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PBS EXPLORES THE DIVERSE LIVES AND HERITAGE OF LATINO AMERICANS DURING HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH



Arlington, VA - August 28, 2006 - From Bolivian children working thousands of feet underground in a silver mine to the life of artist Frida Kahlo, PBS presents a number of programs about Latino lives and culture during Hispanic Heritage Month, traditionally celebrated from September 15 – October 15.

Broadcast premieres include P.O.V. "Maquilapolis" ("City of Factories"), Tuesday, October 10, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), a program that uncovers the lives of Mexican sweatshop workers fighting the government and their employer for better working conditions. Also new in October are LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and MI MAMBO! (check local listings). LETTER FROM THE OTHER SIDE explores the effects of immigration on four Mexican families, and MI MAMBO! charts the ups and downs of five street kids-turned-music-students for whom Latin music creates a lifeline.

Reflecting the diversity of ethnicities, experiences and regions with a breadth that can't be found anywhere else, these compelling programs examine the rich history, cultural contributions and heritage of Latino Americans during Hispanic Heritage month on PBS.

Review copies of programs available upon request. Artwork and additional information available on PBS PressRoom® (www.pbs.org/pressroom).

BROADCAST PREMIERES:

P.O.V."Maquilapolis" (City of Factories)
Tuesday, October 10, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)
Just over the border in Mexico is an area peppered with maquiladoras: massive sweatshops often owned by the world's largest multinational corporations. Carmen and Lourdes work at maquiladoras in Tijuana, where each day they confront labor violations, environmental devastation and urban chaos. In this hard-hitting documentary, the women reach beyond the daily struggle for survival to organize for change, taking on the Mexican and U.S. governments and a major television manufacturer. An Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. By Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre.

LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE
October 2006 (check local listings)
This documentary follows the lives of four Mexican women and their families, all of them affected by immigration in different ways. Filmed over two years in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, the program interweaves their stories with cross-border video letters between loved ones and strangers. Eugenia Gonzalez' husband left some eight years ago and has never been back, and has stopped calling and sending money. As her sons have left for the U.S. one by one, Eugenia has tried to make a new life for herself and her two daughters by selling cactus products in local markets. Carmela Rico and Laura Masacruz both lost their husbands in the biggest immigrant smuggling case in U.S. history. In May 2003, 19 immigrants suffocated in the back of a truck while being smuggled into the U.S. Maria Yañez is a farmer in rural central Mexico. While she and her husband try to eke out a living from their small parcel of land, a son leaves for the U.S. each year, leaving them to worry that their land will be abandoned without anyone to inherit it, while Maria tries to earn a little extra money by embroidering pillows. Producers: KERA Dallas and ITVS.

MI MAMBO!
October 2006 (check local listings)
Music meets the streets of East Harlem at the Harbor Conservatory, where Latin rhythms create a lifeline for street kids. The program steps inside the conservatory to reveal how it captures and feeds on the musical energies of the street. Accomplished students perform son, mambo and salsa alongside professionals, demonstrating that this music deserves the same respect accorded classical music and jazz. The film follows the ups and downs of five students as they learn to navigate what is, for them, an uneven playing field. Producers: WPBT Miami and ITVS.

ENCORE PRESENTATIONS:

September

INDEPENDENT LENS "The Devil's Miner"
September 2006 (check local listings)
Living in poverty with their mother in the mountains of Bolivia, 14-year-old Basilio and his 12-year-old brother, Bernardino, work long shifts in the Cerro Rico silver mines, braving deadly conditions to earn enough money to attend school. By Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani. Co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting

INDEPENDENT LENS "Foto-Novelas 2: 'Junkyard Saints' and 'Broken Sky'"
September 2006 (check local listings)
Exploring the Latino experience through the prism of dreams, memories and reality, "Foto-Novelas 2" consists of two half-hour dramas: "Broken Sky," a fictionalized account based on the real-life 1948 plane crash that killed 28 Mexicans in Fresno, California, and "Junkyard Saints," a spiritual thriller set in a South Texas automotive graveyard.

