As demand for more diverse representation in the entertainment industry grows, it seems like Hollywood studios and streaming platforms are taking note and putting time and money into making sure part of their focus is on creating diverse films and TV series.
The latest player to announce a plan to generate more culturally relevant programming is HBO Max. Through its Pa’lante! Promise initiative, HBO Max is partnering with OneFifty, WarnerMedia’s artistic studio, to put Latine people in front of and behind the camera to produce new projects for the streaming giant.
“Visibility and opportunity is everything,” Jessica Vargas, director of multicultural marketing at HBO Max and HBO, told Deadline. “The Pa’lante! Promise and WarnerMedia OneFifty is a great example of a network creating a platform where Latin creatives and their work are supported.”
One of those creatives who HBO Max has brought on board to start developing a TV series next year is Maria Brasero. The project she will start working on as part of the Pa’lante! Promise initiative is an episodic bilingual dramedy called L.A.tinas about four Los Angeles-based women who are pursuing the American Dream while embracing their culture.
When chosen for the program, Brasero said she was excited to join a collaboration that would “elevate the stories of Latinos” and move away from the stereotypes that are normally thought of when discussing our narratives.
“Latino stories tend to check certain boxes like Narcos,” Brasero told Remezcla during a recent interview. “But we want our stories to humanize Latinos. My characters in [L.A.tinas] don’t fit those characteristics. They’re not narcos. They’re not maids. I know how hard it is to get these kinds of stories read by the people who can green-light projects. The Pa’lante! Promise is helping us break through those barriers.”
Brasero’s L.A.tinas is one of the four projects going into pre-development next year. The others are the dark comedy short film The Son Who Can’t Play Trumpet by Isaac Garza, the dramedy feature A Love Supreme by Juan Caceres Carreño, and the sci-fi feature Harvest by Adelina Anthony.
“Hopefully by the end of 2022, they will like the pilot we produce, and it will become a series,” Brasero said. “There’s still a lot of work to do. We’re just getting started.”
Other projects that are completed and already on the HBO Max schedule for this year and next include the feature documentary A La Calle about Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela and the feature drama Son of Monarchs about a Mexican biologist who returns to his home in the forests of Michoacán after his grandmother’s death.
“The Pa’lante Promise is really going to put Latino creators out there,” Brasero said. “The fact that we have a platform like HBO Max backing us up is going to help us enormously. They’re making the promise of diversity and authenticity. They’re promising that we’re going to be heard.”