Tanya Saracho, the creator and executive producer of Vida, will be honored with a Legacy Award at this month’s Outfest for the incredible work she’s done to raise the visibility and influence of the LGBTQ community through her hit TV series.
Damien S. Navarro, who stepped into Outfest over the summer as its new executive director of Outfest, told the Hollywood Reporter that the Legacy Award recognizes how its honorees are champions of empathy and acceptance. “Our honorees for this year’s Outfest Legacy Awards Gala have built such remarkable careers on the premise that authentic and multidimensional queer characters and storylines allow audiences to find pathways of connection via their own humanity and shared experiences,” said Navarro. The producers of Queer Eye will also be receiving a Legacy Award at the gala.
Saracho’s success through Vida is a reflection of her vision as showrunner and an expression of her own queer identity. Her award-winning show is a tapestry of both straight and LGBTQ storylines where no one is tokenized for their sexuality. Speaking about Vida shortly before the premiere of its second season, Saracho explained to the New York Times, “I wanted it to feel [insidery]. A lot of times when we watch our communities represented on the screen, it feels like a museum piece. Like we’re coming to watch a safari. But that’s an outsider’s point of view.”
Vida feels real not just because of her inclusive cast and team of writers, but because of who Saracho has on her crew. She’s been dedicated to stacking her crew with Latinx and LGBTQ talent, taking chances on young directors that might get overlooked by other producers. “Tanya’s in a position of power, and she’s empowering other people that are like her. That is easier said than done in many ways,” Catalina Aguilar Mastretta told Vulture earlier this year; Mastretta was one of the directors Saracho enlisted to direct episodes of Vida. “It’s not easy to say, ‘I need a person of color for this,’ because you have deadlines to meet, and you have a lot of concerns about the experience, and executives to appease, and a lot of things to consider. It’s easy to go back to what feels familiar to other people.” Mastretta concluded, though, that shows succeed when they ring true to their audience.
Mastretta herself is on a hot streak, bound to become a household name in the next couple of years. Just this month, she was named the director of the bilingual comedy film Este Día which will begin filming in New York City in the spring; the film sounds sort of like a 24-hour, urban take on Love Actually, emphasizing all of the connections we have with one another. And last year, Amazon picked up a pilot for a series that Mastretta wrote, directed, and produced, another bilingual project of hers.
The 2019 Legacy Awards Gala takes place on Sunday, October 27th in Los Angeles.