A LATINA DIRECTOR THAT HAS ACHIEVED SUCCESS IN HOLLYWOOD: PATRICIA RIGGEN TALKS “GIRL IN PROGRESS”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Director Patricia Riggen speaks at Disney ABC Television Group‘s TCA “Winter Press Tour” Panels at The Langham Hotel on January 10, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (January 9, 2011 – Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)

Director Patricia Riggen Talks “Girl In Progress”

Patricia Riggen is a rarity in Hollywood. She is one of the few Latina directors that has achieved success in an  industry dominated by white males. Riggen, who was born and raised in Mexico, on Friday will release her latest  movie “Girl in Progress,” starring Eva Mendes, a movie that she says was  difficult to get off the ground.

Movies with Latina leads are not something that this town is interested in,” Riggen said. “They don’t really make them, they’re hard to make.” “Girl in Progress” highlights a frayed relationship between a single mother  (Eva Mendes) and her teenage daughter (Cierra Ramírez.) “The movie is about her and her struggles as a young mom, as a young woman  herself trying to find her place,” Riggen explained.

Eva Mendes and Cierra Ramirez Talk “Girl In Progress”

In 2007, Riggen’s movie “Under the Same Moon,” starring Kate del Castillo,  was an international success, and she recently directed Disney Channel’s 2011  highly rated original film, “Lemonade Mouth.”

“Being a Mexican woman, it’s really hard because people don’t believe in  you,” Riggen told Fox News Latino. “Then you don’t believe in yourself, it’s a  whole psychological thing that we have but I think it’s changing.”

The director praised Mendes on being a strong Latina actress who fit the role  perfectly. “[She] did an amazing job,” Riggen said. “She had to have very specific  things, she was more like an American.” There was a short list of actresses considered for the lead role, but Mendes  was the ideal candidate, the director said. In this role, we see Mendes portraying a gritty, unpolished character that  Riggen said “is a real, beautiful, flawed human being.”
"Girl In Progress" director Patricia Riggen and Eva Mendes. (Pantelion Films/Bob Akester)

“Girl In Progress” director Patricia Riggen and Eva Mendes. (Pantelion Films/Bob Akester)

“It is a wonderful new side of Eva we haven’t seen,” said Riggen.
The difficulties between mother-daughter relationships are a universal story,  but Riggen hopes that the fact that the characters are Latino won’t dissuade the  general audience from seeing it. “There are two things we have right here,” she said. “It’s female and it’s  Latin, and if we show that we care about these movies they will get made more  often.” “Female directors will have more chances because it’s tough,” she added.

Writer/producer/director/actor Tyler Perry arrives at a screening of ‘Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family’ at the Cinerama Dome Theater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Riggen says that African-American moviegoers have achieved something that  Latinos should strive for. “The black audience has managed to create an industry for themselves,” Riggen  said. “They did it and it’s awesome and they now have the ability to have a  budget for their films and have a constant flow of films.” The director says it’s now the audience’s turn to go to the box office and  show that Latinos can open movies.

Read more: FOX NEWS LATINO

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EVA MENDES IS GIRL IN PROGRESS

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Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom. She is too busy juggling work, bills, and and relationships, to give her daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) the attention she desperately needs. When Ansiedad’s English teacher, Ms. Armstrong (Patricia Arquette), introduces her students to classic coming-of-age stories, Ansiedad is inspired to skip adolescence and jump-start her life without mom. While Grace becomes preoccupied with the increasing affections of her co-worker (Eugenio Derbez), Ansiedad enlists the help of her loyal friend, Tavita (Raini Rodriguez), to plot her shortcut to “adulthood”. But as her misguided plan unravels, Ansiedad and Grace must learn that sometimes growing-up means acting your age.

Dove Worldview:


Here is a movie which illustrates that change is possible for anyone who truly wants it. A teenager named Ansiedad lives with her mother Grace, and their relationship is a bit rocky, mainly due to the fact that Grace is having an affair with a married man, works as a waitress at a diner, and is hardly ever home. Yet Ansiedad’s love for her mother is clearly seen when she goes into her mom’s bedroom after Grace gets home late and she lovingly removes her shoes while she sleeps.


