By and large, the Hispanic Influence keeps making notable inroads into the American mainstream. Music? Undoubtedly. Food? For sure. Film and Television? Yes and yes. More and more, we see movies and television shows with a Latin-flavored perspective that is distinctly Latin going beyond the stereotypical, exaggerated, or even erroneous.
Fans of the seventh art will quickly recognize how Hispanic actors are not simply in the background. Major productions — from Oscar worthy films to Summer Blockbusters — showcase Latin talent in major roles. Penelope Cruz in Murder on the Orient Express, Javier Bardem in Skyfall, Zoe Saldaña in Guardians of the Galaxy, or Oscar Isaac/Diego Luna in the new Star Wars films — all display an intricate, acting skill set that prove critical for these films.
The Hispanic filming impact does not stop on screen. Behind the scenes, the Hispanic Influence emerges through a long list of producers, directors, writers, animators, and songwriters (Lin-Manuel Miranda, anyone?) who transmit a different, palpable depth to any project. Moreover, Mexican production house, Pantelion, keeps churning out bankable films shown in theatres across the country with major Latin stars such as the hit Instructions Not Included starring Eugenio Derbez which earned approximately $100 million on a $5 million production budget. At the same time, the leading Hispanic television channel, Telemundo, now has under its operations umbrella, Telemundo Films, focused on producing major budget films with known stars catered to the bilingual, Hispanic-American audience with entries like Lowriders starring Demian Bichir and Eva Longoria.
Which brings me to television proper. Latin-flavored shows now reach far beyond the outer rims of purely Spanish channels. Can anyone deny Sofia Vergara’s magnetic presence on Modern Family? Did you know Jane the Virgin, aside from being an English-speaking show with Latin characters started out as Venezuelan show? How about Jennifer Lopez on Shades of Blue? Again, even when not being purely Latin vehicles, these shows go all in with Latin characters who bring out that undeniable flavor that both captivates and engages. Taking a step further, streaming giant, Netflix, readily acknowledges the power behind Hispanic programming producing successful, Spanish-only shows like Club de Cuervos, Ingobernable, and, of course, Narcos. Despite the immersive and quite unique Latin experience these shows offer, their popularity transcends not only cultural divides but also highly sought-after key demographics including Millenials.
Where the Hispanic Influence goes from here is still up for debate and depends largely on talented as well as wise ushers of the culture to make it an inextricable part of the American mainstream. Yet, for now, the influence on movies and television across different platforms is unmistakeable. So, sit back, relax, y disfruten!