Tanya Saracho Developing Starz’s Half-Hour Drama “Lovesong”

Tanya Saracho is seeing Starz again…

The Mexican American screenwriter, who created the network’s acclaimed series Vida, is currently developing the half-hour drama Lovesong for Starz.

Tanya SarachoMusician and actor Johnny Flynn will co-executive produce the project and serve as composer.

Lovesong follows two Mexican American childhood friends living in London as they both become entangled in a torturous love triangle with the same captivating singer-songwriter. A love story born out of betrayal and paid for with the cost of friendship. Steeped in the East London music scene, the series embarks on a cinematic contemplation of love, sex, identity, purpose, and the price of happiness.

The announcement came ahead of Starz’ inaugural #TakeTheLead summit on Thursday that will feature Saracho’s participation in the “Power of Allyship” panel about fighting for representation.

“We are beyond thrilled to partner with Tanya to bring her bold and tantalizing love story to life,” said Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, Starz. “Throughout her career and from Vida to Lovesong on Starz, her dedication to Latine representation embodies the spirit of #TakeTheLead.”

Through her overall deal with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, Saracho will executive produce Lovesong, along with co-executive producer Christine Dávila, under her production banner Ojalá Productions.

“This story is very much a child of the pandemic, born from those times when we were yearning for love stories to soothe the soul and light the way through the dark times. This is also when the light of Johnny Flynn’s music found me and lit the way into the story. While I spent five months in London, Johnny was generous enough to lead me through his lived experience of the East London music scene, which now comprises the world of ‘Lovesong,’” said Saracho. “It’s wonderful to be coming home to Starz to conceive of my new story of love, a place that truly nurtured and supported me while I crafted the love story of the two Hernandez sisters in Vida, and I couldn’t be happier to return to bring this new narrative to life.”

Lovesong will be produced by UCP and Lionsgate Television for Starz.

Vida ran on Starz for three seasons.

Guillermo del Toro to Receive ‘Hall of Fame Award’ During Final Draft Awards

Guillermo del Toro has earned a spot in the Final (Draft)…

The 57-year-old Mexican Oscar-winning filmmaker will be among the honorees for screenwriting excellence at the 17th annual Final Draft Awards, which will be presented in a virtual ceremony on March 16.

Guillermo del Torodel Toro will be honored alongside Jane CampionNicole HolofcenerDanny Strong, Jeymes Samuel, and Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson.

del Toro, whose current film is Nightmare Alley, will be presented with the Hall of Fame Award, honoring a writer whose body of work has had a profound influence on the industry.

The inaugural Trailblazer Award will go to Oscar-winning filmmaker Campion who is currently winning much acclaim for her latest film The Power of the Dog; the honor recognizes a writer whose career exudes excellence and who consistently tells compelling and bold stories.

Two Storyteller Awards will be presented recognizing writers who consistently maintain a level of excellence and surpass expectations. Academy Award nominee Holofcener will receive the Storyteller Award (Film) for The Last Duelon which she collaborated with stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Two-time Emmy winner Strong will receive the Storyteller Award (TV) for the limited series Dopesick, currently streaming on Hulu. Additionally, Final Draft will present two New Voice Awards recognizing rising and vital talents in the industry: The New Voice Award (TV) to Lyle and Nickerson, the husband-and-wife writer-producer team behind Showtime’s Yellowjacketsand The New Voice Award (Film) to Samuel whose feature debut The Harder They Fall is currently streaming on Netflix.

“Storytellers have been revered throughout history for their ability to connect us,” Final Draft president Shelly Mellott said Wednesday. “This year’s honorees are using their considerable talents to tell brave, audacious stories in imaginative ways that entertain, provoke and enlighten audiences. We could not be more proud to honor them and their outstanding work and the impact their stories have on our culture.”

Final Draft, the screenwriting software company, has previously honored the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Nancy Meyers, Aaron Sorkin, Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Schrader, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Callie Khouri, Steven Zaillian, Robert Towne, Oliver Stone and Sydney Pollack, among others.

