The Frida Cinema Blog Post #19

10 Movies Filmed in Orange County

Since the silent film era, Orange County has been used to film a variety of movies from Beaches to Iron Man. With so many movies filmed in our beloved Orange County, I picked ten movies that represent the diversity of the OC from the beaches of Dana Point, to the small town feel of Old Town Orange.

10. Big Momma’s House (2000)

Filmed: Old Town Orange, Orange

FBI agent and master of disguise Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence), disguises himself as the elderly “Big Momma” to watch Sherry (Nia Long), who’s suspected of helping her dangerous ex-boyfriend rob a bank. While struggling to keep up his disguise, Malcolm falls in love with Sherry and learns the truth behind the bank robbery. Although the movie is set in Cartersville, Georgia, Big Momma’s neighborhood and home was filmed in the homes surrounding Old Town Orange, on Maple Ave. and Shafer St. The house across the street was also used in the movie, as the FBI’s stakeout location.

9. Savages (2012)

Filmed: Dana Point and Laguna Main Beach, Laguna Beach

In Laguna Beach, two friends Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), share success in an illegal drug business and openly date the same girl, Ophelia Sage (Blake Lively). After they refuse to do business with Mexican drug lord Elena (Selma Hayek), she kidnaps Ophelia, igniting a drug war between them. The main filming location was Laguna Beach, most notably the Laguna Main Beach. Private residents overlooking the ocean, with one near the popular Bluff Top Trail in Dana Point where also used in the movie.

8. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Filmed: The Block at Orange, Orange

One of the most outrageous comedies of the early 2000’s follows the fictional popular Kazakhstani reporter Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he films a documentary in America on what makes America great. While exploring America, he falls for Pamela Anderson and makes his way cross country in the hopes of marrying her. When Borat meets and proposes to Anderson, who is a real-life friend with Cohen, it’s at the Virgin Megastore at The Orange Block. Though Virgin Megastore sadly closed in January 2009, this memorable scene brings back many memories, especially for those of us who loved shopping there.

7. Legally Blonde (2001)

Filmed: Old County Courthouse, Santa Ana

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is suddenly dumped by her boyfriend because she’s “too blonde.” Wanting to prove him wrong, Elle follows him to Harvard Law School, where she proves there’s more to her than her platinum locks. The main court trial of the movie (the murder trial of Brooke Windham) was filmed, according to Bower’s Museum, within and outside of the Old County Courthouse. After the construction of the current court house, the Old County Courthouse is now a museum opened to the public, unless there is filming in progess.

6. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Filmed: Little Saigon, Westminster

Investigating a string of hijackings, LAPD officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) goes undercover for leads on the responsible heist crew, eventually becoming an affiliate of a gang lead by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). As his involvement with the gang deepens, he compromises his investigation by becoming friends with Dominic and falling in love with Dominic’s sister. Two notable locations of Little Saigon where used in the film, including The Cultural Court and the Vietnamese Gate. The prior when Brian meets Dominic’s gang rivals Johnny Tran and Lance Nguyen in front of The Cultural Court. The latter as Brian and Dominic walk under the Vietnamese Gate after their confrontation with Johnny and Lance.

5. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Filmed: John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana and Fashion Island, Newport Beach

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is fired from his glossy agent job at a major sports management group and is inspired to start his own sports management group, with Dorothy’s (Renee Zellweger) help. Eventually, Dorothy and Jerry fall in love, but separate due to the pressure of the work, leading Jerry to try and win her back. Dorothy and Jerry’s by chance meeting at the airport was filmed in John Wayne Airport, specifically Terminal A, Baggage Claim 2. However, John Wayne Airport was used in multiple scenes in the movie as well as the quiet and dark hall Jerry runs through to get home to Dorothy.

4. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Filmed: UCI (University of California, Irvine) main campus, Irvine

In 1991, speechless and primitive apes have gone from beloved pets to exploited slaves for humans. Disgusted by this severe abuse, Cesar (Roddy McDowall) decides to become the leader of an ape revolution, beginning their assertion over humans. This fourth of the five original Planet of the Apes franchise filmed many outdoor scenes at UCI, due to its futuristic style buildings. The buildings most visible in the movie are the Social Science Laboratory, the Social Science Tower, and the Langson Library.

3. Poltergeist (1982)

Filmed: UCI, Langson Library, Irvine

A family moves into their dream home in an ideal California suburb. However, mounting paranormal events engender the family, leading the relentless spirits to kidnap their youngest daughter. The main campus of UCI is a popular site for filming in Orange County, especially the Langson Library. The father of the family, Steve Freeling, goes to meet with parapsychologist at UCI, led by Dr. Lesh about the paranormal disturbances in his home.

2. Rain Man (1988)

Filmed: Santa Ana Regional Transpiration Center/Santa Ana Station, Santa Ana

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a self-centered car dealer, learns that the bulk of his recently deceased father’s estate is left to an older autistic brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), whom he never knew existed. The brothers go on a road trip, creating a bond which forces Charlie to reevaluate his own prospective, changing his life. The train station featured at the end of the film is the Santa Ana Station, with its distinct Spanish colonial and Mediterranean influenced architecture and notable features (fountain, tiles and staircases). Although the station itself was only built in 1985, its classic style is breathtaking, displaying the elegance of the architecture of yesteryear.

