September 20, 2002

Showtime Selects Winners of Third Annual “Latino Filmmaker Showcase”

Five Short Films to Premiere September 25, 2002 During Hispanic Heritage Month

SHOWTIME is honored to announce that Gustavo Mercado is the $30,000 prizewinner of the third annual Latino Filmmaker Showcase. The award money will be used toward the production of a new short film which will have its exclusive world premiere on Showtime. In association with Sí TV Productions, SHOW-TIME provides up-and-coming Latino filmmakers with the opportunity to express themselves through the Showcase, which in turn complements the network’s commitment to offer diverse programming to all its viewers.

During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15), Mercado’s short film, “Sensitive,” will debut on SHOWTIME on Wednesday, September 25 at 8:00 PM. It will be the centerpiece program for the newtwork’s third Latino Filmmaker Showcase. In addition to the winning film, the Showcase will premiere four films from finalists Christopher Olness, Lidia Estrada, Francisca Fuenzalida and co-filmmakers Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenor in the same block. SHOWTIME will also individually air all five shorts throughout Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mercado’s “Sensitive” was selected by a blue ribbon panel comprised of actor Tony Plana (SHOWTIME’s “Resurrection Blvd.), actress Ada Maris (“The Brothers Garcia”), writer/executive producer/creator Dennis Leoni (“Resurrection Blvd.”), writer Adam Fierro (“Resurrection Blvd.”) and writer Bob Orci (“Alias”). Showtime Networks’ Pancho Mansfield, Senior Vice President, Development, Original Programming and Lori Hope serve as creative executive and Coordinator, Creative Affairs, respectively for the Latino filmmaker Showcase.

Poignant, creative and thought provoking, the chosen films expose the wide range of talents found in the Latino community, while also giving voices to topics seldom portrayed in popular mainstream film.

“Sensitive” (winner) - Director Gustavo Mercado tells the story of a woman who, feeling the futility of her job, tries to make a difference and ultimately fails. Engaging and challenging, “Sensitive” deals with some of the issues in the Latino community such as: immigrants and the arduous INS process; one’s environment and its affect on attitudes and behavior; stereotypes and contradictions. Overall, “Sensitive” is about life’s complexities and our human instinct to understand and help each other.

“Learning To Swim” — Christopher Olness, Director/Co-Writer, and Yelba Osorio, Producer/Co-Writer, bring to life this story about a boy who, after witnessing his young brother’s accidental drowning, overcomes his fear of water in an effort to save the life of a long-time bully. Strong performances and solid writing generously enhance this universal topic about overcoming fears.

“Trauco’s Daughter” — Coupling magical realism and fairytale truth, director Francisca Fuenzalida gives us a visual feast. This tale is of a 15-year-old girl, Carla, who becomes pregnant after frolicking with the son of her mother’s boss. When asked who the father is, she says that it is the mythical creature Trauco. A combination of delicious cinematography and likeable characters draws the audience in, to believe the unbelievable.

“First Days” — Lidia Estrada directs this film about a little girl’s first day at an English school. More significantly, it is a story of how adults, particularly teachers, forget what it was like to be a student in a new school and how teachers can also learn important and invaluable lessons from their students. It is a well executed, enjoyable film that also subconsciously teaches filmmakers that storytelling is key in any film.

“De Colores” — Directors Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir bring us a revealing documentary about how Latino families and communities deal with their gay sons and daughters. A variety of interviews are show with comedians, community leaders, social workers and various gays and lesbians who talk about the impact of being gay in a Latino community. They address homophobia in their culture, due to machismo, as well as discuss parents’ reactions when their children come out to them. Also shared are stories of available support systems and the journeys taken to find them. Candidness and sincerity gives the viewer insight on these very real issues.

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