About this project
In 2008 and 2012, the Hispanic community constituted 9% and 10%, respectively, of the total votes in Obama's electoral victories. In 2012 alone, more than 11 million votes were cast from within this quickly growing minority.
In 2014, Hispanics will not only influence, they will in some cases decide the outcome of key congressional races that will determine the balance of power in Congress.
As you'll see, the facts behind this film are staggering. The demographic shift happening in America is compelling. Population breakdowns, voter preferences, party affiliations, turnout rates, and on and on. These statistics paint a very specific picture, one that is changing quickly towards Latinos and we will break them down for the audience throughout the film.
But the numbers tell only half the story.
In looking at polls, surveys, census graphs, the most important thing of all gets lost: The Human Factor. And that’s where our story begins.
The drama of this story lies at the intersection of its three main characters: The Voters, The Politicians, and the Media.
Directed by Gianpaolo Pietri, the story follows one voter, one correspondent, and interviews a wide range of prominent politicians as they weave their way through the tapestry of American politics during the 2014 Midterm election cycle defining for themselves who they are, what they believe in, what it means to be Hispanic in this new American paradigm, and what role do they play in the future of their country.
This is a story of people in power, in the media, and in cities and towns across America who want to understand what the future of America will look like and what is their place within it.
The voter will be an 18 year old female, second generation Latina college student who just became eligible to vote between January and April of 2014. She’s an Independent trying to discover what her values are and how they translate into her vote for the men and/or women that will represent her in Congress.
The correspondents will all be critically acclaimed Latino actors or award-winning Hispanic journalists who will travel with the crew around the country interviewing some of the biggest names in American politics. There will be between 8-10 and each will interview candidates for office, Latino elected officials in Congress, prominent public and private sector Latino leaders, activists, and more.
As for the politicians, we will interview some of the most prominent over the last couple of decades as they try hard to attract Latino voters. We will also interview new players, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic, to see how they feel about this new paradigm and what they are doing to adjust their strategy and policy outlook to garner support from this formidable voting bloc (see our interviewee list below for more details).
Goals of the Project
We look to Kickstarter and all of you for help in funding the project in order to protect against the commercialization of the film and ensure a balanced and objective approach to our investigation.
In that spirit, "El Voto Hispano" is a non-partisan effort to create awareness among Americans of the changing landscape in their country's demographics, as well as, and more importantly, create awareness among Hispanic voters of the importance to exercise their right to participate in the electoral process with their vote.
Purpose of the Project - Ask the Right Questions
With 23 million eligible Hispanic voters and 50,000 Hispanic youths turning 18 and becoming voter eligible every month, the implications are vast. Serious questions still loom about what the Hispanic voting bloc means for America's political and cultural future.
More and more, people want to know what the power of the Hispanic vote will lead to, and how Hispanics are already changing the face of America.
Our film is about sparking debate and trying to answer these questions, or at the very least, getting the conversation started.
“It is clear that there is lots of room to grow for this burgeoning political powerhouse in America. The extent of their power in the electoral process is only beginning to be understood but will resonate for many generations to come. ”
–Gianpaolo Pietri, Director and co-Producer for the film.
One thing is for certain, Hispanics will have an increasingly larger seat at the policy decision-making table from here on in. One need only look at the importance given by current legislators to the issue of immigration to understand the profound influence Hispanics will have on America's socio-political future.
But that's just the beginning. Here are some more questions will pose:
- How have population trends changed since 2010 and 2012 among predominantly latino communities? Where are new latino communities growing? How quickly are they growing?
- How defining a role will Hispanics play in deciding the balance of power in Congress?
- How many Hispanics will vote in the 2014 Midterm Elections? How do party affiliation rates compare to the past two election cycles (2006 - 2010)?
- What are the key issues that drive decision making in Hispanic households when it comes time to select candidates to support in local, regional and national elections.
- What was the party affiliation distribution among Latinos? How many were registered Republican? Democrat? Independent?
- What percentage does that represent against the voting totals? Whites? Other minorities?