1. That Thing You Do (1996)

Filmed: Old Town Orange, Orange

During the early 1960’s, The Wonders, a small-town bubblegum pop band, break into the music charts with their hit song, “That Thing You Do.” As their star ascends, the band members deal with the joys, trials, and tribulations of show business. While the hometown of The Wonders was supposed to be based in Erie, Pennsylvania, it was filmed in Old Town Orange a.k.a. The Circle. Some of the shops featured in the movie, such as Watson’s (on Chapman Ave.) and the army surplus store (on Glassell St.) are still around.

This movie holds a special place in my heart, because I was lucky enough to see the movie being filmed, in the Summer of 1995, when I was five-years-old. I stood in the area where they allowed local spectators to watch, amazed and captivated by the complexity of a movie set. The highlight of filming for me, was when I frantically waved at The Wonders as they were standing around talking in between takes, hoping they would see me. When they saw me, they waved back, saying among themselves how cute my waving was. I was ecstatic! Without a doubt, That Thing You Do was the film that truly ignited my passion for film.

Honorable mentions of other movies filmed in Orange County:

Catch Me if you Can

Ocean’s 11

Crimson Tide

The Man Who Wasn’t There

First Daughter

Clear and Present Danger


Demolition Man

Up Close and Personal




The Frida Cinema Blog Post #18

10 Offbeat Musicals to See

Musicals have been a major part of the world of film since the invention of sound in film in 1929. For every standard classic musical from Singing in the Rain to Sound of Music, there’s a treasure trove of underground cult offbeat classics. This list of offbeat musicals features films with eccentric stories and characters, from a roller-skating muse to a cross dressing mad-scientist. Each film is a great experience just waiting to be…experienced.

10. Xanadu (1980)

Rated: PG

A nostalgia loving musical, infusing disco and classic Hollywood music, featuring Hollywood Legend Gene Kelly in his last film appearance. Sonny (Michael Beck), a struggling artist in Los Angeles, crosses path with Kira (Olivia Newton John), the girl of his dreams, who is secretly the Olympian Muse of dance, Terpsichore. As Sonny and Danny (Gene Kelly), through Kira’s encouragement, pursue their mutual dream of opening a successful nightclub, Sonny and Kira fall in love, leading to the Olympian gods’ efforts to permanently separate the lovers. The sweetest musical on this list, with intimate dance sequences, a stunning array of costumes, and fun music.

9. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)

Rated PG

Valerie (Geena Davis), unhappy with her relationship to an unfaithful doctor, has her world turned upside down when a UFO crashes into her pool. After befriending the UFO’s three friendly and naive aliens who need to fix their ship, she and her best friend Candy (Julie Brown), disguise them as human to draw away suspicion. However, it’s a race against time to keep them from being discovered, as Valerie begins to develop feelings for Mac (Jeff Goldblum), one of the aliens. A slapstick comedy which both pokes fun at the superficial aspects of 1980’s LA life, while paying homage to LA’s unique culture and sound.

8. Forbidden Zone (1980)

Rated: R

Among this list of musicals, Forbidden Zone is the most artistically experimental movie, running the gamut of homage and satire of classic Hollywood films to avant-garde live action and animation sequences. It’s a 1980’s new wave rock interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. Frenchy, a young woman living the chaotic world of Los Angeles, falls into a portal in her basement, leading her to the sixth dimension. When she is taken prisoner by the queen of this strange new world, Frenchy’s family goes to the six dimensions to save her. This arthouse film features music by the legendary Cab Calloway, along with a cameo of composer/singer of Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman.

7. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Rated: R

A novel Christmas musical filled with holiday cheer, zombies, teenage love and blood galore. In a small, quaint Scottish town, a zombie apocalypse breaks out, infecting the majority of residents. Anna and a small band of classmates fight for survival, while searching for their families and a way to escape. This Breakfast Club meets Dawn of the Dead and While Christmas cinematic experience will undoubtedly become a cult horror holiday classic.

6. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Rated R

After the world faces an epidemic of organ failure, GeneCo – an organ financing company – saves millions. Nathan (Anthony Head), a widowed doctor who cares for his ill daughter Shiloh (Alexa PenaVega), by night, is GeneCo’s Repo Man, repossessing organs from those who miss a payment. It’s not long before Shiloh’s desire to explore the world leads her to uncover multiple dark secrets of her family and GeneCo. This futuristic gothic horror features the collaboration of remarkable talent from a wide range of music genres from punk (Joan Jett), heavy metal (Clown from Slipknot), and opera (Sarah Brightman).

5. Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Rated: PG

A gothic 1970’s rock interpretation of the classic Phantom of the Opera and Faust tales, combining the amazing talents of director Brian De Palma and Grammy awards winning singer/songwriter Paul Williams. Corrupt music mogul, Swan (Paul Williams), steals music from the naive songwriter Winslow (William Finley) and destroys his life. As Swan tries to open his rock palace The Paradise – with Winslow’s music – Winslow becomes the venues phantom, attempting to sabotage the grand opening. Leading into a downward spiral of betrayal, death, and endangering Phoenix, the young singer Winslow secretly loves, and whom Swan wants to exploit.

4. Meet the Feebles (1989)

Rated: R

Before Oscar winning director Peter Jackson directed The Lord of the Rings film series, he co-wrote, co-produced, and directed this very outrageously shameless, yet hilarious animal puppet musical. As the cast and staff prepare for a live television performance of “The Feebles” variety show, they experience the sleazy side of show business, including blackmail, drugs, STDs, betrayal, and gory murder. Yet, among the madness are loveable characters and catchy tunes. This film’s edgy humor precedes The SimpsonsFamily Guy, and South Park, giving them all a run for their money.

3. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Rated: PG-13

A film adaption of the unlikely Broadway hit, originating from the low-budget cult film by cult-icon Roger Corman of the same name. A skid-row floral shop struggling to stay open finds popularity and financial success when employee Seymour (Rick Moranis) “discovers” a new exotic plant, which he names “Audrey II” after his crush and fellow co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). When Seymore stumbles on the frightful truth that Audrey II feeds on human flesh and talks, he conceals the truth out of fear of losing Audrey. But, as Audrey II becomes more powerful, threatening the safety of Audrey and the town, it’s up to Seymour to stop this botanical monster.

2. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

Rated: R

This film is also based on a Broadway play, but inspired by the Playboy Magazine article about the real-life Chicken Ranch – an illegal cathouse in Texas (active from 1905-1973). The film follows the adventures of the eccentric madam, Miss Mona (Dolly Parton), as she works hard to keep her Chicken Ranch running smoothly and keep the clients (including politicians) happy, all while keeping her affair with Sheriff Dodd (Burt Reynolds) secret. Though she’s a charitable lady and law-abiding citizen – for the most part – Miss Mona and Sheriff Dodd try to stop a self-righteous rating hungry television personality from shutting her down. This feel-good comedy features the iconic song, “I Will Always Love You”, later covered by Whitney Houston in the film The Bodyguard.

1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rated: R

A beloved monthly staple at The Frida, featuring K.A.O.S., a live shadow cast, which sells out every screening. This cult classic darling follows Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick), an unsuspecting couple who lose their way in a storm and find refuge in the eerie mansion of the transvestite mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). As the night goes on, Janet and Brad lose their innocence in this mansion filled with eccentric characters, lust, mad science and murder. A whirlwind joy ride from start to end with fantastic tunes that every fan of musicals or cult films needs to see.



Latin Heat Entertainment #9

Family Unity Drives CBS’ Newest Sitcom “Broke”


Jaime Camil Returns to The Sitcom Circuit 


Premieres Thursday, April 2 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT)

The newest CBS multi-camera sitcom Broke, features Jaime Camil as its leading man. Adding to its diverse primetime lineup, the majority of the main cast is Latino.

Single mother Jackie (Pauley Perrette), works two jobs to raise her son Sammy (Antonio Raul Corbo), while living on a tight budget. Out of the blue, her estranged and very wealthy sister Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), Elizabeth’s husband Javier (Jaime Camil), and Javier’s assistant Luis (Izzy Diaz) visit. When Elizabeth confesses to Jackie, they are flat broke, Jackie reluctantly lets them stay with her until they can get back on their feet. Forcing the sisters to set aside their differences and reconnect as a family. Reminding them just how much they all need one another.

Camil, before becoming popular among American audiences in Jane the Virgin as Rogelio De La Vega, his entertainment career began in Mexican radio, in the early 1990’s. Later, between 1999 and 2002, he released two albums as a singer. At this time, Camil also started his career in acting in Mexican telenovelas, most notably Mi Destino Eres Tú (You are my Destiny), La Fea Más Bella (The Prettiest Ugly Girl) and Qué Pobres tan Ricos (How Poor the Rich). As well as performing in live musicals on Broadway and in Mexico. Since Jane the Virgin, Camil continues to act and has become very active as a voice character for a variety of animated shows and films, including the Disney properties CocoElena of AvalorThe Lion Guard, and DuckTales.

Jaime Camil and Natasha Leggero as Javier and Elizabeth Photo: Greg Gayne/CBS

The character of Javier is portrayed as a well-educated, positive and a loving family man. Challenging the traditional Latino male media stereotypes (criminal, violent, domineering, lazy, womanizing, etc.). Javier’s biggest challenge is attempting to make a life outside of his wealthy and sheltered upbringing. To prove to his wealthy family, he can be financially responsible.

A unique aspect of Broke is the use of Spanish. While English is the primary language of the show, Spanish is sprinkled throughout the show, especially in conversations between Javier and Luis. Further defining their cultural bond and close friendship. Also, the use of subtitles helps the Spanish become more accessible to the audience, especially those of us with limited Spanish skills.

