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US lawmakers offer 25 films to Latinos on the film register

The Spanish party in Congress continues the work it began in January, when it nominated the film “Selena” for the National Film Register, with a list of 25 other films it would like to add to the register.

The films nominated by the group last week are from 1982 and also include films such as “Spy Children” (2001), a comedy starring a Latin family and “Frida” (2002), an Oscar-winning film for artist Frida Kahlo. The registry usually adds new movies in December.

“It’s critical that the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry reflect the true diversity of American culture,”

; said Raul Ruiz, a Democrat from California. “Including more Latin American films in the National Film Register will help elevate Latin American stories, promote an inclusive media landscape, and enable Latin American directors and storytellers.”

Created by Congress in 1988, the register stores films it deems “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” Each year, a committee selects 25 films to add.

“The Library of Congress is grateful for the nominations from the Congressional Latin American Forum and their interest in the National Film Registry,” said Brett Tsongker, a spokeswoman for the Library of Congress, adding: “The registry seeks to preserve films that show the scope and diversity ”of American film heritage.

Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the United States, with 18.5 percent of the population. But they continue to be underrepresented in movies and on television. A 2019 study by the School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California found that only 4.5% of all speaking characters in the 1,200 most profitable films from 2007 to 2018 were Hispanic.

Of the nearly 800 films on the register, at least 17 are examples of Latin stories. The number of Latin American directors on the register is small: there are 11. Of these, nine are men and two are women.

Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas, is leading the nomination process. Latin American creators and their stories are often repelled by the gatekeepers of American culture, such as Hollywood and the National Register, Castro said. He added that Latin Americans often present themselves negatively in all media – as gang members, drug dealers or hypersexual women.

In a letter to Congressional Librarian, Castro and Ruiz wrote that such misconceptions and stereotypes in the media were important factors “motivating the continuing anti-Latin sentiment in American society,” affecting areas “from immigration law to education to the current public health crisis. “

The list of clubs was developed through voter feedback, and the films were identified by, among others, the National Association of Latin American Arts and Cultures, the National Spanish Arts Foundation, the National Spanish Media Coalition, and the House of Latinx (which uses a gender-neutral term). for Latin Americans).

“Our stories are often missing in American film and are even less often recognized as important cultural works in American history,” Castro said in a telephone interview. “It’s an attempt to change that.”

The 25 films selected by the group feature stories from a variety of nationalities, including Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Colombian, Argentine, El Salvador and Nicaraguan.

The list covers many parts of the Latin American experience, including people who are natives of the United States and its territories and those who have migrated to the country because of its policies and interventions in Latin America, Teresa Delgadillo, professor of chicana and Latin American studies. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an interview.

“This is an important way to influence diversity efforts in an industry,” Delgadillo said of the cacus effort.

She and other professors, though thrilled by the effort, were also critical of the list because, they say, there were few stories about Latinos and LGBTQ people.

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