INDEPENDENT LENS "Los Angeles Now"
September 2006 (check local listings)
Once an empty, bucolic space, Los Angeles is now a disorienting megalopolis. Once the whitest city in America, Los Angeles is now the most multicultural city in the world. What is the future of this rapidly changing area? "Los Angeles Now" looks beyond "Baywatch" and Blade Runner to create a fresh, candid portrait of America's second-largest city. By Phillip Rodriguez.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FRIDA KAHLO
September 2006 (check local listings)
Never before has the extraordinary life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo been framed in relation to the full spectrum of the historical and cultural influences that created her. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FRIDA KAHLO explores the 20th-century icon who became an international sensation in the worlds of modern art and radical politics. Among those interviewed in the documentary are Carlos Fuentes and Carlos Monsivais. The film is narrated by Rita Moreno; Mexican singer Lila Downs is the voice of Frida Kahlo. Producer: Daylight Films.

P.O.V. "90 Miles"
September 2006 (check local listings)
Probing and thoughtful, "90 Miles" is a personal memoir that offers a rare glimpse into Cuba, a country as mythologized to Americans as the United States is to the rest of the world. Cuban-born Juan Carlos Zaldivar recounts the strange fate that brought him as a teenage communist to exile in Miami in 1980 during the dramatic Mariel boatlift. Zaldivar uses news clips, family photos and home movies to depict the emotional journey of an immigrant father and son struggling to understand the historical and individual forces shaping their relationships and identities in a new country. By Juan Carlos Zaldivar.

VISIONES: LATINO ART AND CULTURE
September 2006 (check local listings)
Latino artists across the United States take center stage in this groundbreaking six-part series. Viewers experience the world of Latino artistic expression as the series journeys throughout the country, capturing rich stories about theater, music, dance, spoken word and the visual arts. From New York City's hip-hop culture to mural painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross section of Latino artists working today. Producers: Galán Inc. and National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC).

Episode One -- The first episode features the Latino Mural Movement of the 1960s, Nuyorican spoken word and editorial cartoonist Lalo Lopez. Created in New York, the Nuyorican spoken word is a form of artistic expression that emerged from the tumultuous 1960s and continues to influence and inspire the American Puerto Rican community. The episode includes interviews with Nuyorican poets Pedro Pietri, Piri Thomas and Caridad (La Bruja).

Episode Two -- Episode two features Miriam Colon and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater Company (PRTT) of New York, Tejana musical artist Selena and the Santero art tradition of New Mexico. New Mexico artisans known as Santeros engage in an art form heavily steeped in history and tradition. Santeros present an interesting juxtaposition of imposed religion and Native-American culture. Santero artists Charlie Carillo and Nick Hernandez, and historians Sabine Ulibarri and Sylvia Rodríguez discuss their views.

Episode Three -- The third episode features Luis Valdez and the legendary Teatro Campesino, a segment on San Antonio, the Texas Day of the Dead Celebration, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe as a Latina icon, experimental border filmmaker Willie Varela and a profile of Chicago's soapbox artist Carlos Cortez.

Episode Four -- This episode begins with New York's Latino hip-hop dance and culture, then travels to Miami and its unique Afro-Cuban sound, and ends in Los Angeles with modern dance pioneer Rudy Perez. The first segment documents the movement, history and culture of hip-hop and looks at the new wave of Latinos who took hip-hop and created a culture that revolutionized the genre. New York hip-hop dancing couple Rokafella and Kwikstep are featured. The second segment highlights the Miami Sound, music that is a blend of traditional Cuban music, explosive jazz and American pop. The featured artist is Willie Chirino. Rudy Perez, whose story is uncovered in the third segment, is a pioneer of the Post-Modern Dance Movement. Though legally blind, he continues to create and inspire as teacher. Perez also choreographs for his Los Angeles-based Modern Dance Company. The episode also highlights El Paso-based experimental filmmaker Willie Varela, whose independent personal films explore themes of urban and border life.