The Storyteller Award was introduced in 2021 and was presented to Steve McQueen and Sofia Coppola. The New Voice Award was introduced in 2017 with recipients including Ramy Yousef, Steven Canals, Lulu Wang, Liz Hannah, Issa Rae, Boots Riley, Radha Blank and Tanya Saracho.

Tanya Saracho Teams Up with America Ferrera & Gloria Calderón Kellett to Launch DEAR Hollywood to Bring Greater Representation of Latinx Voices

There’s a new project near and DEAR to Tanya Saracho’s heart…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge and screenwriter has teamed up with America Ferrera and Gloria Calderón Kellett joined the Untitled Latinx Project and HARNESS that they respectively co-founded to create DEAR Hollywood.

Tanya Saracho

Saracho, Ferrera and Calderon Kellet, three of the most dynamic creators in Hollywood, brought together two of the most preeminent advocacy organizations to further advance Latinx representation and equity in the industry.

With the acronym standing for Demanding Equal Access and Representation, DEAR Hollywood aims to bring greater representation of Latinx voices, stories, talent and creativity on both sides of the camera and on set and in the corner offices in the film and TV industry.

Planting the flags of equity and education, and set for a soft launch this month, the newly minted organization today unveiled its self-declared, and what should be self-evident, “five pillars”:

  1. No stories about us without us
    2.Greenlight our projects
    3. Represent all aspects of our lives and culture
    4. Put a limit on repeating levels
    5. Hire us for non-Latinx projects

To reach those more than reasonable goals, the plan is that over the next year, DEAR Hollywood will liaison with at least five studios and networks, which means streamers too, to secure a commitment to the pillars above as a pathway to systemic and evolutionary shift in the way the industry sees, treats and works with the Latinx community. A varied community, who, it might be noted, make up a not insignificant portion of the U.S. population, and hence significant consumers of the media industry.

“The entertainment industry has admired the problem of Latinx exclusion for long enough,” Ferrera told Deadline of the impetus behind DEAR Hollywood with the Vida and One Day At a Time EPs. “It is time for all of us to turn our good intentions into real action and build true solutions that empower and resource Latinx storytellers,” the Superstore star added on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

A long-time activist, Ferrera co-founded HARNESS in 2016 with Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams with the goal of using the power and platform of the big and small screen to foster a more just world.

“The rich talent and multi-dimensional experiences within our community are more than worthy of being reflected in their authenticity and full humanity,” Ferrera noted of the goals of the new group. “There is great opportunity for our entire industry in the genuine empowerment of Latinx creators. I am thrilled and honored that Harness is partnering with Untitled Latinx Project to incubate and launch this incredible creator-led initiative to uplift Latinx communities in the stories we see on screen and hire more Latinx talent throughout the entire film and TV industry.”

“It has been one year since we wrote the letter to Hollywood to kick off this initiative and frankly, we haven’t seen the type of response we had hoped for,” exclaimed ULP leaders Saracho and Calderón Kellett bluntly Friday.

“While announcements of diversity, inclusion and equity programs abound, without intentionality and clearly defined action steps, they have little value,” the showrunning duo added. “We are thrilled to work with Harness and eager to collaborate with industry leaders and partners, so we can all move the needle towards Latine inclusion and representation together.”

As well as Saracho and Calderón Kellett, the 2019 formed ULP’s high profile membership includes Leah Benavides-Rodriguez, Tawnya Benavides-Bhattacharya, Linda Yvette Chávez, Valentina Garza, Jenniffer Gómez, Julia Ahumada Grob, Silvia Olivas, Evangeline Ordaz, Sierra Teller Ornelas, Carolina Paiz, Ilana Peña, Dailyn Rodriguez, Gladys Rodriguez, Lindsey Villarreal, Debby Wolfe and Michal Zebede.

Michael Cimino Wins First-Ever Imagen Awards Prize for “Love, Victor”

Michael Cimino is celebrating a special first…

The 2021 Imagen Awards have been announced, with the 21-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor earning the first of his career.

Michael Cimino

The Imagen Awards recognize Latinas and Latinos in the entertainment industry who work both in front of and behind the camera.

