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Tanya Hernandez on Racial Subordination in Latin America, a NYIHA MEDIA exclusive, 5/19/15

There are approximately 150 million people of African descent in Latin America, representing about 1/3 of the total population.  Yet, these are considered conservative demographic figures given the histories of under-counting the number of persons of African descent on Latin American national censuses and often completely omitting a racial/ethnic origin census question. At the same time, persons of African descent make up more than 40 percent of the poor in Latin America and have been consistently marginalized and denigrated as undesirable elements of the society since the abolition of slavery across the Americas.  Yet, the view that “racism does not exist” is pervasive in Latin America despite the advent of social justice movements and social science researchers demonstrating the contrary.  

Courtesy of Author

The denial of racism is rooted in the notion that the racial mixture (mestizaje/mestiçagem) in a population is emblematic of racial harmony and insulated from racial discord and inequality. Latin Americans still very much adhere to the notion that racial mixture and the absence of Jim Crow racial segregation are such a marked contrast to the United States racial history that the region views itself as what the book terms “racially innocent.”  In part, the absence of a legal critique of the Latin American comparisons to the Jim Crow United States has enabled the Latin American “racial innocence” stance to remain. This book seeks to fill in that gap in the literature and provide the legal critique

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Dr. Steeve Coupeau goes one on one with Karim Ouaret, Director of Lapsus, 5/23/15

Steeve: What inspired you to focus on this story? 

Karim: I was walking in the street in Paris with my wife Jalane Ouaret (producer with me of Lapsus),  looking for an original location to shoot my first short… We past a laundry and I told to my wife. There are not a lot of movies shooting in a laundry… Then she told me : Imagine a woman who come into a laundry covered by blood… I told her it was a great  beginning for a short film… And then Lapsus was ;)

Courtesy of Filmmaker

Steeve: Is this your first film? Are there any directors who shaped your vision for this film?

Karim: Yes Lapsus is my first film but I started directing Music videos and Commercials.I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Alex Proyas, Alfred Hitchcock, Alejandro Amenabar, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick.

Steeve: Did you meet any particular challenge when conducting research for the film?

Karim: The big Challenge was to find my main location : a laundry ! Laundromats in France are too small, too white, too antiseptic… So I found an empty space and we built a real laundry with my talented Production Designer : Marc Sausset. 

Dr. Steeve Coupeau goes one on one with George Pogatsia, Director of Family on Board, 5/5/15

Family on Board opened the 2015 Edition of the New York City International Film Festival. Representing NYIHA MEDIA, Dr. Steeve Coupeau spoke to George Pogatsia.

Steeve: What inspired you to focus on this story?

George: I read a story a while back about a man in Texas who called 911 about 2 guys burglarizing his neighbor's home. He ended up shooting and killing both. He never received any jail time. It made me think, what if this happened in New York City? Also, I was living in downtown Manhattan on 9/11. The towers falling actually woke me from bed and I had a friend who was scheduled to report to prison downtown on 9/11 ... I threw those stories into a pot, I sprinkled in my imagination and mixed it up. I came out with Family on Board.

Courtesy of Filmmaker

Steeve: Is this your first film? Are there any directors who shaped your vision for this film?

George: It's actually my second film. I made an experimental short comedy in 2002, The Pizza Tapes. I'm a native New Yorker so, you could imagine the answers to the directors who helped shape my vision, Scorsese, Woody Allen, Ed Burns all have influenced me in telling this New York story. But, I need to give a lot of credit to Gus Makris, I worked with him twice as an actor on Law and Order. Working with him taught me how to deal with actors as a director in order to get the best performance from them.