- Which Hispanic candidates were elected, re-elected, or removed from power?
- What party is better represented by minority candidates?
- How influential was the Hispanic vote in the 2014 Midterm Election? Did they determine outcomes? In which states?
Notable Interviews being scheduled
Hillary Clinton (D) Former Secretary of State
Senator Bob Menendez (D - NJ)
Senator Marco Rubio (R - FL)
Senator Ted Cruz (R - TX)
Representative Nydia Velazquez (D - NY)
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D - IL)
Representative Raul Labrador (R - ID)
Governor Susana Martinez (R - NM)
Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio (D - TX)
Rosario Dawson, Chairwoman VotoLatino,org
Eva Longoria, Longtime political activist
Alex Castellanos, Republican Strategist and CNN Contributor
Alfonso Aguilar, Conservative Radio Host & Media Contributor
María Cristina González Noguera - Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady
Jeb Bush (R - FL) Former Governor of Florida
Antonio Villaraigosa (D - CA) Former Mayor of Los Angeles
George Lopez: Actor, TV Host
Jennifer Lopez: Actress, Singer, Designer
Lily Gil: Hispanic market strategist, entrepreneur, cofounder XL Alliance
Marc Anthony, Actor Singer Songwriter
Carlos Gutierrez, Former Commerce Secretary
Luis Fortuño, Former Governor of Puerto Rico (R - PR)
*Note: Interviews are subject to change at anytime due to scheduling conflicts and unforeseen circumstances.
Call to Action - Why We Need Your Support
Please contribute to our quest to understand what this all means for the future of the United States.
Meet Our Award-winning Film Crew
Director of the short, Salvador, about an exiled Cuban immigrant writer, Gianpaolo is an award-winning designer, filmmaker, author & entrepreneur. He focuses on creating digital media, film, and design experiences that challenge modern thinking on how we should live.
His educational background includes Master’s Studies in Architecture at Washington University of St. Louis and Bachelor studies in History at Tufts University in Boston. He studied film at the New York Film Academy and the Academie de Paris.
Juan Agustin Marquez is a two-time EMMY award winning director. He has directeda diverse range of acclaimed cinematic and online productions. His Emmy winning documentary '100,000' is an in-depth investigation about the overpopulation of dogs in the streets of Puerto Rico. '100,000' has been broadcast in over 17 countries and has won several film festivals.
Juan Agustin Marquez graduated from Ithaca College ('04) and has a bachelor's degree in Cinema and Photography with a concentration in Cinema Production and a minor in business.
Our producer, chief correspondent, and co-writer, Alessandro’s trajectory as an entrepreneur in media, technology and real estate prepared him to create and develop the award-winning new voice in digital news for Hispanics in the US, Yastá Media.
He is a correspondent who has interviewed some of America’s most influential politicians and activists such as Luis Gutierrez, Pedro Pierluisi, Grover Norquist, and Alejandro Garcia Padilla among others.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Tufts University in Boston, MA.
Jean Paul Polo
Jean-Paul Polo is a filmmaker with 10 years of production experience in both feature and documentary films. He has also served in the Puerto Rico Film Commission.
In 2011 he joined the National Geographic Society where he held various key production positions and also camera operated on web based series, TV pilot shows, and documentaries.
He is a faculty member at American University's School of Communication's School of Film where he teaches visual media and is currently heading an endeavor to create the first higher education Center of Latin American Filmmaking in the US.
He has an MA if Film Production from American University and a Juris Doctor from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.
Miguel Balbi has worked in broadcast and digital media for the last 10 years.
In the last several years, Miguel has partnered up with renowned Iron Chef Roberto Treviño to produce and direct several original culinary reality series including “4 minutos con Chef Treviño”,and “Los Chopstix”. He has also produced high-profile interviews with political and business leaders for the Hispanic digital media company, Yastá Media.
Miguel graduated with a Bachelors in Digital Media from Columbia University in New York City.
Walter "Tichin" Santaliz
Fifteen years ago, Walter “Tichin” Santaliz began working as a sound designer in the industry. With experience came the desire to work behind the camera which “ichin” has done as a cinematographer and editor ever since.
