Hispanic Heritage Month Streaming Videos

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In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the BCC library is sharing a list of documentaries that chronicle the Hispanic and Latin American experience. These documentaries are available via the Academic Video Online (Alexander Street) and Films on Demand (Infobase) databases.


Empire of Dreams (1880-1942): The Latino Americans

Empire of Dreams (1880-1942): The Latino Americans.” Films Media Group, 2013. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=58765.

“Widespread immigration to the U.S. from Latin countries begins – first with a small group from Cuba, then a larger one from Mexico. Both flee chaos and violence in their home country and seek opportunities in the United States. The first Puerto Rican arrivals establish a network in New York. We follow Juan Salvador Villaseñor’s story; first through a grueling journey and poverty, then as a bootlegger, and finally as a successful businessman. During the 1920s, Mexicans and Mexican Americans build a thriving community in Los Angeles. But when the economic boom ends with the catastrophic Depression of the thirties, the pendulum swings. Immigrants are deported en masse. Emilia Castaneda loses her home and her family when she is deported to Mexico. Puerto Ricans, also caught in the depths of the Depression, rebel against U.S. rule on the Island, and eventually gain Commonwealth status from the U.S. Government.”


Five Years North

Five Years North. . (2021).[Video/DVD] Optimist Films. Retrieved from                 https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/five-years-north

“Five Years North is the coming-of-age story of Luis, an undocumented Guatemalan boy who just arrived alone in New York City. He struggles to work, study, and evade Judy—the Cuban-American ICE officer patrolling his neighborhood.”

Foreigners in Their Own Land (1565-1880): The Latino Americans

Foreigners in Their Own Land (1565-1880): The Latino Americans.” Films Media Group, 2013. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=58764.

“This film covers conflicts between the British and Spanish colonial systems as Manifest Destiny pushed the U.S into the Mexican territories of the South West, and the Mexican American War. By exploring the Spanish Mission System, California rancheros, the Gold Rush, and Las Gorras Blancas (The White Caps), learn how conquest, shifting borders and dispossession shaped Hispano culture and identity in former Mexican territories of the Southwestern United States. Part of PBS series The Latino Americans.” 


Hispanic Americans: The Second Generation

Hispanic Americans: The Second Generation.” Films Media Group, 1995. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=7992.

“America has become homogenized through immigration over the past 200 years. Yet, today’s Latino community maintains it cultural heritage more than generations of European immigrants. Latino entertainers share their experiences.”



Lazaro Ayala, & Yes We Can (Producers), & Alexander, N. (Director). (2020). Illegal. [Video/DVD] Yes We Can. Retrieved from https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/Illegal-3

“From “Dreamer” to living the American dream, Illegal is a feature-length documentary about the miraculous journey of Salvadoran immigrant Laz Ayala, the challenges of present-day immigration, and his mission to humanize immigrants and reform immigration for the benefit of all.”


Issues of Latino Identity: The Yearning to Be ….” Films Media Group, 2001. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=11896.

“Though Hispanic people journey to the United States from different homelands, do they all share the same heritage and concerns? This program takes a detailed look at the fastest-growing minority in the U.S. and what it means to be Latino and American. The documentary contrasts the experience of being a Latino in a flourishing ethnic neighborhood of a big city with living in a small town, where many Latinos feel isolated. Interviews with individuals stepping up to the roles of leadership in the Hispanic community cover a large spectrum of subjects, including social services, churches, business, and the arts.” (30 minutes)


Hispanics in the Media

Hispanics in the Media.” Films Media Group, 1994. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=7991

“From news anchors to editors, from actors to filmmakers—Hispanics are making their presence known. Discrimination still exists, however. In this program, Hispanics who have made it describe how they did it, the problems they encountered along the way, and the hurdles that remain. Those interviewed include Geraldo Rivera, Academy Award-winning director Moctesuma Esparza, and Clint Eastwood producer David Valdez. Actors Rita Moreno, Elizabeth Peña, Jimmy Smits, and Isiah Morales examine why Hispanic actors are still relegated to marginal roles, while MTV producer Robert Friedman discusses growth potential in the ever-expanding Hispanic media marketplace.” (44 minutes)


Mexico & Peru: The Black Grandma in the Closet

Ilana Trachtman, Wall to Wall Media, Thirteen Productions, & Inkwell Films (Producers), & Trachtman, I. (Director). (2011). Mexico & Peru: The Black Grandma in the Closet. [Video/DVD] Public     Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/mexico-peru- the-black-grandma-in-the-closet-3

“In a style similar to “Wonders of the African World,” Skip Gates will travel to places in Latin America where Africa has touched the continent with lasting cultural results to explore what happens when African and Hispanic worlds meet. In Mexico and Peru, Professor Gates explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people–the two countries together received far more slaves than did the U.S.–and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.”