When Ansiedad hears her teacher mentioning “coming of age” and “rites of passage” in her class at school, she decides it is time she goes from being a very good student to a time of rebellion. She says, “Being a kid is stupid and I’m moving on.” However, she moves on with some very bad decisions. She sets her goals on hanging out with “bad girls”, ditching her overweight but kind best friend, ignoring her school work, drinking and “maybe” doing drugs. Lastly, she plans on losing her virginity. She even sets her eyes on the guy she wants it to happen with.


Obviously these are themes which are realistically handled in this film yet there is a strong change in the characters by movie’s end, including both Grace and Ansiedad, who “grow up” and form a bond. Without spoiling the ending, Ansiedad learns that being an adult means being responsible and Grace remembers her responsibilities as well. The redemptive theme is strong in this one.

Parents should watch this film with their kids and discuss the various decisions the characters make. Due to the sophisticated themes we are recommending this movie for ages twelve plus. “Girl in Progress” is a film you and your family will care about! And it should be utilized as a teaching tool in making decisions and dealing with consequences. This one is Dove “Family-Approved”. “Girl in Progress” is just that, a story about progress!

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HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO MIS AMERICANOS: CHECK OUT THE SEVEN CITIES WITH THE HOTTEST FIESTAS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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From margaritas to Mariachi and everything in between, here’s a rundown of the biggest fiestas taking place across the country.

(1) Los Angeles, California

The Fiesta Broadwayis known as “the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. The monster street fair, which covers more than 24 square blocks of downtown Los Angeles, draws crowds of more than half a million people. This year the fiesta happened on April 27th – 29th.

(2) Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Cinco de Mayo – Denver

The Mile High City is home to “Cinco in the Park,” a two-day festival hosted by Denver’s Civic Park Center that typically attracts more than 400,000 visitors and features over 350 food and retail vendors.
Look out for three stages of live entertainment, a Navy flight simulator, and the highly-anticipated annual Green Chili-Bowl Cookoff when the party — now entering its 25th year  anniversary kicks off— kicks off with a parade on Saturday, May 5th at 10am.

(3) Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Cinco de Mayo – Arizona

This year, the 19th annual Cinco de Mayo Phoenix festival willtake place May 5th and May 6th.  The big bash draws in more than 150,000 enthusiastic attendees.
Look forward to the endless mix of live music, batting cages, and party-goers chomping down on one and half pound turkey legs.

(4) St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Cinco de Mayo – Minnesota

The “Spiciest Celebration” in Minnesota takes place in St.Paul’s District del Sol, which opens its streets to more than 100,000 attendees each year.
The party begins on Friday, May 4th at 4 p.m. and keeps raging through Saturday night. What should you expect? Six blocks of traditional latin food, music, and dance, a lowrider car show, and a “people’s choice” salsa tasting contest!

(5) Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Cinco de Mayo – Chicago

This year, Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood — the heart of the city’s Mexican community — will host its second annual Cinco de Mayo festival from Friday, May 4 to Sunday, May 6.
The three-day celebration is said “to be one of the largest Mexican cultural fests in the Midwest.”
In late September, Little Village is also the site of the Chicago’s annual Mexican Independence Day Parade.

(6) Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Cinco de Mayo – Oregon

Get ready to see professional luchadores (Mexican wrestlers) riling things up at Portland’s 28th Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, which starts today and continues through Sunday, May 7.
The extravagant celebration takes place along the waterfront and showcases a variety of local talent and professional entertainment, including ethnic Mexican ballet dance and a Latin rock band.

(7) San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Cinco de Mayo – San Francisco

The Mission neighborhood in San Francisco celebrates its eigth annual Cinco de Mayo spectacular this weekend in Dolores Park.
The family-friendly, alcohol-free extravaganza is expected to draw more than 5,000 people — just the right number to start a giant Zumba-thon Exercise Class, which will launch the entire event on Saturday, May 5.
Updated from 2011: Business Insider

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DID LATINOS GET POLITICAL ON THE RED CARPET AT THE LATIN BILLBOARD AWARDS: DON OMAR WAS THE BIG WINNER WATCH HIS VIDEO AND FIND OUT WHY

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CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO WATCH WHAT LATINO CELEBRITIES HAD TO SAY ON THE RED CARPET 

In the midst of the glitz and glamour of the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, Fox News Latino asked deep questions while celebrities sashayed across the red carpet. While most of the media was interested in ‘what are you wearing?’ And ‘how do you feel tonight?’ We struck a different chord with the celebrities. We asked: ‘What are your views about the role of Latinos in this year’s election?’ And they loved it! We were praised for elevating this important matter and the artists were quick to open their heart and share their perspectives.