“Tichin” is the co-founder of Back Dog Productions along with his wife, María José Delgado. They produced their first feature, “La Espera Desespera” in 2012. It can now be seen in film festivals around the world.
Process - The Documentary
Over the next seven months, starting on May 1, our award-winning film crew will study and document how influential Hispanics are in electing winners in key races of the upcoming congressional Midterms in November of 2014, and how their choices shape the agenda for the upcoming presidential election in 2016.
This will serve as part of a larger film study that will run all the way up to the 2016 presidential elections.
We will travel the country, covering key races in battleground states, interviewing candidates, speaking with experts, listening to everyday voters, profiling Hispanic citizens, holding town hall meetings, and more in order to try and decipher “El Voto Hispano”, the Hispanic vote. All of these activities will be experienced through the lens of our protagonists (The Voter, The Politican, The Media).
Though filming will begin immediately upon the successful completion of the campaign, the bulk of the Production (actual filming) stage of the project will take place between the months of June and November, the most important day being on November 6, the day of the mid term election. On November 6 we will have several teams of videographers and journalists spread out across the country following our characters and covering the results of key races that may impact the "power grid" in Washington.
Post Production will commence in November, immediately following the conclusion of filming (shortly after November 6th). The post production process will last around six months with the film ready for release in December of 2015, just in time for the 2016 national elections. This also gives us ample opportunities to capture the post election repercussions of what happens on Election Day.
We will look to license the film to a major TV network, cable news channel or web channel such as CNN, Netflix, Hulu, History Channel, etc. for worldwide distribution through TV or online.
“This film is a historic project because it is dealing with the most significant issue in American electoral politics in the 21st century, and it will be released at a crucial moment prior to the presidential race of 2016. The primary mission of this project is meant to create awareness not only amongst the political class in Washington and around the country that will be vying for the support of Hispanics but, even more importantly, it is meant to increase awareness among Latino voters about the significance of exercising their right to vote”
–Alessandro Pietri, Writer and co-Producer
Call to Action - Why We Need Your Support
With your support and our award-winning production team, we can bring a better, more comprehensive understanding to the American people about how their country is evolving, expanding, and becoming an ever more diverse and inclusive union of people with varying cultures and ethnicities.
Rewards for your support
Your contributions to this project, this mission, means the world to us. To give thanks, we've come up with some wonderful rewards and gifts for contributors. You can see what we're offering in full detail on the sidebar to the right. They include:
Call to Action - Why We Need Your Support
So what will your money help us do? Simply put it will allow us to purchase the equipment we need and to fulfill our grueling three month travel schedule in order to accommodate our interviews, attend rallies and town halls, speak to voters directly, and answer the fundamental questions about Hispanic participation in the Midterms.
Our producers will not be taking a salary from the film, but other specialized crew members require compensation for their hard work. Trust me. This is our passion. We'd do it all for free if we could, but we can't do it without your contribution.
What your money will pay for:
- Camera and sound equipment - 15% of budget
- Flights, Accommodations & Transport expenses for crew and equipment - 40% of budget
- Professional fees for the Crew, Composer, Editor, etc. - 35% of budget
- Kickstarter Rewards - 10% of total budget
Our target figure is $158,000 and we have just over a month.
As per Kickstarter rules, if we don't reach our $158,000 target, we get nothing, but then again, that's not even an option. Let's do this, people!
Hispanics deserve to have their story told. And America needs to hear their story. It is a story that will shape the lives of millions for generations to come.
If you are not able to donate, there are plenty of other important ways you can help. Spread the word! And send this link to anyone you can think of who would like to contribute to a project like ours. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
*Cover Photo by Lionel Samain (lionelsamain.com)
Risks and challenges
This project has 3 big challenges. They are:
One: Securing the interviews with very influential, hence very busy, political figures, candidates, journalists, celebrities, and influential Hispanics who can contribute their thoughts and expertise to the discussion.
