Hispanicize 2012: Where Worlds Collide — Partnerships are Forged

The Films “The Miracle of Spanish Harlem” and “The History of Spacelight” Win Best of Film Showcase 

By Bel Hernandez

Bloggers, Movie Screenings, Emilio Estefan, CEOs, SEO, Directors, flash mob, innovators, Nely Galan, technology, panel discussions, yacht parties, black carpet, celebrities, The Dog Whisperer and his doggies too!  All at Hispanicize 2012 in Miami, FL.

In its 3rd annual outing Hispanicize, by launching the National Latino Film Showcase this year, has planted the seed for the Latino SXSW.  Co-produced by Latin Heat Media, LLC and Getty Images Hispanic, the Film Showcase counted with the participation of some of Hollywood’s finest.  Gina Rodriguez (Filly Brown), the “It Girl” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, who along with Steven Bauer (Scarface) and Tim McNeal, Vice President, Talent Development &. Diversity, Disney/ABC  shared with the attendees of the Star Making Role panel, an in-depth look into their careers, much like what you might see on Bravo TV’s Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Steven Bauer, LaLista's Jose Marquez, Gina Rodriguez, Bel Hernandez and Tim McNeal at Actor's Panel

The film screenings of the National Latino Film Showcase kicked off with Kiki Melendez’s The Journey of a Female Comic at The Trails Theater on Calle Ocho where the audience was taken for a ride into the life of Melendez’s in this docu-drama of struggling to make it in Hollywood.  After the Q&A with the all female panel of filmmakers it was on to the after party at the Dolores But you Can Call me Lolita restaurant for food and music by Los Primeros.

Screenwriters Ligiah Villalobos (Firelight, premiering April 22nd on ABC; La Misma Luna) and Carlos Bermudez (The Miracle of Spanish Harlem) started off the second day of film panels talking about the inner workings of writing for film and television.  Later that evening after the advance screening of For Greater Glory, Andy Garcia, who stars in the drama based on the true life story of Mexico’s Cristero wars of the 1920’s, made a special appearance for the Q&A.

Thursday was Black Carpet Night with Blackberry sponsoring the night of screenings of both the films in competition as well as the sneak peek of Eva Mendes’ latest film Girl in Progress which also stars Cierra Ramirez and which will be releasing on May 11th.  Also screening that evening was the 2nd episode of Starz Magic City, with stars Yul Vazquez and Dominik Garcia Lorido in attendance.

The Friday panel “Collaborations: The Producer/Director Dynamic” included the creative team of Anu Gunn (producer) and Adam Schlachter (director) of Hollywood Whores (their film in competition at the Film Showcase), and director Jessy Terrero who recently wrapped the film Freelancers starring Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent releasing later this year.  Terrero took the opportunity to announce his new Google Channel 123UnoDosTres which will launched in May.  The head of the channel, Johanna Salazar was on hand as well to announce that they are looking for content and invited producers in attendance to submit!  Unheard of but true.

Friday started off with a tropical storm, but nothing would deter the evening’s program at Vecchia Manson for an exclusive after party sponsored by Bacardi, legendary HATUEY Cuban-Style Ale and Cricket Wireless.  But after the storm came the calm and balmy evening, with a sweet slight breeze kicking off the evening’s festivities as the sun set.   With drink in hand, a beautiful view of the bay with the city lights beyond, the ecclectic group of guests enjoyed the evening and the delicious Cuban food followed by the screening of Scarface.  Mingling with the Scarface cast members — Steven Bauer, who played Manolo; Pepe Serna (Angel) and Angel Salazar who played Chi Chi — were Carlos Gomez, who plays Carlos Sanchez in A&E’s The Glades; director Jessy Terrero (Freelancers); Mauricio Mendoza (Unknowns, Resurrection Blvd.) and Yeniffer Behrens (Unknowns, Decisions) among others.

For the filmmakers of the two winning films Hispanicize 2012 was extra special. Hispanicize 2012 awarded the best feature length film prize of $10,000 to Derek Velez Partridge for The Miracle of Spanish Harlem and the best short film prize of $5,000 to Chris Caraballo for The History of Spaceflight.  In addition to the cash award both films will return to Miami in mid-May for a special awards night red carpet screening at a local movie theater.

(L-R) "The Miracle..." Director Derek Velez-Partridge & writer Carlos Bermudez

The Miracle of Spanish Harlem is an emotional drama about redemption and a man who tries to make his own miracle, only to find a real one.  Directed by Derek Velez-Partridge, the screenplay was written by Carlos Bermudez.  The cast includes Kate De Castillo, Luis Antonio Ramos and Tony Plana, among others.

“In an industry that is constantly categorizing and marginalized U.S. Latinos, Hispanicize is a shinning light from Florida showing how mainstream we are,” said producer/director Velez-Partridge. We feel extremely grateful to Hispanicize for acknowledging us. We’re sending love and a big thank you to the entire Hispanicize team.”

The History of Spaceflight, directed and produced by Chris Caraballo tells the story of several children who are left alone for an afternoon and their scheme to sneak up into the attic to uncover their Christmas presents early.   It’s one small step for them, but one giant leap for children everywhere.  The cast includes Christian Kramme, Cole Jensen, Rachel & Amanda Pace.

Hispanicize is the event where you meet and make new friends, where you expand your knowledge, where partnerships are forged, where technology is on display, and where you were inspired by the words of this year’s Latinovators, Univision’s news anchor Maria Elena Salinas, entrepreneur Nely Galan, music mogul Emilio Estefan and the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan…and where blogger have converged en mass for another successful year.