Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hispancize 2012 Manny Ruiz, Roman Morales’ insight on how indie films can benefit

"It’s very important to note that we want to be a platform even for the existing film festivals. We want to be a friend and an essential ally to other film festivals." -- Manny Ruiz

Hispanicize Event 2012 -- Latino Film Showcase
April 11 to 13, Miami, FL

I had the pleasure of interviewing the main individuals launching the Latino Film Showcase at HIspanicize 2012 and if you haven't read the first part of my article, it's on or click on link:

Latino indie filmmakers don't miss out on this opportunity to submit your film art for consideration at the first annual Hispanicize Event 2012 Latino Film Showcase! If you've participated at other film fests, come and experience the difference it will make in progressing your film forward.

Latin Heat: Sounds like the attending marketers; innovators; influencers; and newsmakers will also learn something from meeting the filmmakers and watching the films.
Manny Ruiz

Manny Ruiz:  Yes! One side of the Hispanicize event showcases trends and trendsetters in Hispanic social media, marketing, business, cultural, and entertainment sectors while the Latino Film Showcase side allows participants to see these elements come together in the films they watch. Marketers and filmmakers will be in the best environment to engage with each other and identify who can best help drive their films.

LH:  Is the Hispanicize Latino Film Showcase in competition with other film festivals?

MR:  I want to be clear and point this out… There are simply not enough venues to help U.S. Latino filmmakers gain visibility and distribution. They are… we are still paddling up a creek as Latinos.

We are willing to make Hispanicize a place that showcases our fellow film festivals to help filmmakers understand how to maximize their visibility. We compliment other film festivals and like events.

We’ve established Miami as our permanent event home to bring the national, international, and social medial worlds together for the benefit of filmmakers. Miami’s international presence is well known. It’s close to New York and has a lot of media. From this perspective, our film event brings a tremendous amount of value to filmmakers. We definitely want partnerships and alliances. We don’t see ourselves as competitors but allies. We see ourselves as an invaluable platform and invite others to join us.

Roman Morales
Roman Morales: It’s a rare opportunity for any filmmaker to come to a Latino film event and gain exposure and access to so many valuable tools.

LH: At last year’s Hispanicize in Hollywood, CA, those who attended praised the event and raved about the fun they had. Will the film showcase also be “fun?”

MR: Absolutely! Doing business doesn’t have to be without some fun elements. There are many activities and surprises in the works. Participants are in for a major treat!

LH: It has come as a surprise to others in the Latino entertainment industry that you may have just put this film showcase together without much thought or experience in cinema arts.

MR:  Our Latino film showcase is not just thrown together. We started three years ago as a professional development conference that evolved into social media, bloggers… essentially a Southwest by Southwest Latino event. We have spent time and resources learning the lessons to get to the point where we are ready for primetime. We’re ready to be known as the U.S. Latino film event that showcases high quality product.

LH: The 2012 film event kicks off with feature length, documentaries and short films, what are the main criteria you're after in the area of subject matter?

Roman Morales:  We talked about this quite a bit, we just want quality films and films with worldwide appeal. Our objective is to find/discover filmmakers whose main goal is to make quality films that we expose the world to. Not just your run-of-the-mill indie films.

MR: We want to make an emphasis in this film showcase on U.S. Latino filmmakers. We are not excluding Latin American filmmakers or their films, but they are already getting fairly good treatment/exposure on national and global levels...where we feel we can especially help is with the U.S. Latino Filmmakers.

But we won’t dismiss Latin American filmmakers especially those who move into U.S. film space with a project.

One of our primary goals is to empower U.S. Latino filmmakers with more opportunities that they traditionally have had. But it is never enough and with this gap we have to do better.

RM: Also, stories have to be universal. We need to come up with different type stories and prove that low-budget doesn’t have to mean low-quality.

MR:  With government subsidies for filmmakers in Latin America it is easier to get produced, unlike the U.S. Latino filmmaker who don’t have these option.  We want to be able to help the U.S. filmmaker with exposure, finding funding and help them with their goal of creating better quality stories with universal appeal.

LH:  Why encourage U.S. Latino filmmakers to submit a film to Hispanicize Event?

MR: Their films screen with the right audience media and bloggers, professional developers, and opportunity to meet potential marketers.

RM: We expose the entire process it takes to get your film in front of the eyes who can make a difference in whether your film picks up a distributor or not.

MR: I know some very talented filmmakers who have done very good work in terms of documentaries, you can see their talent shine but what frequently happens, there is still a big gap in understanding in how to make a living producing their artwork. Not enough entrepreneurship, we’ll give them this platform.

LH: What other unique aspect to Hispancize will filmmakers have access to:

MR:  There’s such an intense focus on the media part of our event that participants and general public think of us as the mother of all press conferences! We’ll have around the clock press coverage, a 4-day press conference, if you will. We expect a lot of use and configuration for press conferences, built-in to event. There is a press conference room set up for filmmakers to use. And, we still have mega surprises up our sleeves.

LH:  Will participating independent filmmakers who are veterans and former prize winners be able to submit for consideration?

RM: Yes, we’ll consider veteran filmmakers in talks to showcase and some studio films. There will be a $10,000 cash prize for the winning feature film and a $5,000 cash prize for shorts.  The studio films won’t quality for prizes but their presence and films will impact our event. We also have a major retro closing film… a cinematic spectacle!

LH: Roman, was it a hard sell to convince Manny?

RM: Not hard to twist Manny’s arm. The guy loves cinema. He’s put so many resources into event… it’s ultra special.

MR: Roman was an influence, inspired me to take as far as we are in 2012. Roman is a very influential in Austin film industry. It is important to me as a filmmaker and producer, I have a personal perspective of what I need and thus have every reason in the world to have this platform.

Thank you, gentlemen. We’ll see you at Hispancize Event and Latino Film Showcase next year on April 11th to 13th, 2012 in Miami, FL! 

For more information on event and how to submit to the Film Showcase, visit:  Early film deadline:  February 7; Late deadline:  February 21.

Manny Ruiz is the organizer and creative director of Hispanicize 2012, the largest annual event gathering marketers, bloggers and social media influencers as well as the chairman and co-founder of Hispanicize and Latina Mom Bloggers network.  A media trailblazer and award-winning PR professional, Manny is also the co-founder of the Hispanic PR Blog, the leading marketing trade journal focused on Hispanic public relations and the "daddy-in-chief" of the bilingual parenting web site  Prior to launching these properties, Manny was President of Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire for PR Newswire.  Prior to PR Newswire's acquisition of Hispanic PR Wire, Hispanic Digital Network and LatinClips in 2008, companies he founded, Ruiz was Chairman and CEO of HispaniMark, the parent company.

Roman Morales is the Film Showcase Organizer/Film Curator of Hispancize Latino Film Showcase. A filmmaker from Austin, Texas, and a producer on the award winning documentary Split Decision (2000), Roman has been a part of the Austin film community. Having worked in film and television as consultant and technical advisor for 10 years he is extremely excited to now be a part of the Hispanicize organization. 

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