Cimino was named Best Actor – Television (Comedy) for his performance on Hulu’s Love, Victor, which was named Best Primetime Program – Comedy.

Mj Rodriguez took home the Best Actress – Television (Drama) award.

The 30-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer won for her performance on FX’s Pose, which was named Best Primetime Program – Drama.

The Best Young Actor – Television award went to Madison Reyes for her work on Netflix’s Julie and the Phantoms, which was named Best Young Adult Programming.

Justina Machado was named Best Voice-Over Actor – Television for PopTV’s One Day at a Time – Animated Special, which was named Best Primetime Program – Special or Movie.

Tanya Saracho took home the Best Director – Television prize for her work on Vida; she also was presented with the The Norman Lear Writer’s Award.

Other winners in the television categories include JD Pardo (Best Actor – Television (Drama)) for his work on Mayans M.C.; Barbie Ferreira (Best Actress – Television (Comedy) for her work on Unpregnant; Colman Domingo (Best Supporting Actor – Television (Drama)) for his work on Euphoria Special: Part 1 Rue; Morena Baccarin (Best Supporting Actress – Television (Drama)) for her work on The Twilight Zone; Harvey Guillén (Best Supporting Actor – Television (Comedy)) for his work on What We Do In The Shadows; and Diana Maria Riva Best Supporting Actress – Television (Comedy)) for her performance on Dead to Me.

Netflix’s Ya No Estoy Aquí was named Best Feature Film, with the film’s helmer Fernando Frías De La Parra taking home the Best Director – Feature Film prize.

Hosted by Aida Rodriguez, Chuey Martinez, Isabella Gomez and Karrie Martin Lachney, the Imagen Awards were announced last night during a live-streamed ceremony.

The 36th annual awards winners were determined by an independent panel of entertainment industry executives and Latina and Latino community leaders.

The theme of this year’s Imagen Awards was “A Celebration of Our Community: Diverse, Talented, and United.” Each year the Awards recognize an array of Latino talent by honoring and celebrating ground-breaking performances, storytelling, and powerful diverse programs.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

FEATURE FILM

Best Feature Film: Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Director – Feature Film: Fernando Frías De La Parra, Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Actor – Feature Film: Demián Bichir, Land (Focus Features / a Big Beach Production / Flashlight Films)

Best Actress – Feature Film: Aubrey Plaza, Black Bear (Momentum Pictures, an Entertainment One Company; Tandem Pictures, Oakhurst Entertainment & Blue Creek Pictures, in association with Productivity Media and Radiant Films International)

TELEVISION

Best Primetime Program – Drama: Pose (FX; 20th Television)

Best Primetime Program – Comedy: Love, Victor (Hulu; Hulu, 20th Television, Temple Hill)

Best Primetime Program – Special or Movie: One Day at a Time – Animated Special (PopTV; Sony Pictures Television, Act III, Snowpants Productions, GloNation)

Best Director – Television: Tanya Saracho, Vida (STARZ; Big Beach and Chingona Productions in association with Starz Originals)

Best Actor – Television (Drama): JD Pardo, Mayans M.C. (FX Networks; 20th Television and FX Productions)

Best Actress – Television (Drama): Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX; 20th Television)

Best Actor – Television (Comedy): Michael Cimino, Love, Victor (Hulu; Hulu, 20th Television, Temple Hill)

Best Actress – Television (Comedy): Barbie Ferreira, Unpregnant (HBO Max; HBO Max presents a WarnerMax / PictureStart / Berlanti / Schechter Films production)

Best Supporting Actor – Television (Drama): Colman Domingo, Euphoria Special: Part 1 Rue: “Trouble Don’t Last Always” (HBO; HBO in association with Reasonable Bunch, A24, Little Lamb, Dreamcrew, ADD Content Agency | HOT | Tedy Productions)

Best Supporting Actress – Television (Drama): Morena Baccarin, The Twilight Zone (Paramount+; CBS Studios in association with Monkeypaw Productions and Genre Films)

Best Supporting Actor – Television (Comedy): Harvey Guillén, What We Do In The Shadows (FX; FX Productions)

