The Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce Board Directors, Community Activist and Hollywood Producer Moctesuma Esparza’s 1982 iconic film “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” was recently recognized and honored by being added to the National Registry of Film as a landmark Chicano film and for being a truly authentic Western classic. The film features Edward James Olmos and is one of the most important Chicano produced films in Hollywood.
“We need to be able to have an example of what can be done, which is the incredible achievement that Eddie Olmos and our incredible team did with ‘The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” Esparza said.
Talking about the shortage of Chicano directors and representation in Hollywood, Esparza recently said in an interview with Spectrum, “We’re looking to be able to create this pipeline so that students can start learning filmmaking in junior high school, high school, undergraduate, and get to the top film schools in the country for graduate programs, which is where people’s careers really get launched. There are fewer Mexican-Americans at UCLA film school than when I was in film school 50 years ago. So, this is a real problem,” Esparza said.
A graduate of UCLA and born and raised in Los Angeles, Esparza is also known for the commercially successful films “Selena” and “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.” Esparza said it was always his dream to have “an impact on Hollywood and to be able to affect the image and portrayal of Mexican-Americans and Latinos in Hollywood.”
Each year, the National Film Registry (NFR) selects 25 films showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The NFR is part of the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), originally created by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988. With inclusion of Esparza’s film, “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” joins other important films added to the NFR like “Grease,” “Amadeus,” “Titanic,” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Written by Mario Uribe, Director, Communications Strategiest, LA Latino Chamber