Broke is based on the Colombian telenovela Pobres Rico (Poor Rich People). Coincidentally, in the Mexican version of Pobres RicoQué Pobres tan Ricos, Camil starred as the main character, the rich man who turned poor.

Alex Herschlag, the creator of Broke, is a seasoned comedy television producer and writer, most notably for Will & Grace and Modern FamilyVictor Gonzales, the show’s director, has an impressive resume working as a director on multiple contemporary sitcoms, including multiple Latino oriented sitcoms, such as George LopezWizards of Waverly PlaceCristelaOne Day at a Time, and Mr. Iglesias.

Overall, Broke is a warm-hearted family-based comedy. A breath fresh air in a time of tremendous stress and isolation, reminding us all how important family unity is, especially in a time of crisis.  Broke premieres on CBS, Thursday, April 2 at 9:30/8:30c.


Latin Heat Entertainment #8

Rafael Garcia, Disney’s Newest VP of Original Series Development

Disney Channel, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, has promoted eleven talented executives and staffers to SVP (Senior Vice President) and VP (Vice President) positions, after a significant surge in programming content for all its various channels (including Disney Junior and Disney XD) and streaming service Disney+. Among these Disney promotions include Rafael Garcia, from Executive Developer, Original Series Development, to Vice President, Original Series Development.

Before Disney, Garcia had worked and expanded his creative skills with two other major names in family, child and adolescent television entertainment, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. During his time with Nickelodeon (2008-2013), as Director, Executive in Charge, Original Series, Garcia developed and supervised the production of animated Pelswick and oversaw live action comedy The Nick Cannon Show programs.  With Cartoon Network (2008-2012) as Director of Original Series, Garcia continued to develop his skills as executive producer for a variety of live action programming including comedies, game shows, docu-series and reality (Dude, What Would Happen) shows.

With the growth of the Latino consumption of Disney media and the financial success Disney has had with Latino orientated and Latino starring content (Elena of AvalorWizards of Waverly Place and Coco), Garcia’s promotion is essential to the growth of Disney’s Latino audience. By having a talented and experienced Latino in an influential position of creating original content, it increases positive and accurate Latino participation in Disney’s content both behind and in front of the camera.

From 2012-2014, Garcia began with Disney as Director, Current Series (Disney ABC Television Group and Disney XD) overseeing all phases of the production of multiple programs (Lab Rats). Later (2014-March 2020), Garcia was promoted to Executive Director, Original Series Development (Disney ABC Television Group, Disney Channel and Disney XD). He oversaw the forming and production of several original live-action series (Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything) on various platforms.

In his new role Garcia will be responsible for developing live-action series, with an emphasis on finding emerging content creators, for both Disney Channels and Disney+.

Outside of Disney, Garcia has been a board member of Colour Entertainment Groups since 2014. A non-profit, which is, a non-profit, which is, dedicated to maximizing the potential of executives of color who work in the entertainment industry.

Congratulations, Rafael Garcia.



The Frida Cinema Film Event Post #34

Tales From The Hood

Tales from The Hood


Frida After Dark commemorates the 25th anniversary of Tales from The Hood with screenings of the cult horror anthology classic.

Three young drug dealers go to the local funeral home to purchase drugs from Mr. Simms, an eccentric mortician. As Mr. Simms leads the unsuspecting crooks to the drug stash, he regales them with stories of his newly departed patrons. The dealers become impatient but the mortician goes on with stories of increasing strangeness.

A unique experiment in anthology-style horror, Tales from The Hood combines supernatural elements with striking commentary on urban issues.

“One of the smartest genre offerings of the era and, quite possibly, the best anthology of its decade.” – Dustin Putman,

“If Get Out is about the way racism now hides behind America’s grinning, faux-liberal facade, Tales is about how poverty and ignorance are causing young black men and women to rage war against themselves.” – Chris Alexander, Alexander On Film

“A landmark genre picture.” – Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat




Latin Heat Entertainment #7

JLO & Shakira 2020 Super Bowl History Making Performance

Culminating A History of Latino Super Bowl Performances

 Written by Justina Bonilla

This year’s Super Bowl was notable for many firsts. For the first time in Super Bowl history, all halftime headliners and national anthem singer, where Latinas.

Kicking off this groundbreaking Super Bowl was Demi Lovato profoundly and beautifully singing the national anthem. Taking it to the next level, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo)’s electrifying Super Bowl halftime performance highlighted the best of Latino culture and talent, with the musical support of Bad Bunny and J Balvin. The performance also included the music debut of J.Lo and singer Marc Anthony’s daughter Emme Muñiz.

Since 1967, only three Latinas have sung the National Anthem for the Super Bowl. Mariah Carey was the first Latina National Anthem performer in 1992. Followed by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato. However, the first Latina singer to perform as a featured talent for a Super Bowl was Vikki Carr, during the opening ceremonies in 1977. Due to the national anthem not being sung that year, Carr instead sang America the Beautiful. She paved the way for future featured Latina and Latino Super Bowl performers.

