iPM is thrilled to update you on what’s going with NATIVE, the documentary. Last year we traveled to research our subjects and focus in on the real issues affecting reservations across America. As we traveled, we realized that NATIVE can go into many directions, but there is one thing that ties everyone together, not only on sovereign land but on our planet, and that is, the environment. Our land has been exploited and contaminated for hundreds of years and the need for us to reexamine how we carry ourselves on Earth is crucial in today’s time.

NATIVE is story of four American Indian tribes fighting for their land and inspiring action for a more sustainable future. This feature length documentary follows these tribes as they heal the threats of food and water shortages, energy crisis, pollution and lack of employment. The need for a new perspective on our environmental needs is shown through their efforts to tackle hundreds of years of exploitation with indigenous wisdom.

Watch the trailer:

We plan to begin production next summer, please help us reach that goal by donating to NATIVE:

Read about our journey on Tribal Travels – Exploring Native America

Contact Saray for sponsorship opportunities and further information:

Latinos: A Better Life Awaits Us

By Miguel Orozco (June 17, 2011 on Latina Lista)

After seeing one of the best films since Gregory Nava’s El Norte, feelings of
pride and personal connection disappeared when I realized that this powerful film called A Better Life, with an all-Latino cast and already garnering positive reviews, may not be seen by millions of Latinos unless we take action and get the word out.

It’s not news that we don’t see many Latinos on movie screens, even though the 2010 U.S. Census announced that more than 50 million of us live in this country and that we command $1 trillion in buying power.


It took over twenty years to make A Better Life. However, if the movie does not have a strong turnout in only two movie theaters in Los Angeles and two theaters in New York on June 24,th the mainstream media will once again conclude that there’s no need to make films about Latinos, because Latinos don’t watch them.

That would be a big mistake. Because while Latinos may not appear on the big screen very often, we are packing in movie houses. In fact, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, 43 million Latino moviegoers purchased 351 million movie tickets in North America in 2010. That’s a $2.7 billion market.

Even more impressive, Latinos are the most frequent moviegoers on a per capita basis. We average seven trips to the movies a year, compared to four trips for other ethnic groups. And its certain those numbers will increase when you consider that, by 2020, Latinos are expected to represent close to 25 percent of the country’s population aged 18-to-29.

So after seeing a beautiful film tell a simple but universal story of a hardworking immigrant wanting a better life for his son, I left the theater with feelings of nostalgia and gratitude. Immediately I thought about the sacrifices my parents, Alfonso and Rosamaria, made when they came to this country in the 1970s to work in a factory and clean houses.

I thought about how fortunate I was to be given the same gift — the chance for a better

I also left the theater wanting to learn more about the project and to tell others about it. And for the past few weeks, I’ve reached out to friends working at national Latino organizations and social media outlets, organized screenings of the movie trailer, and handed out flyers at Latino events to get butts in seats at the ArcLight Hollywood, Landmark theaters in LA and at the AMC Lincoln Square and Landmark Sunshine theaters in New York on June 24th.

Originally called The Gardner, the script has been circulating in Hollywood since 1989. The film stars Demián Bichir, one of the biggest stars in Mexico. Shot in East Los Angeles, in 69 locations for over 38 days, A Better Life reminds me of the landmark film, Robert M. Young’s Alambrista! (1977), that launched the career of Edward James Olmos.

The same effort was made by the director and producers to work closely with the local community to ensure authenticity. The director, Chris Weitz, is the grandson of famous Mexican actress Lupita Tovar. He says about his movie: “Part of my reason for making this movie was as a tribute to her because there’s a part of my family that’s Mexican…so part of my prep for the movie was to begin to learn Spanish, which I’m still doing.”

Even without knowing the movie’s backstory, A Better Life is a tribute to an invisible community of the many hard-working Latino immigrants who want only what all Americans want–a better life. It’s the same story shared by German, Irish, and Italian immigrants not so long ago.

