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New database bridges crucial gap between Hollywood and Latinx talent

Latinx director Aurora Guerrero, left, instructs actress Dawn-Lyen Gardner in an episode of "Queen Sugar."
(Alfonso Bresciani / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Latinos make up 49% of Los Angeles, 18% of the U.S. population — and 4% of film directors in Hollywood. The new Latinx Directors database wants to change that.

Created by Latinx directors Alberto Belli (“The House of Flowers”), Aurora Guerrero (“13 Reasons Why”), Joel Novoa (“Arrow”) and Diego Velasco (“Orange Is the New Black”), the database currently features 80 Latinx directors sortable by genre, experience, location and more.

“For years, the conversation repeats itself: Latinos and Latinas are one of the most underrepresented ethnicity in front and behind the camera,” reads the website. “The statistics show it, and it is irrefutable. Hollywood’s response continues to be, ‘But there’s a lack of Latinx talent.’”

In response, the directory aims to connect studios and agencies with Latinx directors across all disciplines: film, TV, and commercial filmmakers. It also provides a resource for Latinx creatives to meet one another.

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“We want to create a community where members help each other,” Novoa told Deadline on Wednesday. “This database is just the start to that journey. This is a place where we can elevate each other while bringing more inclusivity to our industry during these unprecedented times. Diverse directors are generating great content every day, and it is sad for us to see our industry missing so much of that talent.”

The searchable website includes creatives’ reels, as well as allowing them to self-identify by cultural identity/heritage and gender and sexual identities.

“I’m also committed to making sure our database reflects the diversity within our community of directors,” Guerrero told Deadline. “We are of African and Indigenous descent. We are women, queer, transgender and or U.S.-born and raised. The Latinx community is far from monolithic. This is what I want the industry to feel when they visit our database.”

A post on Facebook looking for recommendations for Black film editors was met with protests by some white film editors claiming discrimination.

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The database, which is the first of its kind, comes on the heels of increased efforts to represent people of color behind the camera, even as those measures sometimes face backlash. On one hand, the inaugural Latinx TV List, which supports television pilots created by Latinx writers, was unveiled at the end of June.

On the other, when film editor Ri-Karlo Handy reached out on Facebook looking for Black film editors, some white editors responded with claims of “anti-white racism” and “reverse discrimination.” Yet Black and Latinx screenwriters continue to push for change — and better representation — in Hollywood.


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