Demi Lovato Singing the National Anthem

Throughout Super Bowl halftime show history, only 14 Latino performers have been headliners or noted featured talent, within 8 halftime performances.

The first solo Latino musical headliner for the Super Bowl halftime show was Latina music legend Gloria Estefan in 1992. It would take another 24 years, before another Latino, Bruno Mars, would be the first solo male Latino musical headliner for the Super Bowl halftime show in 2016. Other Latinos halftime performers include Christina AguileraEnrique Iglesias, and Fergie with The Black Eyed Peas.

While both Shakira and J.Lo each brought their own flavor and sparkle to their performances, each made strong statements. Shakira’s performance emphasized Latino multiculturalism, while J.Lo’s performance was political.


Shakira: Diversity Within the Latino Community

When many people think of Latino culture in America, they tend to think of Mexican culture, due to Mexicans being the largest of the U.S. population at 66% with the 2nd largest group, Puerto Rican coming in at a distant 9.5%  of the population.  However, Latino culture is extremely diverse stretching over a multitude of countries and territories, especially in the Americas and the Caribbean. Its heavily and continually impacted by immigration, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious influences.

Shakira who is from Colombia, identifies as a half-Colombian and half-Lebanese Latina. During her performance she belly danced and used the Zaghrouta (a high-pitch tongue call to express strong emotions, partially joy). She also used African based rhythms and dancing in her performances.

Arabs and Africans have lived in Latin America for centuries, as a result of the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the 15th century. Their influences are deep-rooted in Latino culture, including music. Arab rhythms can be heard in flamenco, while African rhythms can be heard in Rumba and Conga. Shakira’s entire performance challenges how singular Latino culture is perceived in America, proving its vast diversity.


Jennifer Lopez: Latino Orientated Political Issues

J-Lo opened her performance with a bang, with her signature dancing style and singing her biggest hits. Her performance was peppered with strong political statements about current immigration policy, Latino American Identity and Puerto Rico.

Emme Muniz sings Along with Mom JLO

As her daughter Emme made her singing debut on television, she and other children were first seen round glowing cages, along with red lights behind the stage mincing the look of a chain-link fence. These images artistically symbolize the inhumane immigration policy of child imprisonment and separation from parents. Tragically, these separations have led to severe psychological trauma in the children taken from their families. Adding insult to injury, many of these children will end up in foster care and never be reunited with their families, due to the incompetence of ICE’s organizational and documentation abilities.

All of the children on stage, were wearing white (a color associated with innocence), with bedazed American flags on their tops. J.Lo joined Emma on stage singing the chorus of Bruce Springsteen’s hit, Born in the U.S.A., emphasizing the fact that U.S. Latinos are Americans, for the most part. While many of us have strong ties to immigration (i.e. immigrant parents or grandparents), according to PEW research, since 2000, the majority of Latino population growth in America is by birth rate. The majority of Latino immigrants in America are documented, with the percentage of undocumented Latinos decreasing.

Unfortunately, Latinos are still heavily stereotyped as embodying the negative aspects of immigration, including crimes committed by undocumented “criminal aliens”, exploiting social welfare, and unwillingness to assimilate. These twisted ideas have been exacerbated and used as a political weapon in this heated political climate. This has led to increased harassment against Latinos, such as Latinos with legal status being arrested and illegally held in ICE facilities, including Puerto Ricans.

To emphasis that Puerto Rico is an American territory and that all Puerto Ricans are American citizens, J.Lo wore a reversible cape, with the Puerto Rican flag on the inside and the American flag on the outside. The message here is that Puerto Rico is an American territory, thus a part of America. This also brought awareness that Puerto Rico still needs aid from the devastation of recent natural disasters and political unrest.



As a Latina I’m proud that these women used their platform to elevate the Latino image through their incredible talent and hard work. My hope is this halftime performance will be the beginning of more inclusive entertainment, highlighting the beauty and strength of Latinos and our culture.


Latino Headliners and featured talent for The Super Bowl halftime show:

1992: Gloria Estefan (headliner)

1995: Arturo Sandoval (guest appearance)

Miami sound Machine (guest appearance)

1999: Gloria Estefan (co-headliner)

2000: Edward James Olmos (narrator)

Christina Aguilera (co-headliner act)

Enrique Iglesias (co-headliner act)

2011: The Black Eyed Peas (Fergie co-headliner)

2014: Bruno Mars (headliner)

2016: Bruno Mars (guest appearance)

Gustavo Dudamel (guest appearance)

2020: Jennifer Lopez


Bad Bunny

J Balvin

Emme Muñiz


Latino talent who performed the National Anthem for the Super Bowl:

2002: Mariah Carey

2011: Christina Aguilera

2020: Demi Lovato




Latin Heat Entertainment #6

Kobe Bryant’s Latino Connection and Collaborations

Written By Justina Bonilla

The world is still reeling from the news of the shocking and devastating deaths of Laker Icon Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, the six family friends and pilot, from the tragic Sunday morning helicopter crash. Millions of Latino fans in America and abroad regard Kobe’s untimely death as the loss of a beloved member of the Latino community. And profoundly heartbroken over the loss of one of our princesses, GiGi.