The movie communicated to me a message of dignity and respect that we have been longing for and one that’s desperately needed in this anti-immigrant environment.

A Better Life is one of the rare movies that depicts Latinos and all immigrants with authenticity and humanity, and will have you remembering when and where you saw it.

It’s taken over twenty years for A Better Life. Which is just about the same amount of time that it’s taken our community to be taken seriously. The movie’s success or failure hinges on only a few weeks of limited release.

It’s time to take action. Latinos: A better life awaits us. Let’s get the word out!

Miguel Orozco is President of Nueva Vista Media and a member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. He co-founded Novelas Educativas – an award-winning, educational film company based in Burbank, CA.

SEC, LOFT Institute, TMCF, and APIASF Provide Free Leadership Training to Students



Washington, DC – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Institute, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), will host a free, one-day Leadership Training for area high school, college, and graduate students on Saturday, June 4, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at SEC Headquarters, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC.


The Leadership Training will provide emerging young leaders with an actionable framework for leadership in the community, classroom and workforce. The effort will help the students find, define and refine their inner leader and then have it shine by making a positive impact throughout their lives. In addition, the students will learn from, and network with, SEC professionals and community leaders, as well as receive financial literacy information. Topics will include:


1. The meaning of “leadership,” leadership traits, and developing leadership skills to benefit themselves, their families, their communities, andAmerica;


2. Careers in the financial services and securities industries, and careers at the SEC; and


3. Ten important tips on saving and investing their hard-earned money as students and beyond.


“The SEC is wholly committed to developing a diverse talent pipeline, not only for our own hiring needs, but for the securities and financial services industry as a whole,” said Alta Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity at the SEC. “We are implementing several initiatives for youth and young adults, particularly for those from traditionally underserved communities, to expose them to the wide-ranging career paths in the securities industry and to increase their financial awareness. The SEC is proud to partner with LOFT, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund on this Leadership Training program, and we are committed to establishing and fostering partnerships with similar organizations on an ongoing basis. Through events such as this, we hope to connect with students at a critical point in their lives, where developing both their leadership skills and their financial knowledge will have a meaningful impact on their life decisions, such as paying for college, saving and investing, and choosing a career.”


The Leadership Training curriculum was developed by LOFT Chairman Emanuel Pleitez sourcing literature from McKinsey & Company, Stanford MBA Jullien Gordon, and the New Leaders Council. Beyond the training, the students will continue to be tracked, engaged and positioned as leaders through platforms, networking and opportunities to lead in their schools, communities and workforce. The students will also be provided with mentoring and speaking opportunities and be eligible for internships, fellowships and full-time positions through the LOFT Workforce program.


Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Established in 1987, HHF identifies, inspires, prepares and positions Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce through their year-round programs. With the motto to help one Latino youth help 100 more instead of one at a time, HHF has a network of more than 50,000 vetted and prepped emerging Latino leaders aged 18-28 making an impact. Visit for more information and for a brief video.


Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

Based in Washington, D.C., the APIASF is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted solely to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Since 2003, APIASF has provided a critical bridge to higher education for APIAstudents across the country by distributing more than $40 million in scholarships to students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF’s general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. APIASF website


Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The mission of the TMCF is three-fold: Partner with our member schools to increase access, retention and graduation rates of students attending their schools; Identify and prepare member schools’ students who have significant leadership potential; and, Create for employers a pipeline of highly-qualified member-schools’ students and alumni. And the vision is to change the world one leader at a time. TMCF website


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The United States Congress established the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934, during the Great Depression that followed the stock market crash of 1929. The mission of the SEC is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. The responsibilities of the SEC include interpreting and enforcing federal securities laws and coordinating securities regulation with federal, state, and foreign authorities. The laws and rules that govern the securities industry in the United States derive from a simple and straightforward concept: all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it. For more information about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, please visit


Contact: Jessica Barajas for more information – or (323) 506-9258.


Join LOFT Institute’s online community by clicking here.


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