DGA Hosts Latino Summit 2023: Creative Voices Event


October 9, 2023

Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America hosted its third annual DGA Latino Summit 2023: Creative Voices on October 7th, bringing together accomplished Latino Directors to share insights and amplify diverse voices across the entertainment industry. The Summit was sponsored by the DGA’s Latino Committee – which is dedicated to empowering Latinos in all Guild categories – as well as it’s Career Advancement Sub-Committee.

The event had over 180 members in attendance, seizing the chance to connect, learn from their successful peers, and reaffirm the Guild's commitment to inclusion and representation. The event marked an inspiring day of community, career development, and celebrating Latino excellence in the arts.

The event began with DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter welcoming attendees and emphasizing the significance of the Latino committee's goals, “For over three decades, the Latino Committee has been guided by a spirit of mentorship – prioritizing the professional advancement of Latino members, highlighting career opportunities, and focusing on promoting visibility and leadership.” Glatter continued, “There is a spirit of growth and change – such as having more Latino representation across all levels of DGA leadership – including many of our newly elected National Board members and alternates. I am inspired by the passion and persistence of this committee’s leadership, as they continue to strive for more parity and opportunity within the industry.”

Latino Committee Co-Chair SJ Main Muñoz shared this sentiment to attendees of the event, “The Latino summit is a celebration of those who have overcome challenges and limitations and biases to succeed to use their powerful voices as Directors to make us laugh, make us cry, and affect change. What’s next? Now, we must continue to celebrate the work our Latino greats bring to the screen, but also, at the same time, we must elevate our emerging Latino talent—the next generations of Latino Directors and Director team members—and give them opportunities and the support to flourish so that in the coming years, they’ll be the ones to next take the stage.”

The Las Voces of Episodic:

The event opened with a panel featuring episodic television Directors, entitled Las Voces of Episodic, and explored how embracing unique Latino perspectives both in front of and behind the camera can enrich storytelling. With Latino representation in media still lacking, the panelists emphasized the importance of advocacy and creating opportunities for emerging voices.The panel featured:

  • Director Zetna Fuentes (Black Cake)
  • Director Linda Mendoza (Grown-ish)
  • Director Antonio Negret (The Lincoln Lawyer)
  • Moderated by Director Edward Ornelas (Promised Land)

The Crossover Director: Features & Episodic:

Next was another hosted panel featuring lively discussions around the parallels and contrasts between directing feature films versus episodic content with:

  • Director Miguel Arteta (Loot)
  • Director Rodrigo Garcia (Raymond & Ray)
  • Director Oz Rodriguez (Miguel Wants to Fight)
  • Moderated by Director Patricia Riggen (Law & Order: SVU)

Directors Spotlight: Guillermo del Toro and Fede Alvarez

To round out an eventful day of learning and sharing was an intimate one-on-one conversation between acclaimed Directors Guillermo del Toro and Fede Alvarez. In a captivating Directors Spotlight session, the two visionaries discussed their illustrious careers and offered wisdom on navigating Hollywood as a Latino creative.

About the Panelists:

About the Las Voces of Episodic panelists: 

Zetna FuentesZETNA FUENTES most recently directed and executive produced episodes of the upcoming series, Black Cake. Fuentes also directed the pilot of Bosch: Legacy and served as an Executive Producer. Her directorial credits include The Old ManThe Girl from PlainvilleThe GreatThis Is Us, The Deuce, Ray Donovan, Shameless, Snowfall, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Fuentes currently serves as a DGA Foundation Board Trustee and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force and the Television Creative Rights Committee. She is a former co-chair of the Latino Committee and the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee and has served on the DGA National Board and the Western and Eastern Directors Councils. 
Linda MendozaLINDA MENDOZA hails from Detroit, Michigan. She attended Wayne State University and studied Sociology. She fell into television working as a Page at Metromedia, Channel 11 after a chance opportunity landed her in Los Angeles. Linda worked her way up in Variety Television. Her directing break came with Comedy from the Danger Zone at the Montreal Comedy Festival in 1990. The Chris Rock Show on HBO would help her transition to full time directing in the variety genre and she broadened her skills to narrative television when she became one of the house Directors on The Bernie Mac Show in 2000. She has gone on to direct more than 100 episodes of television. Some highlights include Scrubs, 30 Rock, Blackish, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place, Grand Crew and Harlem
Antonio NegretANTONIO NEGRET was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but grew up throughout Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, and Panama. He studied film at the University of Southern California and has resided in Los Angeles ever since. He got his start with the independent film Hacia La Oscuridad starring America Ferrera and Roberto Urbina, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He has subsequently worked in both film and television, most recently completing production on a horror film set at the base of the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador. He has recently directed episodes of The Lincoln Lawyer, Hightown, National Treasure, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Prodigal Son
Edward OrnelasEDWARD ORNELAS has directed over 70 hours of episodic television and is currently serving as Executive Producer/Director on Harlan Coben’s Shelter for Amazon. He previously served as Co-EP/Director on Promised Land for ABC and recently directed The Horror of Dolores Roach for Amazon. Ornelas began his career editing episodic television before making his directorial debut on Grey’s Anatomy. He worked within Shondaland for a decade, directing multiple episodes across various series, including the season six premiere of Grey’s Anatomy and the 100th episode of Private Practice. Additional credits include Locke & Key, Fear the Walking Dead, The Mentalist, FBI, Jane the Virgin, Bull, Under the Dome, Madam Secretary, NCIS: New Orleans, The Resident, Zoo, American Gothic, and The Blacklist. Ornelas received an A.B. in English from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in film production from The University of Texas, Austin. He joined the Directors Guild of America in 2009 and currently serves as an Alternate on the Western Directors Council, Co-Chair of the Television Diversity Task Force, and on the PAC Leadership Council