Over the years, the Latino community has deeply admired non-Latino icons such as Bryant, President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, Comedian Richard Pryor and Music Legend Prince. However, Kobe’s impact was deeper. Most notably because Kobe respected his Latino fans throughout his career, and once commented that it was the Latino fans that first embraced him when he moved to L.A.

Kobe took time to learn about the culture, learned Spanish and gave to charity, work he did with his Mexican-American wife, Vanessa. Yet, his greatest legacy, was being a loving family man to his wife and four “mejicana” daughters as he once called them.

Among Kobe’s collaborations on commercials and short films with well-known Latino celebrities in sports and film, a few stand out. The result was the embodiment of Kobe’s pop-culture impact which now, will live on as a testament to his persona. Each captures a different aspect of him, from the power of the man and his silly side.

Nike SB Commercial 2009: Paul Rodriguez Jr.

Paul Rodriguez Jr., son of Latino comedic pioneer Paul Rodriguez, known as P-Rod, a street skateboarder, actor, rapper, and recording artist. Rodriguez has won a total of eight medals at the X Games. Kobe does a brief cameo in Rodriguez’s extended Nike commercial, which focuses on Paul Jr. skating around iconic images of Los Angeles.

In the behind the scene footage, Kobe is seen expressing his amazement of Paul Jr.’s skills stating, “Yo, that’s nuts”. When Paul Jr. is later interviewed about his experience of working with Kobe, he wanted to do his best for an athlete he admired.

The Black Mamba Nike 2011 Commercial: Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo

For this unique project, Kobe collaborated with director Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez co-wrote and directed this six-minute short film about Kobe’s Black Mamba persona. Which also included appearances by Danny TrejoBruce Willis, and Kanye West as a part of the cast.

The most memorable part of this short, is the ending. Robert says to Kobe, “Black Mamba doesn’t end. Heroes come and go”. While Kobe smiles and replies, “But, legends are forever”.

In this LA Times interview, Kobe and Robert describe how this project came to be. With Kobe emphasizing he was a fan of Robert’s work for a very long time and felt that he was the only person who could direct it.

The full trailer is available online. But, WARNING The ending of this trailer, might cause distress. A helicopter is shown exploding and on fire. Which is a result of Kobe, who survives unscathed, throwing a bomb at the villains’ escape helicopter, causing it to explode.

Guitar Hero World Tour 2008 commercial: Alex Rodriguez

This short commercial, spoofs the iconic Risky Business scene where Tom Cruise dances at home along to the classic song, Old Time Rock and Roll, with four major athletes. Alex RodriguezTony HawkMichael Phelps and Kobe are dancing, being silly and having fun in this one of many of Guitar Hero reimaginings of this iconic scene. Alex would refer to Kobe as a close friend, whom he highly respected and admired.

Kobe is seen as many things, including a trailblazer, pioneer, hero, icon, the greatest Laker of all time, greatest basketball player of all time and “The King of Los Angeles”. But, we will always see him as a part of La Raza.

All the helicopter occupants:

Kobe Bryant

Gianna ‘GiGi’ Bryant

John Altobelli

Keri Altobelli

Alyssa Altobelli

Sarah Chester

Payton Chester

Christina Mauser

Ara Zobayan

Latin Heat extends our deepest condolences, thoughts, prayers, and love to those who lost their lives or loved ones.

Rest in Peace King Kobe, Princess Gianna, and to the beloved friends who also lost their lives.




The Frida Cinema Blog Post #17

It Came From Salt Lake City: The 10 Best Sundance Horror Films

Hereditary screens Saturday, January 18th


In honor of HorrorBuzz’s special screening of A24’s Hereditary, I’d like to take a look at 10 other Sundance horror favorites that have shaped the boundaries of 21st century horror.


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

A Girl Walks Home Alone

Described as “The First Iranian Vampire Western”, this film takes an unorthodox look (with a hint of David Lynch) at the vampire love story. A young man falls in love with a mysterious woman, who turns out to be a skateboarding vampire that preys on men who disrespect women. Slow building and atmospheric, this movie makes limited use of dialogue and offers subtle social commentary, qualities that add to the strength and eeriness of its visuals.



The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook

Combining strong influences from German Expressionism with the heavy emotions associated with grief, The Babadook creates an unsettling black hole of frenzy. A grieving widowed single mother and her son face an evil deity from a creepy story book, taking over their home and life. The intertwining of the emotional trauma and the supernatural is so tightly wound that it’s difficult to tell what’s real, keeping you on edge.



Under the Shadow (2016)

Under The Shadow

A hauntingly creative film, Under the Shadow mixes traditional Middle Eastern folklore, cultural pressures and the social consequences of modern warfare. In 1988 Iran, a mother and young daughter face the terror of the Iran-Iraq war and evil spirits in their home after a missile crashes through their roof but doesn’t detonate. It’s a unique perspective of a society struggling between its old ways and modern cultural evolution.