Best Supporting Actress – Television (Comedy): Diana Maria Riva, Dead to Me (Netflix; CBS Television Studios for Netflix)

Best Young Actor – Television: Madison Reyes, Julie and the Phantoms (Netflix)

Best Voice-Over Actor – Television: Justina Machado, One Day at a Time – Animated Special (PopTV; Sony Pictures Television, Act III, Snowpants Productions, GloNation)

Best Variety or Reality Show: TIE

A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt at The Soraya (PBS; KCET and The Soraya)

Shine True (Fuse; Vice Studios, OUTtv Canada, Fuse Media)

Best Young Adult Programming: Julie and the Phantoms (Netflix)

Best Youth Programming: The Casagrandes (Nickelodeon)

Best Music Composition for Film or Television: Cristobal Tapia de Veer, The Third Day (HBO; HBO in association with Sky Studios, Plan B, and Punchdrunk)

Best Music Supervision for Film or Television: Joe Rodríguez & Javier Nuño, Ya No Estoy Aquí / I’m No Longer Here (Netflix; Panorama Global for Netflix)

Best Documentary: TIE

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (Netflix; A Netflix Original Documentary / A Muck Media Production in Association with Key Rat, Inc. & Topic Studios)

POV: The Infiltrators (PBS; American Documentary | POV, Pueblo Sight & Sound, Chicago Media Project, Naked Edge Film, 3DMC, Baked Studios, The National Day Laborer Organizing Network)

Best Informational Program: Street Food: Latin America (Netflix; Boardwalk Pictures for Netflix)

Best Short Film: UNLADYLIKE2020: Jovita Idar (PBS American Masters; Unladylike Productions LLC in association with The WNET Group’s American Masters.)

Best Commercial Advertisement or Social Awareness Campaign: Latinos Are Essential (Latino Public Broadcasting; PBS)

The Norman Lear Writer’s Award was presented to playwright and television writer Tanya Saracho. Saracho is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed series on Starz, Vida.

Tanya Saracho to Make Film Directorial Debut with Adaptation of Her Off Broadway Play “Mala Hierba”

Tanya Saracho is in the (bad) weeds…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter and Vida creator is bringing her 2014 Off Broadway play Mala Hierba to the big screen, and she’ll be directing the film adaptation of her acclaimed project.

Tanya Saracho

In her film directorial debut, Saracho has teamed up with Anonymous Content to adapt the Texas border town set drama.

The film version of Mala Hierba  will be produced by AC Studios, with Dawn Olmstead, David Levine, and Whitney Dibo overseeing the project for outfit.

Former Vida EP Stephanie Langhoff, and Christine Davila, head of development and production at Saracho’s Ojala Productions, will serve as producers on Mala Hierba.

Originally opening at Second Stage Uptown nearly six years ago, the play unravels the coiffured life of a Lone Star State trophy wife who begins to see the cracks in her life of wealth and privilege as her first and perhaps true love reappears. The possibility of a renewed life together for the two women forces the Liliana character to make a searing decision about what she wants and who she is.

The stage production of Mala Hierba was directed by Jerry Ruiz and starred Marta Milans, Sandra Marquez, and Ana Nogueira in the primary roles.

The union with Anonymous comes just over a couple of weeks after the active Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab in conjunction with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Part of the acclaimed playwright and filmmaker’s 2020 inked development deal with the studio, the incubator program for Latinx voices will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and EPs, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.

Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, finished its three-season stint on Starz in May 2020, Saracho stayed in Britain during the pandemic to work with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project.

Tanya Saracho Teams Up with UCP to Launch Writers Incubator Program ‘Ojalá Ignition Lab’

Tanya Saracho is turning the ignition on Latinx representation…

Nearly a year after signing a development deal with UCP, the Mexican American screenwriter and television creator and the studio have launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab.

Tanya Saracho

Under the umbrella of Saracho’s deal, the 26-week long incubator program will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and executive producers, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.

The aim of the fully funded program is to foster a pilot script to completion with a commission by UCP at the end.

