The Latinx House Took Over Sundance to Change the Rules of the Game

The Latinx House Sundance BELatina
Photo Credit IG @americaferrera

The struggle for the fair representation of the Latino community on the small and big screen has conquered new territory, after the Sundance Film Festival of 2020 opened for the first time with a Latinx organization as a partner.

For the first time in history, artists and stories from the Latinx community got their own space through The Latinx House initiative, organized by the activist group Justice for Migrant Women, which held a record number of 20 presentations of stories with Latinx themes in the competition.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Latinx House was present at all screenings and hosted the post-screening party for Siempre, Luis, a documentary about the story of Luis A. Miranda Jr., father of Lin-Manuel Miranda and former head of New York’s Mayor’s Office for Hispanic Affairs.

The event also featured a panel comprised of America Ferrera, the Time’s Up team, and Eva Longoria.

“Led by activist Monica Ramirez, producer Olga Segura, and writer Alex Martinez Kondracke, The Latinx House aims to create community and opportunities for voices in and outside of Hollywood while also educating on political issues and pushing to get out the vote in November,” said the magazine. “The trio later plans to hit SXSW and both political conventions.”

The initiative was announced last October as “a gathering place for people who appreciate and support the Latinx community and who celebrate Latinx excellence in film and entertainment,” its founders told the media.

“The Latinx House is going to be set up in places of consequence, so we’ll have dedicated space there where we’ll be doing programming for and by the Latinx community, and it will range between panel discussions, some educational skill-building sessions, gathering and networking opportunities; we also want to build bridges and help educate our allies about who we are and what our priorities are,” Ramirez, the founder of Justice for Migrant Women, told The Hollywood Reporter at The Latinx House’s private first event at the time. “We want to ensure that wherever it appears as though there are power plays being made decisions being made that are going to impact our community, we have an opportunity to set the House up there.” 

And that’s exactly what they did.

After years without a chair at the table, the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 featured documentaries that brought to light fundamental characters for Latinx audiences, such as Walter Mercado, as well as productions that speak of the real Latino experience in the United States, such as Blast Beat by Esteban Arango and Zola by Janicza Bravo.

Among the selection of international works were also Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, Blanco de Verano by Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, and Once Upon A Time in Venezuela by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos.

According to E! Online, the event also featured the launch of Con Todo, a new community on Netflix for “Latinx by Latinos. A home for all of us, with all the colores and sabores we bring to the table.”