WonderCon 2022 Recap:
Creatives From Julie And The Phantoms, Gentefied, Selena: The Series, Instructions Not
Anaheim, CA, April 2, 2022 – For this year’s WonderCon in Anaheim, excited fans assembled for an in-person conversation with Hollywood’s highly sought-after producers, showrunners, writers, assistant directors, costume designers, and composers, to discuss Latinx representation in entertainment and their work on projects like “Julie and the Phantoms,” “Gentefied,” “Selena: The Series,” “Instructions Not Included,” and more at Impact24 PR’s Nuestras Historias: Latinx Películas y Televisión panel.
The panel was moderated by writer and director Christopher Oroza-Nostas, and featured George Salinas (Executive Producer/ CEO of Bridge Works Entertainment, “Julie and the Phantoms”), Laura Cristina Ortiz (Costume Designer, “Synchronic”), Sandro Morales-Santoro (Composer, “Marvel: The Secret History of VENOM”, “Plástico”), Alicia Zaragoza (Directors Guild Assistant Director Member, “Instructions Not Included”), Francisco Cabrera-Feo (Writer, “Gentefied”), and Moisés Zamora (Writer/ Creator/ Co-Showrunner, “Selena: The Series”).
The panelists were welcomed with a loud applause from the audience, many of whom were excited to see the representation of the Latinx community in entertainment on display at the panel.
“I am joyful to see this panel of Latinos here. I’ve been in this industry a long time and this is the first time I’ve been with an all-Latino panel,” shared executive producer and CEO of Bridge Works Entertainment George Salinas. “My main focus is to become one of the leading intellectual property producers. The biggest thing here is opportunity and seeing all the wonderful creators here bring me a lot of hope as we continue to advance and create space for the talent in the Latino community,”
“As a Latinx queer costume designer, I feel a responsibility to fill that hole that’s missing,” continued costume designer Laura Cristina Ortiz. “Costume design is like live action character design. When you’re creating them, there’s a responsibility to both the fun fashion impact and the social impact. It’s very exciting to be a part of the generation that’s making content and trying to find our comfort and solace in the media. There are now a plethora of stories we can relate to.”
Moderator Christopher Oroza-Nostas presented the staggering statistics from the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report 2022 to drive home the importance of supporting and increasing opportunities for Latinx entertainment professionals. Among other statistics, he shared that Latinx creatives make up only 7.1% of film leads, 7.7% of all film roles, 7.1% of film directors, and 5.6% of writers.
Sandro Morales-Santoro shared his own personal experience as a composer and how he’s hopeful for the future. “It’s been a challenge as a latino composer. People assume because you’re from a specific place that you can only do a specific kind of music, but I studied classical European music and jazz. Challenging such assumptions is incredibly important. Ten years ago, Gustavo Santaolalla won back to back Oscars for projects not focused on our culture. It made me hopeful to see that anybody can come here and achieve something. I’m excited to continue the work and keep opening doors for composers like myself.”
On the topic of challenging the status quo, assistant director Alicia Zaragoza spoke about her work on “Instructions Not Included” and how it shattered box office records both in the U.S. and in Mexico. “I’m glad we’re now being represented after 20 years. Working with both the U.S. and Mexico teams for this project, I realized that there was a need to recognize our differences and come together to show that we are here and we’re here to stay.”
The panelists continued to expand on the conversation by touching on the concept of intersectionality.
Writer Francisco Cabrera-Feo explains why intersectionality is such an important aspect of the Gentefied writing room. “You can be bilingual, you can be an immigrant, and you can be in the writers room. You can bring those intersections in the room and they bring an authenticity you couldn’t bring before.”
“We are here today to tell you that it’s possible,” added writer/creator Moisés Zamora. “Hollywood has not been very friendly to Latinos in the past so my goal is to make space. When you achieve a dream, what else do you do? You pass it on. There’s so much more space for all of us.”
Moderator Christopher Oroza-Nostas closed out the panel with a hopeful note about what they hope to leave the next generation of Latinx creatives and storytelling. “It is a testament to show that we are here but also to show us represented on screen. I hope you get a taste of the culture and life of having Latinx creatives at this panel today and continue to support the projects by the many amazing talents out there.”
The room erupted in applause, as a feeling of community and hope for the future permeated the audience, as they headed out to enjoy the rest of their days at WonderCon.