SAG-AFTRA Summer 2012

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" For all our members, each of our EEO Committee events is an affirmation and acknowledgement of our union's strong stand for diversity." and multilayered." Latino culture has developed a larger and stronger influence in our nation's media, advertising and politics. According to the 2010 census, Latinos represent 16.3 percent of the population of the United States. With more than 50.5 million people in the U.S. identifying themselves as Latino, it is currently the country's largest ethnic or race minority. In addition, the U.S. Latino population grew 43 percent between April 2000 and April 2010, making Latinos the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. Weitz noted his feeling of connectedness to the Latino community thanks in part to the heritage of his famous grandmother — Mexican actress Lupita Tovar. A director best known for The Golden Compass, Twilight: New Moon and About a Boy, Weitz also directed A Better Life, a feature film focused on the struggles of a Latino father in East L.A. as he tries to raise his son in a threatening neighborhood. Weitz recently collaborated with journalist Jose Antonio Vargas on Is This Alabama?, a series of short documentaries investigating the effects of immigration check out this video in that they think that they are going to get the Latino audience no matter what, so they put forward less effort than they might in representing Latinos in a nonstereotypical way," Weitz explained. "The Latino community buys more tickets per capita than any group in this country. And they sometimes don't go out and support films that are directed right toward them. How do we address that situation? How do we make people more aware about films that are about their lives?" Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning actor Jimmy Smits highlighted what the panel agreed on most: Performers must focus on their craſt, hone their skills and nurture their talents. Being the best choice for the role — whether casting calls for a Latino or not — is what is most important for success and promotion of Latinos in media. That, and keeping the joy in the work. "Because of our population numbers in this country — we're legislation in the Southern state. He noted some of the challenges facing Latinos in today's media. "There's apathy oſten on the part of large media corporations preparation and having versatility in terms of being an actor — that's at the forefront," Smits explained. "You have to find ways to keep that specialness about you." at a place that is a little bit different. I think that we're in a very right time to really take advantage of it," Smits said. "[It's important to know] how to best prepare and have a toolbox at the ready, so you can be as versatile as possible to get those gigs." "There are challenges that we have to overcome. But | Summer 2012 | SAG-AFTRA 27

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