Applications for the program can be submitted until July 19. Those interested should submit a one-page television pilot proposal, as well as an existing example of their writing. Find more information here.

“You know, I keep starting things because there’s a need,” Saracho told Deadline of the lab, as well as the Writers’ Access Support Staff Training Program she helped kick off in March with former One Day at a Time EP Mike Royce and Day of the Deads Liz Hsiao Lan Alper, along with the WGA. “This is a legit writing lab and I’m so thrilled. I don’t know if there’s something like this out there — it’s a nurturing writers’ group.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Tanya on her Ojalá Ignition Lab. She has always told diverse and inclusive stories, and this is a continuation of her inspiring work,” UCP president Beatrice Springborn said. “UCP is thrilled and honored to collaborate with these five fellows on their projects.”

“During Vida, those three seasons, having and all-Latin writers room, I realized that from the conversations in there that they had never been in a situation like that where they didn’t have to be an ambassador or had to defend their culture, their ethnicity, their race,” Saracho said of the origin of the Ojalá Ignition Lab. “In other writers’ rooms they might have had to do that, and there was something so beautiful about that because we could just create the story. We didn’t have to also wear the shield of our culture and have to figure out how to navigate that in maybe a writers room that’s more dominant culture.”

“So, that gave me the idea for this, to be a writers’ group that where there’s that cultural safety, cultural shorthand, and I don’t just mean Spanish because not every Latine speaks Spanish,” the EP added. “It’s like when you see yourself represented after not being, you know, after never seeing yourself represented. It’s just an alchemy like of safety that you can build and we haven’t historically as Latines been building that way because we’re not enough of us in this industry to be surrounded by the same.”

Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, ended its run on Starz in May 2020, Saracho spent time in the UK during the pandemic collaborating with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project, among other work.

But as she made clear Monday, Ojalá Ignition Lab has long been a top parallel priority for the macro mode of her career.

“A lot of these fellowships are just listings on name,” she said. “You’re listed on a list, and it’s amplified, or there’s an honorarium. This is the thing that’s so exciting about this project; this is legitimate development commission, like a very well-funded development commission, and we are working through the WGA to do all that that entails.”

“And so, it’s really exciting because that means we are valued and this is literal value because this is an actual commission,” Saracho said. “So, I’m excited for these five fellows to feel seen and value-supported and with money.”

Melissa Barrera to Star in the Netflix Survival Drama Series “Breathe”

Will Melissa Barrera make it through the wilderness?

The 30-year-old Mexican actress and singer has been cast as the lead in BreatheNetflix’s one-hour drama series from Blindspot creator Martin Gero and writer-executive producer Brendan Gall, and Warner Bros. Television.

Melissa Barrera

Barrera, who rose to acclaim in Starz’s Latinx series Vida, will portray a lone woman who must battle the elements and odds to survive after her plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.

Barrera’s Eve is a razor-sharp Manhattan attorney who finds herself profoundly out of her comfort zone when her plane crashes and she must battle for survival.

Gero executive produces via his Quinn’s House production company, along with Gall. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Barrera most recently starred as co-lead Lyn in Tanya Saracho’s Vida, which aired for three seasons on Starz.

She next stars in In the Heights, the feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical, and also will be seen in a key role in the upcoming Scream 5.

She recently wrapped Sony Pictures Classics’ Carmen, the modern-day reimagining of the classic opera.

Tanya Saracho Launches Her Own Production Company, Ojalá Productions

Tanya Saracho is launching her own production company…

The Mexican actress, playwright and screenwriter, the mastermind behind Starz’s acclaimed series Vida, has launched Ojalá Productions, her newly created production company.

Tanya Saracho

Sarachohas hired a former executive from Warner Bros.’ content studio Stage 13, Christine Dávila, to help her run it.

Dávila has been hired as Head of Development and Production.

The hire comes a little more than three months after Saracho inked a wide-ranging development deal with UCP that also includes the creation of a lab and incubator program for Latinx voices by the activist former playwright and showrunner.

