Posted by PBS Publicity on

ARLINGTON, VA — August 19, 2008 — Hispanic Heritage Month 2008 (September 15-October 15) is coming up, and PBS is celebrating with a great lineup of programs that entertain while examining the history, heritage and cultural contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

All month, PBS explores the rich and varied styles of Latin music. From Texican (LOS LONELY BOYS COTTONFIELDS AND CROSSROADS) to Afro-Cuban pop (INDEPENDENT LENS “La Lupe: Queen of Latin Soul”) to an all-female mariachi band (INDEPENDENT LENS “Compa�eras”) to traditional Mexican corrido (P.O.V. “Al Otro Lado [To The Other Side]”), the creative talents of diverse musicians are on display.

PBS will also re-broadcast several of its recent nominees for Imagen Awards, created to honor excellence in Latino entertainment, including BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN, AMERICAN MASTERS “Orozco: Man of Fire” and P.O.V. “Made in L.A.”

And, a special presentation in October, LATINOS ’08, examines the election through the prism of ethnic politics.

PBS’ children’s content continues to serve a diverse audience with series that encourage healthy exploration of cultural differences while providing opportunities to learn and grow as individuals.

On the new season of SESAME STREET, kids can follow Murray, the street’s newest friendly resident monster, as he deciphers clues from his little lamb friend, Ovejita. Murray faces a challenge, however: all of Ovejita’s clues are in Spanish! Murray uses visual hints to stay hot on Ovejita’s trail.

On the PBS KIDS preschool destination, Miss Rosa invites children to discover new cultures and build language skills through Spanish language content, while PBS KIDS series BETWEEN THE LIONS, DRAGON TALES and JAY JAY THE JET PLANE insert Spanish words into their curricula to help English speakers learn beginning Spanish. On PBS KIDS GO!, MAYA & MIGUEL (also a nominee for the Imagen Awards), continues to promote the value of cultural diversity while supporting school-age English language learners by combining English and Spanish language in stories about Maya, Miguel, their family members and their friends.

Press Preview Copies of Programs Available Upon Request

New Programming

Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET
After a childhood of playing cantinas and honky tonks from Texas to Tennessee, Los Lonely Boys have rocked their way to the top of the American music industry, determined to fulfill their father’s long-held dream. This documentary feature film tells the story of three Mexican-American brothers from San Angelo, Texas, who create a unique sound that melds the core of the early San Angelo music scene of the 1950s and 60s with a signature style they call “Texican.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
LATINOS ’08 examines the 2008 election through the prism of ethnic politics. Latinos are less cohesive than other voting blocs, and they do not fit the black/white racial binary that has long shaped American politics. This documentary examines how today’s candidates and advocacy groups are trying to mobilize and attract this unpredictable group of voters. Will McCain manage to win back Latino defectors, in light of his party’s harsh rhetoric on immigration? Will Obama succeed in securing the votes of the many Latinos who supported Hillary Clinton during the primaries? Another subject of inquiry will be the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of Latino politicians in advancing Latino interests and promoting Latino unity. As these politicians enter the upper echelons of American politics, they face inevitable pressure to abandon their ethnic identity and constituencies. Will the Latino electorate coalesce nonetheless, united around the immigration issue and hemispheric foreign policy considerations? Or will ethnic considerations be trumped by class, education and other factors? In investigating such questions, LATINOS ’08 sheds light on an important part of America’s future. In HD where available.

P.O.V. “Calavera Highway”
Tuesday, September 18, 2008, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
When brothers Armando and Carlos Pena set off to carry their mother’s ashes to south Texas, their road trip turns into a quest for answers about a strangely veiled past. As they reunite with five other brothers, the two men try to piece together their family’s shattered history. Why was their mother cast out by her family? What happened to their father, who disappeared during the notorious 1954 U.S. deportation program Operation Wetback? “Calavera Highway” is a sweeping story of seven Mexican-American men grappling with the meaning of masculinity, fatherhood and a legacy of rootless beginnings.

Encore Programming

Check local listings
Latinos, this nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group, are big business. This smart, fast-paced program examines how efforts to profit from this group are shaping the contemporary Latino identity. The documentary, whose focal point is George Lopez, an icon and advocate for Latinos’ move into the mainstream, offers rare behind-the-scenes access to Lopez’ life and world as he shares his struggles to represent Latinos in a manner true to their realities and aspirations. As Cosby did for African Americans decades earlier, Lopez, through his comedy, aspires to normalize the image of Latinos in a way that delights and entertains. BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN contrasts Lopez’ endeavors with the efforts of marketers intent on spinning Latinos as a wholly distinct subculture. The show also features conversations with members of the much-coveted Latino youth market, whose tastes and interests are far more eclectic than one would think. In HD where available.