Episode Five -- The fifth episode highlights the Taco Shop Poets of Southern California, early tent theater of the Southwest called Carpas and performance art in San Francisco. Featured performance artists include Guillermo Gomez-Peña, performance troupe ASCO and the performance art pioneers Royal Chicano Airforce. The San Diego-based Taco Shop Poets, Chicano poets who blend the spoken word with lively beats, strive to take their social and political poetry to where people are likely to congregate — the Taco Shops.

Episode Six -- The final episode features the history of salsa music and dance in Philadelphia, the first Mexican-American Prima Ballerina Evelyn Cisneros, Tejana music pioneer Lydia Mendoza and the father of Chicano music and National Medal of Arts recipient, Lalo Guerrero. The salsa segment includes commentary on renowned performers Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. Lydia Mendoza was part of the early emerging recording industry in the United States. At a time when Spanish language music was exclusively imported from Mexico and Latin America, she began recording the original music in Texas. She along with Lalo Guerrero made a mark in American music. Guerrero is best known for his musical parodies.

MAYA AND MIGUEL
(PBS KIDS GO!sm)
Monday-Friday, continuing series (check local listings)
MAYA & MIGUEL presents culture and language learning as fun, relevant and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. Lively and colorful, MAYA & MIGUEL chronicles the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos and features their family, friends and a richly diverse neighborhood. This never-a-dull-moment situation comedy revolves around Maya's well-intended meddling in her family's and friend's lives, ultimately creating new quandaries to fix. While every episode takes humorous twists and turns, the underlying message is the importance of doing good for the family and community, and the philosophy that shared happiness is greater than personal gain. Sprinkled throughout the series are values of friendship, family and a positive, culturally rich portrayal of Latino family, language and cultures. Producer: Scholastic Productions.

POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER
(PBS KIDS GO!sm)
Monday-Thursday, continuing series (check local listings)
POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER is a series spun off from the popular series ARTHUR. Arthur's friend Buster travels with his father, who is an airline pilot ferrying a Latino rock band, Los Viejeros, on tour around the country and the world. Buster takes along his video camera to send home video postcards to Arthur and his friends and family. POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER mixes animation with live-action shooting to present Buster's point of view, what he sees and who he meets through the lens of his video camera, and to show a vivid, multicultural portrait of America and the world. Producer: WGBH Boston.

October

GLOBALTRIBE "Mexico"
Sunday, October 22, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET ; Rpts. Wednesday, October 25, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)
In Mexico, host Amy Eldon introduces viewers to punk rockers who are doing their share to save the environment, activists working to save the winter home of the monarch butterflies and the efforts being made to save the Baha sea turtles.

MAYA AND MIGUEL
(PBS KIDS GO!sm)
Monday-Friday, continuing series (check local listings)
MAYA & MIGUEL presents culture and language learning as fun, relevant and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. Lively and colorful, MAYA & MIGUEL chronicles the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos and features their family, friends and a richly diverse neighborhood. This never-a-dull-moment situation comedy revolves around Maya's well-intended meddling in her family's and friend's lives, ultimately creating new quandaries to fix. While every episode takes humorous twists and turns, the underlying message is the importance of doing good for the family and community, and the philosophy that shared happiness is greater than personal gain. Sprinkled throughout the series are values of friendship, family and a positive, culturally rich portrayal of Latino family, language and cultures. Producer: Scholastic Productions.

POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER
(PBS KIDS GO!sm)
Monday-Thursday, continuing series (check local listings)
POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER is a series spun off from the popular series ARTHUR. Arthur's friend Buster travels with his father, who is an airline pilot ferrying a Latino rock band, Los Viejeros, on tour around the country and the world. Buster takes along his video camera to send home video postcards to Arthur and his friends and family. POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER mixes animation with live-action shooting to present Buster's point of view, what he sees and who he meets through the lens of his video camera, and to show a vivid, multicultural portrait of America and the world. Producer: WGBH Boston.

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