“It is a dream come true to be able to bring such a talented, energetic and accomplished Latina to help me kick off Ojalá,” Saracho told Deadline from the UK. “With Christine’s impeccable taste, undeniable intellect and boundless spirit, the possibilities are endless for us.”

“I’m grateful and truly invigorated to work with such an undeniable voice as Tanya’s,” Dávila said of the producer-writer. ‘Vidawas a game changer and there is a lot more where that came from. She is intentional and unapologetic, and committed to supporting Latinx talent in all aspects of the industry and in the most inclusive way.”

Besides the work the new company will do and Saracho’s participation in the recently launched Untitled Latinx Project group, Ojalá is a supportive amplifier all its own. Roughly translating to “God willing” and brought to Spain by the Moors, Ojalá is one of former playwright Saracho’s favorite words – which makes perfect sense for a new shingle.

It also dives into Dávila’s strengths not only as a creative executive at Stage 13 most recently, but also in her previous involvement as a member of the programming teams at the Sundance Film Festival, the LA Film Festival and the Morelia International Film Festival.

Directly prior to joining the WB pod and overseeing the likes of the Emmy-wining It’s Bruno!, Dávila laid the foundation for the stateside division of the moveable feast that is Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal’s Ambulante documentary festival.

Since the acclaimed Vidaended its three-season run on Starz this spring, Saracho put on a mask and gloves for protection against COVID-19 and leapt over the Atlantic for a professional sojourn. She’s presently in locked-down London working with musician and Stardust star Johnny Flynn on the Love Story pilot for UCP.

The concept is that the UCP show would focus on a single potentially heartbreaking tale a season, with the first installment centering on longtime Latinx friends who become entangled with the same musician.

Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Tanya Saracho Signs Development Deal with UCP

Things are developing nicely for Tanya Saracho

The Mexican screenwriterand Vida creator has signed a development deal with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Tanya Saracho

As part of the deal, Saracho will develop and create original content for television, as well as podcasts via the studio’s UCP Audio extension. She’ll also establish a lab and incubator program for Latinx voices.

“To say that I’m immensely enthusiastic about this union is not enough. This partnership with UCP is a vital opportunity to keep amplifying the voices and stories that matter to me – those brown, queer narratives which have been missing from the landscape, and which are so important to tell,” said Saracho.

 “I’m also elated and looking forward to establishing a lab and incubator program aimed to nurture, amplify and empower intersectional Latinx voices,” Saracho added. “And on a personal level, it is greatly gratifying to find a home where I already feel so seen and supported.”

Saracho most recently served as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of Starz’s critically-acclaimed Vida, which aired its third and final season this spring. The series featured all Latinx directors in season one, and all Latina directors in seasons two and three, including Saracho, who made her television directorial debut last year. The series had an all-Latinx writers room for seasons one and two, and in season three, the room was composed of all Latina writers.

Vida won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and was also honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition with the 2019 Impact Award. The series won the Audience Award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and made its season two premiere as an Official Selection of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.

“Tanya came on the scene like a comet with such a strong point of view and a drive to tell culturally diverse stories that push boundaries and open our imaginations. Oh, the places we will go with Tanya’s deep curiosity, experience, commitment, enthusiasm, joy and fervor to tell the diverse stories we haven’t explored on television yet. We are such fans of her work on Vida and are thrilled to partner with her,” said Dawn Olmstead, president, UCP.

“One of our goals at Universal Studio Group is to provide access through on the job training and opportunities to empower the next generation of culturally diverse storytellers. Tanya’s program fully embodies that intention and we look forward to supporting her as she mentors aspiring Latinx writers,” said Bonnie Hammer, chairman, Universal Studio Group. “This is the first of many programs we will be backing across our three studios.”

Saracho was recently honored by the LGBTQ California Legislative Caucus as their 2020 Pride Month Honoree. She received the Rising Star Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards, and was awarded the New Voice Award by Final Draft.

She’s the founder of Teatro Luna, the first all-Latina theatre company in the country, as well as the founder of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists).

Saracho’s other television writing/producing credits include Devious Maids, Looking and How to Get Away with Murder.