Film

Filmmakers Focus Short Projects on Latinx Essential Workers for New Docuseries

Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is recognizing and honoring the Latinx people on the frontlines of the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic in a new film docuseries that debuts November 16.

Latinos Are Essential is a new series of short films that will stream on all PBS platforms, including PBS.org, the PBS Video App and on PBS Voices, the YouTube channel for PBS.

The films focus on the Latinx “essential workers” who have kept the United States going since the pandemic began affecting everyone’s life back in March. This includes health care providers, teachers, food service workers, domestic workers, retail clerks and others.

Not only are Latinx people doing this hard work, but they are also doing it knowing that COVID-19 can affect them the most. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latinos have made up nearly a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. Also, hospitalization rates for Latinos are 4.6 times the rate for whites.

In a statement, Sandie Viquez Pedlow, LPB executive director, said the short films provide a glimpse into the “lives of people often unseen but deserving of recognition and gratitude.”
“While this year has been devastating, it has also given us a chance to reflect on all the work that our community does to keep Americans safe, fed and comfortable,” Pedlow said. “We wanted to honor these extraordinary people while also providing emerging Latinx filmmakers with work, empowering them to tell the stories of essential workers in their communities.”

Some of the films included in the series are: Astrid, a short doc about a construction and domestic worker from Colombia who finds temporary work cleaning subway cars in New York City; Growing in the Shadows, a short doc about a nurse and DACA recipient working with COVID-19 patients; and Todos Unidos y Yo, a short doc about a Mexican immigrant who starts a program that delivers meals and groceries to people in need.

“[PBS’s] mission is to document our shared human journey,” Brandon Arolfo, head of PBS Digital Studios, said in a statement. “We are proud to use our platform to shine a spotlight on the essential workers who are at the heart of this country.”