Check local listings
JUSTICE FOR MY PEOPLE tells the story of Dr. Hector P. Garcia — Mexican Revolution refugee, medical doctor to the barrios, decorated war veteran, civil rights activist and presidential confidante — as he fought to bring attention to the Mexican-American civil rights movement. Returning to Texas after World War II with six battle stars, Garcia found that while Mexican-American veterans had been changed by the war, prejudiced America had not. His people faced public school segregation, squalid living conditions in labor camps and second-class citizenship. In 1948, Dr. Garcia founded the American GI Forum, empowering Mexican Americans to fight numerous legal and political battles against discrimination.

AMERICAN MASTERS “Orozco: Man of Fire”
Check local listings
Often thought of as the other Mexican muralist, beside his more flamboyant compatriot Diego Rivera, Orozco was a leader of the Mexican Renaissance. His bold, dynamic frescoes had a profound impact on American painters and inspired Franklin D. Roosevelt to put artists to work during the Great Depression. His most famous U.S. murals — The Table of Universal Brotherhood, The Epic of American Civilization and Prometheus — still convey their power in New York, New Hampshire and California. An iconoclastic personality, Orozco survived the loss of his left hand and destruction of more than half his early work by border agents. His travels back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border evoke the larger Mexican migrant-immigrant experience and have provocative parallels to present times. In HD where available.

AMERICAN MASTERS “Rivera in America”
Check local listings
Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the 20th century, Diego Rivera continues to have a profound effect on the international art world. As a young man, he encountered the works of Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir and Matisse in Paris. But it was the Renaissance frescoes in Italy that fueled his vision of a new form of painting that could reach and celebrate the working man. He returned to Mexico and, ultimately, propelled the fusion of fresco with modern art and architecture. “An artist is above all a human being,” he wrote. “If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels … if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.” Rivera’s personal story is equally dramatic, from his stormy love affair with fellow painter Frieda Kahlo to his controversial commissions for Henry Ford and the Rockefellers in the United States.

INDEPENDENT LENS “La Lupe: Queen of Latin Soul”
Check local listings
Legendary Afro-Cuban pop singer Lupe Victoria Yoli was crowned “The Queen of Latin Soul” by New York’s Latin music scene in the 1960s. Renowned for her emotional performances, La Lupe remains the quintessential bad girl, dying tragically, virtually unknown in 1992. Filmed in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the U.S., “La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul” tells her story through interviews and rare archival footage from the groundbreaking musical era. Produced in assocation with ITVS and LPB. By Ela Troyano.

Check local listings
Tackling a male-dominated musical tradition, “Companeras” reveals the intense, passionate world of female mariachi. By Elizabeth Massie and Matthew Buzzell.

Check local listings
This film tells the story of an indigent and under-educated Mexican American, sent to prison in 1961, and his extraordinary legal battle against the violence and abuse of prisoners’ rights in the Texas prison system. Co-production of ITVS in association with Latino Public Broadcasting. By Susanne Mason.

P.O.V. “Made in L.A.”
Check local listings
Los Angeles is now the country’s center for apparel manufacturing, but many of its factories bear an eerie resemblance to New York’s early 20th-century sweatshops. “Made in L.A.” follows the remarkable journey of three Latina immigrants working in L.A.’s garment factories and their struggle for self-empowerment as they wage a three-year battle to bring a major clothing retailer to the negotiating table. This intimate film offers a rare and poignant glimpse into the “other” California, where immigrants in many industries toil long hours for sub-minimum wages, fighting for an opportunity in a new country. A co-production with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). A Diverse Voices Project co-production. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting. By Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar.

P.O.V. “Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side)”
Check local listings
The proud Mexican tradition of corrido music — captured in the performances of Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte and the late Chalino Sanchez — provides both heartbeat and backbone to this rich examination of songs, drugs and dreams along the U.S./Mexico border. “Al Otro Lado” follows Magdiel, an aspiring corrido composer from the drug capital of Mexico, who faces two difficult choices to better his life: to traffic in drugs or to cross the border illegally into the United States. Interspersing performance footage by corrido superstars with the day-to-day struggles of Magdiel as he embarks on an uncertain journey, filmmaker Natalia Almada paints an illuminating portrait of the narcotics underworld, illegal immigration and the corrido music that chronicles it all. An Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. By Natalia Almada

About PBS
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each week, PBS reaches more than 65 million people and invites them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.


Cara White, 843-881-1480; cara.white@mac.com
Jake Landis, PBS KIDS, 703-739-5362; jwlandis@pbs.org