What We Do in The Shadows (2014)

What We Do In The Shadows

This quirky horror comedy takes a This is Spinal Tap-style approach to present vampires in a new light. Four vampire flatmates of various ages are filmed by a documentary team, showing their daily struggle as roommates while also trying to adapt to the modern world. A hilarious reinvention of the vampire story, horror fans will be sure to enjoy What We Do in the Shadows.



The Witch (2015)

The Witch

The directorial debut of Robert Eggers, The Witch utilizes imagery, sound, and deep attention to detail to create a distinctly sensory horror experience. In the 1600s, a farmer and his family go to live in the dreary New England woods where they face fear, paranoia, and the evil lurking in the neighboring trees. Divisive and horrifying, it will leave you with chills long after it ends.



Mandy (2018)

Mandy poster

One of the best roles of Nicolas Cage’s recent film career, Mandy is wild even by the standards of Cage’s filmography. When Red’s girlfriend Mandy is kidnapped and killed by a sadistic cult, he goes on a bloody rampage to defeat the cultists and avenge her name. A psychedelic horror film that seamlessly combines a multitude of genres, Mandy is unlike anything else in film today.



American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho poster

Based on the controversial novel of the same name, American Psycho is bitingly critical of the 1980s yuppie culture. Wall Street yuppie Patrick Bateman, is obsessed with everything being perfect, a goal that is hindered by the psychotic murderous outbursts he has from time to time. Surprisingly, it was adapted into a popular and well-reviewed musical that ran in London and Broadway.



Get Out (2017)

Get Out

Comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut in horror, Get Out kicked off a new wave of ethnic-focused horror. Chris, a black man, goes to meet his white girlfriend’s family only to be unknowingly dragged into horrific, racially-motivated exploitations beyond his wildest nightmare. Filled with symbolism and metaphors for racism, Get Out is an insightful commentary on the state of race relations in America today.



Saw (2004)


The first feature film of director James Wan, Saw ignited a long-running franchise and created Jigsaw, one of modern horror’s most popular villains. Jigsaw imprisons two strangers, with the two awakening to find themselves pawns in his twisted game of death. A film known for its disturbingly unique death traps, it has become a part of horror pop culture like its predecessors Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street.



The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project

Without a doubt, the impact of The Blair Witch Project on horror cinema was nothing short of a revolution. Told through found video footage, three students explore the urban legend of the Blair Witch in the woods until they lose their map and become victim to the eeriness around them. Due to the disturbing simplicity of the film, many were convinced that it was a real documentary. One of the most significant films of modern horror, its influence can still be seen in movies over twenty years later.




Latin Heat Entertainment #5

2020 Oscar Noms Find Latinos Lacking In Front of Camera

Written By Justina Bonilla

Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory

The announcement of the 92ed Oscar nominations left many disappointed in the lack of ethnic talent being recognized. For Latinos and Latinas, there were sadly no nominations in front of the screen, other than a nomination for Antonio Banderas in the lead actor category. However, an array of Latino talent were nominated in a variety of categories behind the camera.

It was encouraging to see more Latino talent featured in major films of 2019, which includes: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (America Ferrera); Us (Lupita Nyong’o); Alita Battle Angel (Rosa Salazar); Terminator: Dark Fate (Gabriel LunaNatalia Reyes & Diego Boneta); and The Adams Family (Oscar Isaac). Along with Latino oriented films including, Miss Bala (Gina Rodriguez), Dora and The Lost City of Gold (Isabela Merced (Moner), Michael PenaEva LongoriaEugenio DerbezBenicio del Toro); and Red 11 (Carlos Gallardo, Ulysses Montoya). Nevertheless these few films are just a drop in the bucket of Latino representation among the over 230 American films released in 2019.

When Latino in Hollywood are only 3% of all the lead roles in Hollywood and only 4.5% of the more than 47,000 speaking roles in the 100 top-grossing U.S. films (according to the USC Annenberg Inclusion report released last year) the likelihood of Latinos getting an Oscar nominations is unlikely if the roles are not there. Therefore, when the few Latinos who did land a lead role are overlooked for an Oscar nomination, it is even more glaring and frustrating.

Latino Oscar Nominees:

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:

Klaus – Sergio Pablos and Marisa Roman

Toy Story 4 – Jonas Rivera

Achievement in Cinematography:

The Irishman – Rodrigo Prieto

Achievement in Costume Design Nominees:

Jojo Rabbit – Mayers C. Rubeo

Best Documentary Feature:

The Edge of Democracy – Petra Costa and Tiago Pavan

Best International Feature Film:

Pain and Glory – Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)

Overlooked talent worthy of Oscar nominations:

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Lupita Nyong’o in Us

Best Actress in a supporting Role:

Jennifer Lopez (R)
Ana de Armas

Ana de Armas in Knives Out

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Achievement in Cinematography:

César Charlone – The Two Popes

Checco Varese – It Chapter Two

Achievement in Directing:

Fernando Meirelles – The Two Popes

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:

Mike Elizalde – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

While it’s easy to view the Oscars and its academy as the main culprit for the lack of diverse nominations, its merely a side effect of a bigger issue, lack of opportunity.  The obstacle reinforces the struggle ethnic actors, including major ethnic actors face in being limited in access to roles, typically because of stereotypes put on cultures, ethnicities, race, etc.

