April 11, 2003

Chicana Playwright to Discuss Route from Undocumented Person To Acclaimed Professional

Josefina Lopez, Chicana playwright and co-screenwriter of the award-winning film, Real Women Have Curves, will speak on Real Women Have Courage: From San Luis Potosi to Hollywood at 7 p.m. April 23 in the Price Center Theatre at the University of California, San Diego.

The lecture is free and open to the public and is being sponsored by the UCSD César E. Chávez Celebration Planning Committee and the Helen Edison Lecture Series in conjunction with month-long activities at UCSD during April celebrating the life and achievements of labor leader and champion of human rights César E. Chávez.

Real Women Have Curves, winner of the “Audience Award” and a “Special Jury Award for Acting” at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, will screen at 7 and 10 p.m. April 22 in the UCSD Price Center Theatre. It is free and open to the public.

In Lopez’s April 23 lecture, the writer/artist/mentor will discuss her experiences as an immigrant from Mexico who followed her dream to become a writer and playwright, establishing a successful professional career in Hollywood and sharing her experiences and expertise teaching Chicano youths.

Lopez was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 1969, and moved with her family to the United States when she was five. She wrote the original stage version of Real Women Have Curves at 19 when memories of life as an undocumented person were still powerful.

After obtaining legal residency in this country, the student/actress/artist blossomed in the mainstream of the U.S. entertainment industry. She then sought to provide that same opportunity to other undocumented persons.

Lopez founded CASA 0101, Theater Art Space, in Boyle Heights, California, to bring live theater, digital filmmaking, dance, and art to the predominantly Spanish-speaking community and “to nurture the future storytellers of Los Angeles who will someday transform the world.”

As CASA 0101 artistic director, Lopez says she envisions that Boyle Heights ”will be a Mecca of Chicana/o art and self expression within 20 years.”

Among other plays Lopez has written are Simply Maria, Or the American Dream and Confessions of Women from East L.A. She is currently writing a screenplay for HBO, titled Loteria, and also a pilot piece for Showtime.

Lopez received an M.F.A. in screenwriting from the Film and Television Department at UCLA. Prior to founding CASA 0101, Lopez taught contemporary Chicana literature at California State University, Northridge.

”I firmly believe that Latinos and other minorities are never going to be given equal status in this country,” Lopez says. “They have to create it for themselves.”

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