In an effort to both positively portray and influence the Hispanic community, PureFlix and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/CONEL, join forces to promote Hispanic entertainment.
In a Facebook Live event at the close of 2016, PureFlix Vice President of Strategic Alliance, Franklin Santagate sat down with NHCLC President and Pastor Samuel Rodriguez and PureFlix COO Steve Fedyski to announce the union. Santagate opened, “The Hispanic community is the number one [ethnic] moviegoer in America. For whatever reason, they don’t have that presence in our industry. So we are putting together an alliance that will address some of those things.”
While Latinos represent 17.4% of the U.S. population, they only have 5.8% of speaking roles in television and movies, according to the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity. PureFlix and the NHCLC hope to be an agent of change in the industry through this new five-year initiative.
Pastor Rodriguez pointed out there is a disconnect between the values of the Hispanic community and their representation. “What if the values of the Latino faith community can be expressed in a way that is measurable and viable and lines up with who we really are?” Rodriguez continued, “This alliance will expose the reality of the community and engage us in a way we haven’t been able to do.”
Last year 40% of Americans saw a faith-based film. PureFlix is currently the number one distributor of faith-based films and the top streaming platform for Christian movie content. Taking into account the growth of digital streaming, this initiative has the potential to shift the culture by providing a positive portrayal of Hispanics on the screen. They hope to replace the “gang banger, narco dealer” persona with films that represent a “God-fearing, hard-working people.” PureFlix is committed to a careful review of cultural references and plot lines to ensure they are free from stereotypes.
PureFlix plans to introduce Hispanics to every aspect of the industry by employing paid interns in all positions, from filming to post-production. After completing internships, PureFlix likes to place their interns within the entertainment industry, allowing their training in Christian entertainment to influence Hollywood. “We want people that have the core values and the love and hope of Christ infiltrated all through the industry because then that transformed leader or individual will be a transformation agent in the culture,” said Fedyski. The PureFlix-NHCLC trio believes the talent is present within the Hispanic community but is underutilized.
Also look for an increase in Latino actors, screenwriters, and directors, as well as characters and storylines in their films. Currently, PureFlix streams one Hispanic-focused film, a documentary entitled Famous Hispanic Americans. Netflix, the obvious secular competitor, boasts several films featuring Hispanic actors and storylines in their “Hispanic Hollywood” category (less than fifty choices—still a small percentage). Clearly, a gap exists between Hispanic faith and the entertainment industry. PureFlix and NHCLC’s goal is not to see latinos creating entertainment just for latinos, but for everyone.
Photo credit: Jeremy Yap via Unsplash.