The best Latinx narratives of the year, written by some of the world’s most talented Latinx screenwriters, have made history this month, earning their places on the first ever Latinx List to be released in Hollywood. The Latinx List is a selection ten screenplays that are not yet produced but most well liked by a panel of industry insiders and Latinx leaders who see potential in the screenplay; the resulting list provides producers with what is essentially a cheat sheet to stellar films. The Latinx List was announced last week at the 20th anniversary of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers in Los Angeles (NALIP).
In order to have been considered for The Latinx List, the screenplay must credit at least one Latinx writer and also feature a Latinx character as one of the leads or prominent supporting actors. Otherwise, the Latinx List is modeled after (and also affiliated with) Franklin Leonard’s The Black List. In case you’re not familiar with showbiz, The Black List is one of the hottest resources for producers in Hollywood who are looking to bring the next big hit to the big screen. Some of the films on The Latinx List were pulled from this year’s Black List itself, while others made their way to the film through nominations from participating organizations like Mijente, UnidosUS, The Latin Tracking Board, NALIP, Remezcla, and The Nathan Cummings Foundation.
Marisa Franco, a co-founder of Mijente and long-time grassroots organizer, told IndieWire that collaborating one The Latinx List is one way that her organization has been pushing for representation. “As Latinx people, we know there are many ways where some of us and parts of all of us are overlooked, excluded and pushed out of our country’s historical, cultural, and artistic narratives,” said Franco. By throwing their weight behind Latinx narratives for The Latinx List, they hope to bring the compelling narratives of these communities to the desks of top producers. Vanessa Erazo of Remezcla pointed out that, at this time, only about 5 percent of film roles are portrayed by Latinx actors.
Leonard himself chimed in, explaining in a statement that The Latinx List was compiled with the current state of the movie industry in mind. “The last two years have cast many of the consequences of a movie industry that doesn’t look like the country or the world into sharp relief. The scripts on the Latinx List are remarkable opportunities to tell great stories and do good business in the process.” Earlier this year, Leonard partnered up with GLAAD to create The GLAAD List, a list of LGBTQ-inclusive narratives seeking production.
This year’s Latinx List includes films like Bolichicos, with a story set in Chávez-era Venezuela; Luna Likes, whose protagonist aspires to be the next big food and travel personality a la Anthony Bourdain—except she is an undocumented immigrant; and Headbangers, the story of Colombian brothers who are adjusting to their lives as immigrants living in the suburbs of the United States.