Broken English Productions promises a big cash injection to "tell more Latinx stories"
The production company Broken English has announced a large investment in Latinx film projects.
The idea of having "broken English" and the consequences it brings to everyday life is something that is well known by the Latinx community.
And despite the technology we have today, language is still a real barrier in the lives of millions of people: to relate to other people, to get a job, in short, to live.
This is still happening in the world of cinema, despite the enormous possibilities for subtitling or dubbing the sound of a film. You have to think about all the Latinx films that don't make it to the United States because they are not dubbed, and so we lose stories from the Latin American countries that we would like to know about.
And the impact this has on the way the Latinx community is seen by the world. The repetition of commonplaces, clichés and iconographies to the point of exhaustion may be, in part, a product of a xenophobic political bias, but it is also part of the ignorance and lack of involvement of the community in the stories of which it is a part and in the many languages in which they are told.
A prominent example is the way in which Bogota, the capital of Colombia, a frequently rainy city at an altitude of 2600 meters and with 7.5 million inhabitants, was portrayed in Mr & Mrs Smith: as an arid town, full of ruins, constantly bombed and about 15 degrees Celsius warmer.
The possibility of knowing other stories enriches life experiences, teaches compassion and fights extremism.
That's where Broken English came from, a film production company based in San Diego and Los Angeles that is dedicated to making Latinx films that tell relevant and socially progressive stories.
As part of this commitment, Broken English has opened a major investment offering for emerging filmmakers with projects, with funding from Grandave Capital, which will invest in LatinX projects up to $5 million this year and $20 next year and will be announcing their first project this week at the end of the Virtual Cannes Film Market.
Latin American cinema has been experiencing significant growth in the last decade (Alfonso Cuarón's Roma being one of the most prominent examples), but the economic crisis that has become a pandemic could be a deadly blow to this still-developing industry. Thus, this type of stimulus is more urgent than ever.
"The guiding principle for Broken English Productions is to center Latinx stories and pivot from the narrative of the dominant culture. We are living in an unprecedented time and it’s a critical moment to look at what got us here and what is the way forward. We are placing our starting point within the complexity of the Latinx experience an I’m thrilled to see where that may lead us in shifting the narrative of film making," said Christopher Acebo, Broken English's president, about the company's announcement and the powerful stories it hopes to find and help make with this initiative.
Hollywood and the major centers of the industry have been criticized for years for their lack of diversity, which, although it has been improving, still has a long way to go before the cultural production they offer is representative of all the people who consume it, this initiative will certainly put another grain of sand.