As director Luis Valdez pointed out, “Hollywood deals in stereotypes in every movie that it makes”. For example, the high school films feature the stereotypical roles of the nerd, jock, outcast, popular girl and bad boy (The Breakfast Club); while Latino stereotypes in film are usually negative like gangbangers, drug dealer, or overly sexualized.

Adding to the stereotyping problem, which also takes screen representation away from Latinos is the continued practice of “brown facing”. Brown facing is when white actors are given Latino roles written as Latino, often perpetuating stereotypes. Or worse, when a white actor completely washing out the ethnicity of characters based on real-life Latinos, such as Ben Affleck in Argo portraying Mexican-American technical operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, Tony Mendez, or Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity portraying WWII Mexican-American war hero Guy Gabaldon. These roles lead audiences to believe these real life heroes where white, not Latinos.

The Real Tony Mendez and Ben Affleck

Since the beginning of Hollywood, the majority of the stories in film have mainly focused on the White American social experiences and cultural perceptions. As for ethnic talent, they have either faced more obstacles to get an opportunity for a role in Hollywood, or had to establish themselves outside of Hollywood in order to be recognized i.e. Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).

Despite recent ethnic themed and cast films like CocoCrazy Rich Asians, and Black Panther becoming highly successful, major studios are still reluctant to make room for ethnic talent and stories to thrive the same way white talent and stories have and still do.

With the recent announcement of the initiative LA COLLAB backed my Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose mission is to accelerates Latino visibility and authentic representation, Latinos are now being more proactive about seeking parity. it is hoped that this will help increase Latino participation in Hollywood. And begin the dismantling of institutionalized stereotyping within the industry.



Latin Heat Entertainment #4

Behind the Lens: Oscar Nominee Rodrigo Prieto For “The Irishman”

Written By Justina Bonilla

Martin Scorsese’s recent film The Irishman on Netflix has become a hit with critics and audiences alike and with members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences who just gave the film 10 Oscar nominations.


Though filled with the Scorsese trademarks, its most notable feature is the CGI effects used to de-age the main actors, Robert De NiroAl Pacino and Joe Pesci, thanks to its Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto.


Prieto was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He’s known for his style of “strong moody lighting”. As well as experimental and unconventional camera techniques.


Over his career, Prieto has worked with a variety of highly respected American and international directors, including Oliver StoneAng LeePedro AlmodóvarSpike Lee and multiple collaborations with Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.  He has also collaborated with Martin Scorsese in three films, including The Wolf of Wall StreetSilence and now, The Irishman. For his cinematography work with Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) and Scorsese (Silence), Prieto received two Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography.



In The Irishman, Prieto faced the challenge of visual journey within 309 scenes and 295 different sets. Influenced by still photography, he used color science to create distinctive colors for each decade. From the use of Kodachrome emulation to emphasize colors and brightness for the film in the 1950’s, to the end of the film being colorless and bleak through bleach bypass.


For the CGI de-aging of the main actors, Prieto had to use three cameras, a primary camera and two witness cameras to capture each angle. He also used infrared tracking marks on the actors as visual markers for the CGI in post-production. At times, there were as many as three of these “Three Headed Monster” cameras capturing the actors.


Soon after its release on November 27thThe Irishman soon went on to win the Board of Review’s Best Film of 2019.  It was also honored as one of the ten AFI’s Motion Pictures of the Year 2019 list; with 5 Golden Globe nominations. Adding ten (10) Oscar nominations to this impressive list, one of those for Prieto for Best Cinematography.


Photo: Netflix

With all of the critical praise and recognition The Irishman it’s no doubt on its way for Oscar gold. If nominated for Best Cinematography, Prieto could become the 5th Latino to win Best Cinematography. Continuing the strong and growing presence of Latinos behind the camera.


Latino Oscar winners for Best Cinematography up to 2019:

Emmanuel Lubezki (GravityBirdman and The Revenant)

Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi)

Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)


Oscar Nominated Latino cinematographers up to 2019:

Gabriel Figueroa (The Night if the Iguana)

César Charlone (City of God)

John A. Alonzo (Chinatown)

William A. Fraker (Looking for Mr. GoodbarHeaven Can Wait1941WarGames, and Murphy’s Romance)


Honorable Mentions: Other Latino/Hispanic Cinematographers in films of 2019:

Gabriel Beristain (Iron Man 3, Suicide Squad, Blood In Blood Out)

Checco Varese (It Chapter Two and Replicas)

Pablo Díez (The Final Wish)

Patrick Munguia (Miss Bala)

Juan García Gonzalez (Wonder Park)

Robert Rodriguez (Red 11)

Michael Dallatorre (Brightburn)

Javier Aguirresarobe (Dora and the Lost City of Gold)

Julio Macat (After the Wedding)

Pedro Luque (Jacob’s Ladder)

Natasha Braier (Honey Boy)

César Charlone (The Two Popes)