials accountable for protecting all of our communities.

“As millions of families in the United States prepare to reunite with their loved ones during the holidays, we will honor the workers who bring food to our tables,” says Monica Ramírez, President and Founder of Justice for Migrant Women. “Thank you to all the people who tend the crops and work in the food industry so that we can eat. You belong and we will continue to fight alongside you for dignity, respect and fair working conditions. ”

Participating restaurants and universities in supporting the project will display portraits of some community members and share background information about the workers, the project, and resources on how to take action to support these workers.

Participating universities include Loyola University Chicago, The Ohio State University, Bowling Green University, and Stanford University.

In addition to Hoffman, chefs who have confirmed their participation in the project include Adrianne Calvo, Patty Jinich, Grace Ramirez and Ruffo Ibarra.

Justice for Migrant Women will enlist the support of Hoffmann to help scale the project nationally.

“Working in the culinary industry for so many years has taught me that behind every step of the food chain is a vulnerable human being at work with little or no protection,” says she Hoffmann. “My goal is to raise awareness of their plight.”

“Members of the immigrant community continue to play a critical role in introducing diverse flavors and culinary inspiration to the American palate,” said Chef Calvo, award-winning chef, author, television personality and restaurateur. “His contribution to our kitchens ranges in influence from having a hand in farming to owning and operating restaurants. There are so many invisible layers that fall under the saying “from farm to table”. Beyond nutrition, food tells a story: it is community, it is culture and it is generational. As a community of chefs, it is our job to keep this story alive. ”

The initial project was launched in August 2021 at the Sandusky County (Ohio) fair, with a focus on farm workers in Northwest Ohio. Ramírez created the narrative and portrait project in conjunction with her grant to the Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy (an initiative established by Race Forward). Through an exhibition of portraits, Justice for Migrant Women highlighted the experiences of 8 farm workers by sharing with us some of the experiences they have had while working, some of the challenges they have experienced, and some of their reflections on how members of community can make them feel more connected and included in the community.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that our work and our relationship [as farmers, farm workers and consumers] is a circle of help. We help people put food on their tables through our work. Farmers and consumers help us put food on the tables of our families in Mexico through our jobs, ”said Jacobo, a farm worker who has worked in Ohio for the past five years.

Even as the food justice movement continues to grow in size and scale, the workers who help support this food system often don’t appear in the conversation. The Humans Who Feed Us seeks to focus on these workers, their stories, their contributions, and their priorities.

Ryan Lochte Makes Emphatic Return to Competition at the U.S. National Championships

Ryan Lochte is back in a big way…

The 34-year-old Cuban American Olympic champion made an emphatic return to competition Wednesday, swimming the fourth-fastest time by an American in the 200-meter individual medley during a time trial at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford University.

Ryan Lochte

“I’m back, Woo!” Lochte proclaimed in his opening remarks on the pool deck at Avery Aquatic Center after qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials with the time of 1 minute, 57.88 seconds. “It’s been a long three years but it’s good to be back, get on those blocks and race again.”

Lochte is entered in the 100 butterfly, 100 and 200 backstrokes and 200 and 400 IM this week, though he hasn’t decided which events he’ll focus on for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I don’t do that much anymore,” Lochte said. “I’ve been splotchy with my swimming. Family trumps everything. Swimming has been my second priority. Nationals, for me, is a stepping stone to see where I’m at in the swimming world. It’s a long journey to next year to see what I can do.”

Lochte said he’s not the same man he was three years ago, when he partied hard during and following the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which he was involved in a fake police report. Last year, he was given a 14-month suspension for receiving an infusion of vitamin B-12 above the allowed limit.

The meet is his first event since the suspension ended last week. During that time, he checked himself into a rehab center for six weeks to fight alcohol abuse.

“There was a point in my life where I needed to change, so I checked myself in,” Lochte said. “My wife was pregnant and I needed to help her. I did all the classes and got out. Since Caiden and my new daughter, Liv, I have a new perspective on life.”

He said he has limited himself to a glass of wine to celebrate the birth of his daughter but that’s been the extent of his alcohol intake since going to rehab.

“There are bigger and better things in my life,” he said. “I’m glad I went to rehab. I needed help and I came out a better man.”

Competing in his fifth Olympics motivates him in the pool. His family drives him to succeed.

“I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone,” Lochte said. “My big goal is 2020 and to reach the podium. I do it for me and my family. I’m having fun again. I haven’t had fun since the 2012 Olympics. My wife and kids have been my backbone. It’s awesome.”

Mendoza Encouraging Latinas to Get in the Game…

Dare to be different! That’s the message Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza is sharing with young Latinas.

The 31-year-old Mexican American softball star—who helped lead the U.S. women’s national softball team to a gold medal at the Athens 2004 games—says young Latinas can differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack by going to college and dedicating their energies to sports.

Jessica Mendoza

“In the Latino community there are many cultural barriers and pre-established roles so that girls remain inside the home and do not devote time to sports,” Mendoza told Efe. “Playing sports, in particular, causes Latinas to have more confidence in themselves, they are a road to education.”

Born in Camarillo, California, the former 4-time First Team All-American softball player, is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. She graduated from Stanford University, where she was the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Along with a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Mendoza has helped lead the U.S. women’s softball team two world cups (2006-2007), two world championships (2002 and 2006), two gold medals in the Pan American Games in 2003 and 2007 and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, among others.

Jessica Mendoza

“A problem in the Hispanic community is that many girls and boys are overweight,” said Mendoza, who is a reporter and analyst for ESPN. “So we have to provide the incentive in Latino homes … to get out of the house to play sports.”

Mendoza said that her love of sports started during her childhood because her father coached baseball, but as a Latina she grew up seeing that there were few Latina role models in sports.

“I started playing baseball at 4, but I only played with males and at 8 I began playing softball with other girls, the model to follow was my dad, who is a bilingual coach and on the field would direct one person in English and, at the same time, he’d give tips to another in Spanish,” she recounted.

“My father played a lot in school and because of his talents in sports he was able to study in good schools and do well in all academic areas to be successful in life,” Mendoza said.

Jessica Mendoza

Married to a civil engineer and the mother of a 3-year-old boy, Mendoza also devotes herself to giving motivational talks to young people in U.S. schools and abroad.

“I like to focus myself on seeing how I can help in the Latino community with my words,” she said.

Mendoza said that she knows very well that in the Latino community there is a cycle in which girls begin to have children at an early age and don’t continue their studies at college.

“We new generations of Latinas have to be different and to dare to be the first in the family to think differently about enrolling to study at community colleges or universities,” she said.