Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

September 16, 2013

CEPEDA: 'Latino Americans' an uninspiring documentary

(Continued)

Sure, I’m the daughter of two low-income immigrants who faced stresses and slights on their way to attaining the American dream. But the country I grew up in did not hate my parents or me, didn’t think less of me or deny me anything because of my skin color or last name. And it never made me feel anything but 100 percent American, so I’ll grant you that I’m the odd one out here.

I took my concerns to the producers of “Latino Americans.”

“We worked very hard to write a straight, factual script with a high level of impartiality and we worked very, very hard for weeks on certain lines to make sure there was a balance there,” said Jeff Bieber, vice president of news and public affairs programming at PBS. “History is interpretive, and when somebody watches a film their feelings aren’t wrong, but you must give credit to the segments that are triumphant and positive.”

Adriana Bosch, the documentary’s Cuban-born producer, offered me some very thoughtful, honest reflections of her own internal conflicts about how to portray the Latino experience.

Bosch described the filmmakers’ meticulous efforts at balancing complexities and offering accurate historical perspective. She reported that they actually feared their end product could be offensive for sounding too many triumphant notes.

“But I see what you’re referring to,” Bosch told me. “Maybe the odds are exaggerated. Sometimes when you’re making a documentary things get over-dramatized because that’s nature of the beast, you maybe overplay the adversary. But it was never intentional.” She also pointed out that due to time restraints, the film is light on stories about successful second- and third-generation Latinos, which may have added to the film’s nearly singular focus on struggle.

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