About The Crossover Director: Features & Episodic panelists: 

Miguel ArtetaMIGUEL ARTETA is a Puerto Rican filmmaker living in Los Angeles. He studied film at the Wesleyan Film Program with Jeanine Basinger. His first three features, Star Maps (1997), Chuck & Buck (2000) and The Good Girl (2002), all premiered and found distribution at the Sundance Film Festival. He then made Youth In Revolt (2009) with Michael Cera and Cedar Rapids (2011) with Ed Helms and John C. Reilly and Beatriz At Dinner (2017) written by Mike White starring Salma Hayek, John Lithgow and Connie Britton. He followed up with Duck Butter, with Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Mark and Jay Duplass. And Yes Day, with Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez. His TV work includes Freaks and Geeks, Six Feet Under, Enlightened, American Horror Story, Getting On, Succession and The Morning Show. He was awarded an Independent Spirit Award for his work on Chuck & Buck
Rodrigo GarciaRODRIGO GARCIA was born in Colombia and raised in Mexico City and is a celebrated award-winning Director, Producer and Writer. A consistent figure in independent film over the last 20 years, Rodrigo has directed the multiple Academy Award®-nominated film, Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close, Mother and Child, starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson, and Nine Lives. His most recent film, Raymond & Ray, starring Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor, was produced by Alfonso Cuarón and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022 before premiering globally on Apple TV+. Garcia’s next release will be the Netflix feature Familia, starring Daniel Giménez Cacho and Maribel Verdú. Garcia is the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Media, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide. He is Co-Creator of WIGS, the digital drama channel offering over 180 episodes of scripted content. For WIGS, Garcia wrote and directed the WIGS series Blue, starring Julia Stiles, and Christine, starring America Ferrera. His memoir, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, was published in July 2021 by HarperVia. 
Oz RodriguezOZ RODRIGUEZ, originally hailing from the Dominican Republic, is an Emmy winning film and television Director. He was tapped in 2012 for Saturday Night Live, where he directed Digital Shorts, became the Head of the Film Unit, and won an Emmy for his behind-the-scenes series Cre. Rodriguez most recently directed the pilot Neon for Netflix and multiple episodes of BUPKIS for Peacock. He did the pilot for AMC's Kevin Can F**k Himself as well as EPing and Directing all episodes of That Damn Michael Che, the Michael Che sketch Show for HBO Max. He directed pilot and multiple episodes of AP Bio for NBC and Peacock, the pilot for the Kal Penn/Mike Schur project Sunnyside for NBC and 3 Arts, as well as episodes of Last Man on Earth for FOX, Detroiters for Comedy Central, Shrill for Hulu, and Mixed-ish for ABC. He also directed NBC & Peacock’s 30 Rock reunion. On the film side, Rodriguez wrote and directed Vampires vs. The Bronx for Universal and Broadway Video, which premiered on Netflix. His latest film, the action-comedy, Miguel Wants to Fight premiered on Hulu in August. 
Patricia RiggenPATRICIA RIGGEN has firmly established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading female Directors, with a notable impact on Latino cinema. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she holds a Master’s Degree in Directing from Columbia University. Riggen gained widespread acclaim with her debut feature film, La Misma Luna/Under the Same Moon, which was acquired by Fox Searchlight and became a box office sensation for a Spanish-language film in the US. Her filmography includes the features Girl in Progress and the Disney Channel hit Lemonade Mouth, recognized with a DGA Award nomination, and attracting a viewership of 12.5 million during its 2 initial broadcasts. In 2015, Patricia helmed The 33, a film recounting the Chilean mining accident, followed by the successful Miracles from Heaven, which grossed over $73 million at the box office. Her versatility extends to directing pilots and both streaming and network episodic television, where she has excelled with series such as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and Hulu’s Dopesick. Presently, Riggen is immersed in her sixth feature film project, G20, an action-packed thriller featuring Viola Davis, scheduled for release in 2024. Her remarkable career includes receiving a Student Academy Award for her short film The Cornfield and earning the Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her documentary Family Portrait. Patricia joined the DGA in 2010. 

About the Directors Spotlight participants: 

Guillermo del ToroGUILLERMO DEL TORO is among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation whose distinctive style is showcased through his work as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production Cronos, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. His subsequent films include Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak.

Guillermo received an Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the film won the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Makeup. Guillermo won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, as well as the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing for The Shape of Water, which garnered 13 Oscar nominations total, winning four including Best Motion Picture of the Year. His subsequent films Nightmare Alley received four Academy Award nominations, and his latest film Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Guillermo has been a DGA member since 1996. 


Fede AlvarezFEDE ALVAREZ Fede Álvarez is a Uruguayan filmmaker whose career was launched in 2009 when he released his short film Panic Attack! on YouTube to wild acclaim. Soon after, Álvarez was approached by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures to co-write and direct the 2013 reboot of Evil Dead. Penning the script with his writing partner Rodo Sayagues, Álvarez worked to bring a new vision to modern audiences.

Álvarez re-partnered with Ghost House to bring the 2016 low budget horror thriller Don’t Breathe to cinemas. Telling the story of a blind man who might be more than he first appears, Álvarez’s film explored how sound design can wildly affect an audience’s appreciation of horror. Following Don’t Breathe, Álvarez directed the 2018 The Girl in the Spider’s Web, an English Language reboot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. While writing, directing, and producing “calls” throughout 2020, Álvarez, through his Bad Hombre production banner, also produced Don’t Breathe 2, which he co-wrote, and the reboot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre

More photos from this event will be posted
soon in the events section.

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