ACADEMY 'S LATINX-FOCUSED SERIES "SEEN" INTERVIEWS EDWARD JAMES OLMOS
BY IRIDE APARICIO
Photos Courtesy: publicly@oscars org.
LOS ANGELES , CA -- Last January 24th, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched "Seen" a new interview series that follows Argentinean-American journalist, director, writer and producer Nick Barili as he sits down for one-on-one conversations with some of the film industry's most influential artists and filmmakers with Latin American and Spanish roots. His two previous interviews included John Leguizamo and Eva Longoria and this time Icon Edward James Olmos, activist and Academy Award nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the 1988 drama Stand and Deliver. Olmos interview with Barili will be very informative because Olmos will share with us his personal journey to Hollywood, explore his craft. and discuss his culture, and the information will play a role in breaking down the barriers of film making for other artistas Latinos in the Community.
"The Latin Community is one, for every four moviegoers, yet we're represented only in four percent of the movie roles out there right now," says journalist, host and bona fide multi-hyphenate Nicolas Barili. "It's crazy to think that [there are] 60 million Latinos living in the States, but we're really not seeing ourselves represented."
"For the Academy to be taking the time to do these conversations, recognizing that they are valid and important conversations for us to have, means a lot. And also to be fully transparent" Barili says, "The Academy is really letting us have these conversations, and also providing a platform for our community to speak uncensored about what they feel."
That statistics – that unfortunately have not drastically improved in recent years – is what prompted Nick Barili to partner with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on "Seen" the name of the new series. The show that will feature Barili in conversation with Latinx (Latinos) luminaries, sitting down together to deep dive into craft, culture, and the Latin impact in filmmaking.
For Barili, "Seen" (His interviews series) has been a lifetime in the making. "I'm a first-generation immigrant. I came to the U.S. with my mom when I was eight, and a lot of the times when I turned on the TV, I never saw myself represented," he recalls. "Luckily, every two, three, or every four years, I would get a movie like La Bamba or Stand and Deliver or Mi Familia or Selena, [and] I felt like I got to see myself and see my culture in some way."
In this episode of "Seen" Barili joined Edward James Olmos for a visit to students in the Youth Cinema Project program at Los Angeles County's Bell Gardens Intermediate School. The episode is already available now in Academy's You Tube
in future episodes the list would grow to include films about and by the Latin community, such as The Motorcycle Diaries – one of Barili's personal favorites – as well as Like Water for Chocolate, Amores Perros, Real Women Have Curves, Pan's Labyrinth, and Bajo La Misma Luna, among others.
"I still believe that more films depicting the Latinx experience need to be produced and distributed, especially when many of the films that currently exist depict harmful stereotypes. It's important to have conversations about why we're not seeing three-dimensional characters and why it's taken so long," Barili says. "And I think that by talking to the people who've actually had journeys through TV and film and theater will give us some insight into why we are where we are and ways where we can move beyond. I want to talk to a lot of the younger generation too, because I think what's important for the series is to talk to people at different steps of their journey.
He had been hard-pressed to enlist more esteemed talent for his first season, but Barili already has a list of dream guests for future installments of Seen. someone like Rita Moreno, who he says "I watched her documentary and I almost was in tears over what she went through to be one of the first and the struggles that she had to get to where she is," and he adds: "Lin-Manuel Miranda is another person that I deeply resonate with, in terms of somebody who grew up in music and has used his passion to impact theater and now movies and animation. I want to talk to a lot of the younger generation too, because I think what's important for the series is to talk to people at different steps of their journey. There are so many!"
"Seen" premiered on Jan. 24 on The Academy's official YouTube page.