Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Celebrate Hispanic Culture on PBS

PBS offers variety of Latin-themed programs for Hispanic Heritage Month

Alexandria, VA--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--August 18, 2004--In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month — September 15-October 15, 2004 — PBS brings the vibrant talents of Latino actors, actresses and producers into viewers' homes. With broadcast premieres and encore presentations, animation, drama, history, art and music, PBS has something with a little Latin flavor for everyone.

Latino artists across the United States take center stage in a groundbreaking six-part television event VISIONES: LATINO ARTS and CULTURE, premiering Sunday, September 5 and airing Sundays through October 10, 2004, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET. Viewers experience the world of Latino artistic expression as the series journeys throughout the country, capturing rich stories about theater, music, dance, spoken word and the visual arts. From New York City's hip-hop culture to mural painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross-section of Latino artists working today. Through storytelling and vivid imagery, the fast-paced and entertaining series leads the viewer to understand the origins of Latino art and culture, and depicts the struggles and victories of the artists as part of their artistic interpretation. Additionally, the series examines the nation's diverse Latino communities and how they were able to keep their artistic expressions alive while creating new and unique visions that contribute to art in America.

Kids will find a new place to watch and learn weekday afternoons with the new daily animated series MAYA and MIGUEL. Lively and colorful, MAYA and MIGUEL chronicles the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos, and features their family, friends and a richly diverse neighborhood. The programs present culture and language learning as fun, relevant and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. This never-a-dull-moment situation comedy revolves around Maya's well-intended meddling in her family's and friends' lives, ultimately creating new quandaries to fix. Sprinkled throughout the series are values of friendship and family and a positive, culturally rich portrayal of Latino family, language and cultures. The weekday series premieres Monday, October 11, 2004 (check local listings).

Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss stars as a veteran cop working on Manhattan's Upper West Side in this new two-part offering of PBS HOLLYWOOD PRESENTS, "Cop Shop," airing Wednesday, October 6, 2004, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET. Blair Brown ("The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," The Astronaut's Wife), Oscar-winner Rita Moreno (West Side Story, Oz), Rosie Perez (Do the Right Thing, White Men Can't Jump) and Jay Thomas ("The Education of Max Bickford," Mr. Holland's Opus) also star. The first part, "Fear," focuses on the heated exchange between police officers and a gathering of local residents on the verge of panic over a series of rapes in the community. The second part, "Blind Date," provides a glimpse into the lives of working women in a neighborhood brothel when their paths cross with the police.

Sure to keep everyone on their feet is the music and beats from the PUERTO RICO JAZZFEST 2003 (September, 2004, check local listings). This year's festival features performances by Berkley professor William Cepeda, Makoto Ozone, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudia Acuña and Chick Corea.

And rounding out the month is the conclusion of the encore presentation of the the Emmy(R) award-nominated miniseries AMERICAN FAMILY — JOURNEY OF DREAMS. This compelling epic interweaves the Gonzalez family's courageous escape from the Mexican Revolution to seek a better life in America with the sacrifices the family made in the 1990s to send their first-born son to medical school and the consequences of those sacrifices as seen through the war in Iraq. Edward James Olmos, Constance Marie, Yancey Arias, Jesse Borrego, Patricia Velasquez, Kate del Castillo and Raquel Welch star, with special guest stars Esai Morales, Lynn Whitfield and Rachel Ticotin and special appearances by Sonia Braga. AMERICAN FAMILY — JOURNEY OF DREAMS airs Sundays, 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET through October 23, 2004.

Throughout the months of September and October PBS offers a wide variety of encore presentations of award-winning documentaries and acclaimed specials. Please check local listings for airdates and times of the following programs:

In August 1942, the murder of a young Mexican American ignited a firestorm in Los Angeles. The tensions that had been building up for years between Mexican and white Los Angelenos boiled over. The press claimed that Mexican youth — known as "zoot-suiters" for the clothes they wore — were terrorizing the city with a wave of crime. Police fanned out across the city arresting 600 Mexican Americans. Seventeen zoot-suiters headed to a trial in which prosecutors had little evidence to present. Nonetheless, guilty verdicts were handed down to all. The tensions the trial inflamed sparked riots between servicemen and the Mexican American community that led to zoot-suiters being beaten and stripped of their clothes. Despite vigorous denials from city officials, a citizens' committee concluded the riots had been fueled by racial prejudice and encouraged by sensational news reporting and a discriminatory police department.

Over the past decade, thousands of Latinos seeking "la vida buena" (the good life) have migrated to Kentucky, finding low-paying jobs in the tobacco, manufacturing and horseracing industries. As the Latino communities have swelled, so too have xenophobia and discrimination. BEYOND THE BORDER traces the painful transition made by four sons in the Vierya family, who leave their parents and sisters in Mexico and fight cultural, class and language barriers in Kentucky.

Myth, history and heavy metal collide in Jim Mendiola's enticing South Texas tale of dreams, schemes and revenge. The century-old legend of the lost treasure of Tejano folk hero Gregorio Cortez changes the lives of four present-day Texans, each working in a tourist trap restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk. This Tejano film noir explores the class structure of San Antonio's multi-layered Latino community while telling a fascinating story of obsession, betrayal and death.

This one-hour performance program of sizzling group presentations, sultry duos and solo interpretations of the passion of Spanish dance features Maria Benitez, an internationally acclaimed performer, choreographer and director (who has appeared on EVENING AT POPS) who performs "El Amor" with her troupe, Teatro Flamenco.

INDEPENDENT LENS "Foto-Novelas: Junkyard Saints and Broken Sky"
Exploring the Latino experience through the prism of dreams, memories and reality, "Foto-Novelas" consists of two half-hour dramas: "Junkyard Saints," a spiritual thriller set in a South Texas automotive graveyard; and "Broken Sky," a fictionalized account based on the real-life 1948 plane crash that killed 28 Mexicans in Fresno, California.

P.O.V. "90 Miles"
Juan Carlos Zaldavar's "90 Miles" is a personal memoir that offers a rare glimpse into Cuba, a country as mythologized to Americans as the United States is to the rest of the world. The Cuban-born filmmaker recounts the strange fate that brought him as a teenage communist to exile in Miami in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift. Zaldavar uses news clips, family photos and home movies to depict the emotional journey of an immigrant father and son struggling to understand the historical and individual forces shaping their relationships and identities in a new country.

Set against the backdrop of the 38th Cuban National Championship Series, STEALING HOME examines the tension between baseball players who left Cuba in search of freedom and multimillion dollar contracts and the government that invests heavily in their training. This program probes a sociopolitical conflict that is fundamental to any political ideology — the interests of the individual versus those of the greater good. Should baseball players in Cuba be expected to play exclusively in the Cuban National League, forgoing American baseball, in the interests of a society that benefits from the sport both as a national pastime and in less tangible terms as the assertion of a sovereign identity?

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