In February of 1990, several DGA members identified the need for an organization within the Guild that would address the special needs and interests of its Latino membership. The group was officially recognized by the DGA's National Board, which voted to support the creation of the Latino Committee in February 1991. On October 3, the Committee hosted a celebration of its creation and nearly a quarter century of accomplishments during a tribute evening at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles.
Following a cocktail reception and dinner, honored guests and attendees were welcomed to the evening by Latino Committee Co-Chair/Director Betty Kaplan (One Hot Summer) who introduced the moderator, Director Michael DeLorenzo (One, Two, Many). DeLorenzo welcomed four of the Committee’s founding members — Directors Sylvia Morales, Jose Luis Ruiz, Jesús Salvador Treviño, and Luis Valdez — to the stage along with the directors who would illustrate the depth and breadth of their accomplishments through a series of brief interviews.
First up a discussion with Treviño, who was interviewed about the early days of the committee by Director Norberto Barba (Grimm).Treviño, who joined the Guild in 1980, has served as a member of the DGA National Board, the Western Directors Council and is currently the Co-Chair of the DGA’s Diversity Task Force. His directing credits include: Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Criminal Minds, Bones, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Resurrection Blvd, the first and longest-running Latino-themed dramatic series in the history of U.S. American television.
Morales was interviewed by Director Dennis Leoni (Los Americans). A member of the DGA since 1983, Morales has over 30 years of experience directing, writing, producing and editing award-winning and nationally recognized film and video. Her directing credits include the documentary, Chicana; the Showtime series, Women: Stories of Passion; and the ACE and Emmy-nominated six-hour series, A Century of Women.
Ruiz was interviewed by Director Linda Mendoza (Welcome to the Family). A producer and director in the film and television industry since 1970, Ruiz worked on the staff at Los Angeles television stations KABC, KNBC and KCET where his work garnered 11 Emmy nominations and four Emmy Awards. While at KCET, he also founded the Latino Consortium, which later grew into the National Latino Communications Center, a national nonprofit media arts center that has nurtured young independent film and television producers, directors and writers for over 25 years. Ruiz joined the DGA in 1973.
Valdez, a DGA member since 1981, was interviewed by Director David Rodriguez (Last I Heard). The founder and artistic director of the Obie Award-winning theater company, El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater), Valdez’s feature film and television credits include, La Bamba, Cisco Kid and Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution. He is also the recipient of countless awards including the George Peabody Award for excellence in television, a Governor’s Award from the California Arts Council, and a Presidential Medal of the Arts.
Unable to attend was founding member, Director Frank Zuniga, who was honored by Latino Committee Co-Chair/Director A.P. Gonzalez (Hurricane Party). Zuniga, who joined the Guild in 1974, has over forty years’ experience in film and television as a director, screenwriter, and producer. His credits include the feature films The Further Adventures of the Wilderness Family, Heartbreaker, The Golden Seal and Fist Fighter.
At the completion of the interviews and honorariums, Joan Pelico, the Chief of Staff of Los Angeles Council District Five, presented each of the Committee founders with a certificate of recognition from Councilmember Paul Koretz and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The founders were also given commemorative crystal trophies as a thank you gift from the Committee.