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Latinos Beyond Reel cover photo

Latinos Beyond Reel 2012


Distributed by Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060; 800-897-0089
Producer n/a
Directed by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Bias, Discrimination, Hispanic Americans, Films, Immigration, Latin Americans, Latinos (United States), Mass Media, Multiculturalism, Popular Culture, Race Relations, Racism, U.S. History

Date Entered: 07/11/2013

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

The Media Education Foundation (MEF) is an independent non-profit organization established in 1991 to produce and distribute documentary films and other educational resources that “inspire critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media” including issues of gender, race, health, politics, and commercialism. MEF is the producer of the acclaimed Dreamworlds: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video series, as well as Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People.

In this 2012 production, available in both a full-length and abridged version, the focus shifts to Hispanic-Americans; a significant segment of the U.S. population that is largely under-represented and mis-represented by the mass media and entertainment industries. Not only are Latino contributions to American life largely unacknowledged, it often appears that the mainstream media goes out of its way to avoid or skew that reality. Examples taken from news broadcasts, films, television, cartoons, comics and video games of this hidden or disguised racism are manifold. Each visual provide s ample illustration that images matter and the images of Latinos that Americans have been presented with for more than a century have been largely negative. The filmmakers also ask how and where these characterizations originated and why they continue to persist so insidiously in the media.

The film is organized into five sections: Invisible and Vilified, Who Tells Our Stories, Justifying History, Stereotypes Never Die, and Images Matter. The film is well-edited for clarity of message on a difficult topic. The use of interviews with academics, actors, writers, and a small group of young children of Latino heritage, who are already starting to feel the effects of these damaging images, is especially effective. This is a sobering study of popular culture and media that is appropriate for undergraduates and high school students.