Celebrities walk the red carpet on Tuesday night at the 12th annual New York International Latino Film Festival. This year, the festival has a provocative new advertising campaign. The ads, made by the Latino-focused advertising firm Wing, are a series of infographics and videos that poke fun at Latino stereotypes while also having fun with what the festival sees as the difference between a "film" and a "movie."
We'll leave the "film" versus "movie" rehashing to the horn-rimmed masses who spend their days in film school, but WNYC checked in with three experts from different fields to see what they thought of the festival's move. Check out the ads for yourself and, of course, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Arlene Davila, Anthropology Professor at NYU and author of "Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race": "I think the key thing to say about stereotypes is the only reason why they are powerful and continue to be so pervasive where Latinos are concerned is that there are so few representations and so few Latino images. I think that there's no reason to be patting ourselves on the back for attacking some stereotypes. The only way to attack stereotypes is by real, diverse involvement of Latinos in all sectors of the industry."
Leslie Bradshaw, President and Co-founder of the data visualization firm Jess3: "As human beings we respond to visual stimuli and so I think as we get more information and we have less time to look at it, we’re more curious. The infographic is that magical silver bullet. It is telling a numeric story and it's telling a graphical story. What I see in the pumps [the graphic with nine red high heels and one feather duster] is immediately 'Maid in Manhattan,' the Jennifer Lopez film. It evokes a deeper understanding. What I could have seen is 90 percent versus 10 percent. I’m more engaged with a deeper sense of the meaning."
Carlos Gutierrez, founder of the Latin American and Latino film non-profit Cinema Tropical: "I guess it's important for niche film festivals to open up to larger audiences. That's the problem I see in film right now, that it becomes fragmented in terms of niche marketing. I don't have to be a Latino to like Latino film. Ultimately it's a larger process, it's not just about one campaign. The campaign is part of a larger strategy that has 12 years of work behind it. Ultimately I think it’s the most important part of the festival is the showcasing of the films."