ALBANY, NY (09/14/2016)(readMedia)-- Joseph Tovares, Latino pioneer in American public television, will speak following a screening of his 2002 TV documentary, ZOOT SUIT RIOTS, an examination of race riots in 1940s Los Angeles, on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue on the University at Albany downtown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice's Crime, Justice and Public Memory Film Series.
A screening of the documentary film, ZOOT SUIT RIOTS (2002), about anti-Mexican race riots that shook Los Angeles during World War II - a defining event of modern U. S. Latino history - will be followed by commentary and Q&A with filmmaker Joseph Tovares. Tovares is a Latino pioneer in American public television, Chief Content Officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and former series editor of American Experience, "TV's Most-Watched History Series."
ZOOT SUIT RIOTS
Written, directed and produced by Joseph Tovares (United States, 2002, 60 minutes, b/w and color)
ZOOT SUIT RIOTS, an episode of American Experience series, is a powerful film that examines a landmark event in U. S. Latino history, the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. The film explores the complicated racial tensions and the changing social and political landscape that led to the explosion on LA's streets. For ten straight nights, American sailors armed with makeshift weapons cruised Mexican American neighborhoods in search of "zoot-suiters" – hip, young Mexican teens dressed in baggy pants and long-tailed coats. The sailors dragged kids – some as young as twelve – out of movie theaters and diners, tearing the suits off their bodies, beating them, and burning the suits in bonfires.
The film describes changes in the city's population – the influx of new immigrants, the booming war-time economy, the huge number of servicemen on their way to the Pacific theater, and a new generation of Mexican Americans who were eager to assert themselves and take pride in their own identities. Filmed in an evocative film noir style, with a soundtrack of contemporary jazz, the documentary is narrated by Héctor Elizondo, star of Chicago Hope, Monk, and Last Man Standing.
Joseph Tovares, Emmy-winning filmmaker and long-time leader in American public television, became Chief Content Officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in February 2016. In his new role, Tovares is responsible for overseeing content creation for public broadcasting in all media. Created by an act of Congress, the CPB is the steward of the U. S. government's investment in public broadcasting and the largest source of funding for public radio, television, and related online content.
Tovares previously served for seven years as the CPB's Senior VP for Diversity and Innovation, and as Executive Producer for La Plaza, the Latino production unit for WGBH, the nation's longest running TV series devoted to Latino themes. He also created and produced the acclaimed Latino interview program, Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One, and served as long-time Series Editor and Director of New Media for American Experience, "TV's Most-Watched History Series." For American Experience, Tovares also wrote and directed THE ALAMO, emphasizing the participation and leadership of Tejanos (Mexican-American Texans) in the revolt against Mexico. Born and raised in San Antonio, Tovares traces his own Texas ancestry back to the late 1600s. His earlier films as producer include the Emmy-winning TV documentary, Luis Tiant, A Baseball Story.
The screening of ZOOT SUIT RIOTS is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice's Crime, Justice, and Public Memory Film Series. This series addresses violent watershed events in American history that have faded from public memory.
For additional information visit http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst or contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620.