Solution: We are already working on scheduling these interviews and in many cases have obtained preliminary commitments. In some cases, the interview request has been already discussed and accepted. Our team is diligently working on scheduling all the events that will take place during filming. Though some of the shooting will happen spontaneously and seemingly last minute. We are pooling all our resources to secure as much of the desired footage beforehand. We started weeks ago.
Challenge Two: Organizing and financing the travel and expenses of our investigative team that will require travel to many states across the country. Schedules will change, opportunities will pop up at the last minute, events will be cancelled, and things will change rapidly. We need to be ready to travel long distances at a moment's notice.
Solution: This is what the bulk of the Kickstarter contributions will be used for. Even so, our team will have to be flexible and move from place to place using any and all means necessary inlcuding planes, trains, buses, and automobiles. That is why we have kept the production equipment to a minimum using state of the art DSLRs to get the quality but maintain the mobility and flexibility we need to criss-cross the country. Flexibility is also why we are insisting on a lean production team of 4-5 people. In some cases these teams can be split in to two teams of 2-3 people, should the need arise, and still operate at full capacity. Each member is skilled in working in front of or behind the camera.
Challenge Three: Finding national and international distributors and getting attention from top film festivals and TV networks around the world.
These are things our team have already begun investigating and working on. We will spend the first six months of 2014, before filming begins, developing the strategy for exposure and distribution of the film once it is completed. This includes submission into some of the world's top festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, New York, San Juan, etc.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
How does this project differ from the countless in-depth articles already written about the growing clout of the Latino community?
The most important study done on this subject to date are the Pew Hispanic Center's multiple reports on the last four elections ('06, '08, '10, '12). There have been many articles written but their focus is usually in the wrong place. The reporting on this issue is usually a numbers game where stats are analyzed, broken down, manipulated, reinterpreted ad nauseum trying to make demographic sense of the cultural shift happening in America.
The numbers are important. Very important. But they only tell half the story. In looking at the polls, surveys, census graphs, focus groups, etc. etc. ... the most important thing of all gets lost: The Human Factor. And that’s where our story begins.The drama of this story, its narrative, lies at the intersection of its three main characters: The Voter, The Politician, and the Media. We will examine the nuanced relationship between those who chose to lead, those who decide who will lead, and those who inform the public about the process.
This story has never been told on film, through characters, real people, breathing life into the numbers, the stats... and that's what makes it dynamic and different.
Our ultimate goal is two-fold:
1. To educate the political class (politicians and candidates for office) about the nuances of the Hispanic voter. What motivates them to turn out to vote. What issues are important to them (not necessarily immigration reform)? How can they improve their outreach and communication?
2. Most importantly, this film speaks to Latino voters, those who voted, but even more importantly, those who are eligible to vote who chose NOT to vote. This film will show just how much power they are leaving on the table. The goal is to create awareness among Hispanics that their vote matters, their vote is influential, and with it they have the power to pick who wins and who loses, thereby determining the future of how we are governed... not just Hispanics, but Americans in general.
This second point, about Hispanics harnessing the full breadth of their electoral power, has the potential to alter the culture of America. It represents a true paradigm shift in what is now the most powerful nation on Earth. This is huge. This is a gamechanger. This is why we are doing this.
The film will be released in the Fall of 2015 so as to increase its visibility as the race for the 2016 Presidential election heats up. The idea is for the film to be a part of the conversation during the 2016 primary season.
There are a couple of women who have joined the team who we will be announcing shortly. We are also actively searching for women journalists to join the investigative team and conduct interviews with some of the politicians. More to come on these fronts very shortly. Stay tuned to the updates?
We are filming in multiple locations across the country. Our emphasis will be on locations where key Senate and House races are taking place. Therefore, we will travel mostly to swing states such as Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.
We will also travel to states with very large Hispanic communities to speak to voters and politicians alike about the process of becoming informed on the issues prior to voting. These include Texas, California, and New York.
A significant portion of the filming will take place in the DC area, on Capitol Hill, and the State of Virginia.
Some filming will be done on the island of Puerto Rico.
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