Latinos have long struggled with representation in the media. Although Latinos are the fastest-growing demographic in the United States, they are severely underrepresented in movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. To bridge the gap, Latinos must unite and create a strong foundation supporting their stories, experiences, and cultures.
As McDonald’s Spotlight Dorado wraps up, we spoke with one of the program’s mentors, Danay Garcia, a prominent Latina actress who understands the importance of Latino representation in entertainment. In an interview with “BELatina News,” she shared her thoughts on how to bridge the gap, why representation is so important, and how to succeed as a filmmaker in today’s industry.
Trust in our community
Garcia believes that the best way to bridge the gap is by trusting the community. By creating a strong foundation within the community, we can come together, share our experiences, and form a support system that is so strong that anywhere we go, we are solid. There are different ways we can build our community. Spotlight Dorado, a project that brings together Latino storytellers to share their experiences and create stories together, is one way to achieve this goal.
“Learning from each other’s experience out there gives us a better idea of how to be effective as Latinos,” Garcia added.
Education is key
For filmmakers who want to pitch their projects, Garcia’s advice is to educate themselves. By understanding what’s out there and how they can be effective with their stories, filmmakers can be authentic and realistic in their approach. They need to ask themselves what they’re trying to say that hasn’t been told before and how they can make their story different from others that have been told before.
“Understand your story so well that when people question you, you can move forward knowing that it’s something strong you have here and you’re making a contribution.”
The power of representation
Latino representation in entertainment is important because we are here, and we aren’t going anywhere. Our experiences, cultures, and stories are valuable and deserve to be told. Learning from each other’s experiences can help us grow and sustain society in a healthy and inclusive way. The more representation there is, the more people can learn about different cultures and perspectives.
“We are so mixed with so many cultures, so not being able to tell our stories is just a crime.”
Changes in the industry
Over the years, the conversation around Latino representation has changed. Garcia has noticed that Latinos are now talking about representation and celebration in a way that they weren’t before. This openness and pride in one’s culture is a beautiful thing, and Garcia is grateful to be part of the movement. The Latina filmmaker sees a lot of orgullo going around in our community. She has also noticed that there are more shows with Latino representation and that the industry is slowly changing.
“The shows we have right now are special. We have more representation as Latinos. We have the beautiful mind of Gloria Calderón Kellett. There’s a revolution in our community out there, it just hasn’t sunk in. We are working hard to make it happen. Spotlight Dorado is helping encourage that.”
Garcia’s current projects
Garcia recently wrapped up her work on “Fear the Walking Dead” and is now working on her podcast, “Danay Garcia Podcast,” for its second season. Her podcast explores Latino representation on a deeper level through the perspective of different guests. She is excited about the journey of being a host on her own podcast and sharing her experiences with others. The final season for “Fear the Walking Dead” premieres May 14.
Partnering with McDonald’s ‘Spotlight Dorado’
Garcia’s partnership with McDonald’s allows her to be a mentor to young filmmakers who want to explore their stories and put them out in a safe place. As a mentor, Garcia is proud to contribute her experience to the growth of these filmmakers and is excited to be part of their journey.
“I highly recommend this to anyone who has achieved a higher level in their craft and wants to give back.”
Latino representation in entertainment is crucial for society to sustain itself in a healthy and inclusive way. It’s time for the industry to recognize the value of Latino representation and to give Latinos the platform they deserve.
All U.S.-based Latino writers, producers, directors, aspiring filmmakers or creatives with a great story to share are invited to submit their screenplays to the Spotlight Dorado short film contest at www.spotlightdorado.com for the chance to be selected as one of three finalists to be awarded $75,000 to produce their films. Submissions are due on April 21, 2023, and are free of charge regardless of age, experience, or professional background.For Image credit or remove please email for immediate removal - firstname.lastname@example.org