Featuring an array of celebrities, media executives, award-winning film directors and producers, the 2016 NALIP Media Summit came to an end on Saturday, June 25 as the most popular and profitable conference in the organization’s 19-year history.
José Bastón, President of Content and Television of Grupo Televisa, Len Amato, President of HBO Films, and multi-award winning acting legend Rita Moreno were among the keynote speakers during the three-day event, which had an emphasis on digital innovation and technology as platforms of growth for Latino independent producers.
The 17th annual conference attracted about 1,200 attendees, compared to 1,000 last year, with many actors, producers and filmmakers hoping to secure connections to launch their careers and independent projects. Sponsorships also increased substantially, says NALIP’s Executive Director Axel Caballero.
“It’s all about growth… and influencing Hollywood,” states Caballero. That’s why he also chose to move the event to the Hollywood and Highland complex, “the home of the Oscars.”
Caballero says this year’s conference theme, “Create with us” turns the tables on Hollywood.
“We are now at a stage where the studios in Hollywood and the networks that want to create content need Latinos. They have to make the pitch to us, because we’re in demand.”
An example of this was the promotion of the upcoming Netflix/Sony Television remake of Norman Lear’s comedy “One Day at a Time,” reimagined with a Latino cast led by Rita Moreno, and executive produced by Gloria Calderón, during the NALIP summit. Part of the cast did a live reading of a scene during Moreno’s keynote luncheon.
Although the event was packed with multiple simultaneous sessions, Saturday featured the most high-profile personalities. In addition the Moreno’s lively keynote, comedian Al Madrigal spoke about his plans to start a Latino comedy festival and later performed a stand-up routine for the audience.
A director’s “master class” rounded up Academy award-winning Argentinian director Juan José Campanella, Venezuela’s Jonathan Jakubowicz, and Mexico’s Patricia Riggen, who spoke about their successes and challenges in filmmaking. Campanella, who also conducts a great body of work in the U.S., noted all the directors on stage were foreign-born Latinos and said there should be more opportunities in Hollywood for U.S.-born Latino directors.
The event closed with the NALIP Latino Media Awards honoring actors and filmmakers for their work. Aubrey Plaza received the Lupe Award and Alice Braga the Outstanding Achievement Award. Tony Plana accepted another Lifetime Achievement Award (he has been previously honored by the Imagen Foundation in 2008 and NCLR in 2014). Juan José Campanella was recognized with the Industry Pioneer Award and Liza Quiroz from Time Warner Foundation received the Media Advancement Award.
A full schedule of the 2016 conference sessions, which included topics such as OTT and creating content with virtual reality is available on the NALIP website.