by Cine Acción
Cut, no. 38, June 1993, p. 80
1992 turned out to be a big year of transition for Cine Acción. After twelve years as the Bay Area's center for Latino/Latin American Cinema, the group felt it was time to step back and reassess its role in the media field, both nationally and locally. Two new staff members, a new board of directors, and a group of some seventy emerging local and national makers in the membership have rejuvenated Cine Acción for the 1990s.
Cine Acción was founded on the principle that Latin American cinema must be promoted in the United States and that Latinos in the U.S. must be actively encouraged to produce media. One notion underlying this principle is that Latin America can be better understood through cinematic presentations in this country and similarly Latinos here could utilize media for the greater understanding and advancement of our communities. Cine Acción feels that this principle is as true today as it was in 1980 when the group was founded. In the six Bay Area counties alone the Latino population has reached 817,000. Yet these numbers are not reflected in the professional media industry, where there are still only a handful of Latinos whose work is distributed on a national level. Nor are there many more who are actively competing for public broadcasting production monies. As Cine Acción sought to define its role in the 1990s these realities remained in our minds. Latino independent producers need an organized center to disseminate information, maintain networks with regional and national media institutions, and directly support the production and exhibition of work by and about Latinos. Cine Acción will continue to serve this role in the 1990s.
The newly constituted Cine Acción crew has agreed that our programs and activities will first address the needs of independent local artists. From this commitment spawned our twice-monthly film series, Cineteca. Since Summer of 1991, the Cineteca program has screened feature films considered classics of Latin American cinema alongside works by Cine Acción members or other independent Latino producers in the U.S. Often these independent works enhance the themes of the features with images of the Latino experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most importantly, works by local artists, members and friends of Cine Acción are seen, engaged and encouraged on a regular basis. This twice-monthly program reflects a shift away from programming festivals and large events — such as our "Women of the Americas Film & Video Festival" in 1988 — in favor of consistent and stable exhibition of Latino/Latin American film and video for the local community. The Cineteca will continue in 1993. We encourage Latino producers to submit works for possible screening in our program.
Finally, Cine Acción will continue to make its presence known on a national level. We have decided to enhance our role as a clearinghouse for information regarding independent Latino film and video throughout the country. There are many potential outlets (beyond broadcast) for works by and about Latinos that must be tapped: schools, universities, festivals, and social service agencies. For example, Cine Acción used Latino media in order to assist one social service agency in its prenatal care for Spanish-speaking women. As an institution that has been accessible to regional and national exhibitors for consultation about available titles, Cine Acción has served local and non-local producers.
Many arts organizations, including Cine Acción, have felt the financial pinch as the economy worsened throughout the 1980s. Despite these setbacks, we also know that the appreciation of contemporary Latino/Latin American media is growing — as is the awareness of the need for more Latino producers, writers, and directors. While we aren't in a position to directly fund production projects we remain committed to our founding principle: To promote the production, distribution, and understanding of contemporary Latino/ Latin American film and video. Not only does Cine Acción plan to survive the tough times ahead, we aim to grow and strengthen our ability to serve Latino media artists in the future.
Cine Acción publishes a quarterly newsletter that includes interviews, reviews, and information on exhibition, events, and funding sources. We will also publish Cine Works, a catalogue of members' work in 1993.
1. An earlier version of this statement appeared in Cine Acción News 9.l (March 1992): 1, 8.
For more information regarding Cine Acción programs and services, please contact either Gina Hernandez, Administrative Manager, or Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Program Director, at Cine Acción, 346 9th Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone: 415-553-8135.