New Documentary Shows the Real Challenge of Mobilizing the Latino Vote

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Few of us know the scope of the work of thousands of activists and political agents who have dedicated the last few years to awakening the vote and political participation of Latino voters, also called the “sleeping giant.”

Now, the new Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) special puts us in the front row to see how, for the first time in history, grassroots political activists and politicians decided to break with the myth of the monolith and really reach out to this great community.

Directed by Bernardo Ruiz (Harvest Season, Reporter) and produced by Andrea Cordoba, “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground” is an updated look at the intricate 2020 elections through the eyes of Latino voters, the producer explained in a press release.

Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections, where Latino voters went to the polls at an unprecedented pace, candidates and activists recognized the real impact of what will soon be the largest racial or ethnic group eligible to vote.

With a narrative that departs from a series of immersive dispatches from the battleground states of Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania, “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground” follows progressive groups, grassroots organizers, community leaders, and political actors on both sides of the spectrum from Bernie Sanders supporters to President Donald Trump’s fanatical Latino evangelicals.

The film begins in Las Vegas, before the February caucuses, and then moves on to Super Tuesday, March 3, when the last Democratic candidates gave way to the nomination of Joe Biden.

Similarly, the film documents the pandemic ravages in rural and urban communities, where Latinos are the most affected, and the social movement triggered by the death of George Floyd on May 25.

“‘Latino Vote’ is a fascinating chronicle of this year’s highly charged political climate,” says Sandie Viquez Pedlow, executive director of Latino Public Broadcasting and executive producer of VOCES. “With Latino voters poised to be a powerful non-white bloc this November, this film introduces us to those on the ground, working to realize this promise.”

Says director/producer Ruiz, “I was eager to bring journalism to the screen that doesn’t rely on correspondents or pundits, but instead focuses directly on the Latinx organizers and voters who may very well determine the nation’s political future.” 

“As one of the nation’s most trusted sources for news and public affairs programming, PBS is pleased to air ‘Latino Vote’ and shine a light on the important role this community will play in our upcoming democratic process,” said Perry Simon, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming.