September 15, 2000

American Playhouse to Air Gregory Nava's My Family/Mi Familia on PBS

American Playhouse, a leading force in independent filmmaking and movie arts in the U.S., presents Gregory Nava's classic film My Family/Mi Familia on PBS, Sunday, September 17 at 9:00 PM (ET). Check your local listings.

A Hispanic Heritage Month presentation, the broadcast of My Family/Mi Familia marks the first time the film will air on PBS and be presented by American Playhouse, one of the films original producers. The broadcast will be accompanied by an interview with director Gregory Nava. "We are delighted to present My Family/Mi Familia, one of a few classic films in the past few years. Our aim is to have every single American, Latino and non-Latino, watch this landmark film about America's immigrant experience," says Barbara Ludlum, Managing Director of American Playhouse.

Jennifer Lopez stars in Mi Familia

My Family/Mi Familia is the multigenerational saga of the Sanchez Family. In the same way Francis Ford Coppola illuminated a facet of the Italian-American experience in The Godfather, Gregory Nava depicts a Mexican-American family in East Los Angeles, their trials and tribulations through the years as a new generation grows up between the world of their parents' traditions and their American home.

Director Gregory Nava says: "[My Family/Mi Familia is] a life-affirming drama about family. I see the film as universal, intended for everyone who comes from a family. `Familia' is at the heart of the Latino cultural experience and I wanted to capture it with all its color and life like a novel by Marquez."

My Family/Mi Familia was released in 1995 by New Line Cinema, in association with Majestic Films and American Playhouse Theatrical Films. The film is an American Zoetrope-Anna Thomas-New-comm Production featuring one of the finest Latino acting ensembles ever cast: Jacob Vargas plays young Jose, the Sanchez patriarch who, in the 1920's makes his way on foot from his native Michoacan, Mexico to Los Angeles seeking a long-lost California uncle. Once in L.A., José works as a gardener in a west side mansion where he meets an enchanting Jennifer Lopez in her first movie role as Maria, a Mexican-American domestic worker who falls in love with Jose and marries him to start the Sanchez clan.

Through the years, the older Jose, played by Doctored Lopez Rojas and the older Maria, played by Jenny Gago settle into family life as they raise their brood. We are introduced to the tempestuous Chucho, played by a smoldering Esai Morales. Chucho is wanted for the murder of Butch Mejia (Michael DeLor-enzo), whom he has stabbed at the school's sock hop in a scene reminiscent of 1950's teen rebel movies. Edward James Olmos as Paco, the eldest living son, an inspiring writer who also acts as narrator of the film. Jimmy Smits as Jimmy, a second Sanchez son who grows up an alienated pachuco with a rap sheet and a young son who is being raised by his mother. The grown Sanchez daughters are Irene (Maria Canals) who chooses marriage and ages into a hilarious Lupe Ontiveros as well as Toni (Constance Marie) who opts for a life as a nun, helping Central American immigrants.

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