Wilfredo LeeAP Photo – Music producer Emilio Estefan walks the red carpet at the Latin Billboard Awards in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, April 26, 2012.

Emilio Estefan was quick to mention his participation in a call with the White House on Friday, and Wilmer Valderrama, who is actively involved with the organization Voto Latino, got extremely passionate about the growth trends of our community and his dissatisfaction with the Arizona law.

MIAMI, FL – APRIL 26: Akon arrives at the Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012 at Bank United Center on April 26, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images) RODRIGO VARELA / STRINGER MIAMI HERALD

R&B recording artist, songwriter and record producer, Akon talked about the importance of unity and the power of minorities sticking together to make a difference and let their voices be heard.

(L-R) Nacho, Jenni Rivera and Chino arrive at the Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012 at Bank United Center on April 26, 2012 in Miami (Source: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images North America)

La diva de la banda, Jenni Rivera, was equally passionate to motivate Latinos to get involved.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO WATCH MORE LATINOS SPEAK UP ON THE RED CARPET

You may wonder, why did we get political on the red carpet? Because our voice, our community and our influence is paced to make a critical difference on the race to the White House. A cover on TIME Magazine, controversies over the Arizona Law, a potential vice presidential candidate,  Marco Rubio and many more, are at the core of our conversations. Even for celebrities who are doing voter drivers and attending meetings at the White House.

The big winner at the Latin Billboards was Don Omar, watch his video and see why Don Omar took the most awards that night.

Latinos represent a potential 21.7 million eligible voters, according to the Pew Hispanic Center; however of those eligible in 2010 only 6.6 million actually headed to the polls; a number that can mark a historic difference in this year’s election. This disconcerting 30 percent or 15 million gap has been recognized by many organizations like Voto Latino; which is touring with the Mexican band Maná as part of their ‘Drama Luz’ tour; and other celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Jon Secada and Shakira have joined various functions at the White House in efforts to amplify and raise issues of our community.

Read more: FOX NEWS LATINO

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WILMER VALDERRAMA SPEAKS OUT AGAINST SB 1070 AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

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Getty Images

Wilmer Valderrama, the actor best known for the television shows “Awake” and “That 70s Show“, spoke to a crowded room at Arizona State University on Tuesday in the midst of the state’s battle with the Supreme Court over SB 1070. Speaking about the importance of the Latino vote in this upcoming election, Valderrama expressed a pro-immigration stance and called for increased Latino involvement in politics.

“The only way the system can work is if we all get involved,” Valderrama said. “Don’t expect politicians to figure it out for you.”

The event was sponsored by the ‘Voto Latino’ campaign, an effort aimed at increasing the presence of young Latino voters in the next election. Victor Corral, a volunteer with the organization, helped collect new voter registration forms and was excited to hear from the actor. “The Latino voice needs to be heard,” Corral said. “He makes a big difference in doing that.”

UCF in Orlando photo from Wilmer Valderrama’s FB

“If we don’t tell our friends to vote, who will?” he said.

Born in Miami, Valderrama moved back and forth between Venezuela and the United States, during his youth. Coming from an immigrant background himself, he expressed strong feelings against SB1070, a controversial immigration law in Arizona. Valderrama wants more young people and young Latinos to engage in the voting process. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on it. 

“It’s sad,” he said. “Immigration is the reason we have a country in the first place.”

Valderrama holds the belief that both legal and unauthorized immigrants contribute a lot to the United States economy; citing boosts in unclaimed tax revenue and labor for hard-to-fill jobs. He wants people to stop having what he refers to as a ‘negative mental image’ when they hear the word ‘immigration’.

Read more: Fox News Latino

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