The New Latinos

Nina Alvarez, Ray Telles, John J. Valadez, Daniel McCabe, WETA, P., Bosch and Co., & Latino Public              Broadcasting (Producers), & Belton, D. and Fritz, S. (Directors). (2013). The New Latinos.           [Video/DVD] Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/the-new-latinos

“Review the decades after World War II through the early 1960s, as swelling numbers of immigrants from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic seek economic opportunities.”


The Latin American Boom

The Latin American Boom.” Films Media Group, 2008. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=35421.

“Around the middle of the 20th century, the aesthetic mood of Latin America was unsettled. Political and nationalistic writing had a wide audience. The avant garde movements of the early part of the century had matured into a range of literary styles that were firmly entrenched in the cultural landscape.

Yet, at the same time, there began to emerge a new and distinctive accent to Latin American literature. Authors began to appear, scattered throughout the continent, whose voices were entirely fresh. And at the same time, they reflected the shared consciousness that comes of shared experience.”


Peril and Promise (1980-2000): The Latino Americans

Peril and Promise (1980-2000): The Latino Americans.” Films Media Group, 2013. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=58769.

“In the 1980s, the nature of the Latino Diaspora changes again. From Cuba a second wave of refugees to United States – the Mariel exodus – floods Miami. The same decade sees the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans (Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans) fleeing bloodshed and death squads. A backlash ensues: tightened borders, anti-bilingualism, state laws to declare all illegal immigrants felons. But a sea change is underway as Latinos spread geographically and make their mark in music, sports, politics, business, and education. Latinos present a challenge and an opportunity for the United States. America’s largest and youngest growing sector of the population presents what project advisor Professor Marta Tienda calls, The Hispanic Moment. Their success could determine the growth of the United States in the twenty-first century; however their failure, contributing to an underclass, could also pull this country down. The key to their success is education.”


Roots of Latin Jazz

Roots of Latin Jazz.” Films Media Group, 2021. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=287509.

“Celebrate the rhythms of Latin music with the Raices Jazz Orchestra. Hosted by Sheila E., the film showcases original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards, such as “Eye of the Hurricane” by Herbie Hancock, as well as performances by artists including Richard Bona and Anaadi. Distributed by PBS Distribution.”


Latin Beat: Latino Culture in the United States

Latin Beat: Latino Culture in the United States.” Films Media Group, 2000. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=11366.

“Drawing on interviews with more than fifty major personalities from a broad cross-section of disciplines, this tour de force both analyzes and celebrates the growing influence of Latino culture in the U.S. Featured guests include artist Andrés Serrano, poet Pedro Pietri, composer Luis Dias, dancer Paloma Herrera, actor Guillermo Díaz, fashion designer Willey Esco, photographer Mariluz Gordillo, radio host Paco de Radio Mega, TV producer Gamelier de Jesus, Newsweek editor Verónica Chambers, and Washington Post journalist Jaime Manrique, who share their personal and professional experiences of being of Latino descent in America today.” (Mostly Spanish with English subtitles, 120 minutes)


The Latino List, Vol. 1

The Latino List, Vol. 1. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (Director). (2011).[Video/DVD] Filmakers Library.        Retrieved from https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/the-latino-list-vol-1

“HBO presents a unique glimpse into the vibrant and burgeoning culture of Hispanic America through a series of highly personal video portraits of Latinos who have richly contributed to the fabric of contemporary society. Funny, poignant and irreverent, The Latino List illuminates the Latino experience today, at a time when the Latino population in the US is booming.”


They Called Me King Tiger: A Biography of the Chicano Malcolm X

They Called Me King Tiger: A Biography of the Chicano Malcolm X. Dir. Ángel, Estrada Soto. Prod. Inti     Cordera, Liminal Films, La Maroma Productions, et al. Pragda, 2018.

Dubbed “King Tiger” and “the Malcolm X of the Chicano Movement,” Reies López Tijerina inspired Mexican-American college students of the late 1960s and early 1970s to start the Chicano Civil Rights Movement that stressed ethnic pride, ethnic studies, and opposition to police brutality. The Chicano movement eventually faded away, but at the time of the production of this film, King Tiger was alive, living in Mexico, and wanting to tell his story.


Symbols of Resistance: A Tribute to the Martyrs of the Chican@ Movement

Symbols of Resistance: A Tribute to the Martyrs of the Chican@ Movement.” Films Media Group,           2017. Films On          Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=168587.

“Illuminating the untold stories of the Chican@ Movement with a focus on events in Colorado and New Mexico, the film engages student activism, police repression, and issues of identity, land, and community that still resonate in Chican@ struggles today. Through interviews with those who shaped the movement and rare historical footage, the film offers a window into a dynamic moment in history.”


Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice

Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice.” Films Media Group, 2016. Films On                 Demand, https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=14935&xtid=151340.

“Political empowerment for Latinos in the United States has always been difficult. A Mexican-American butcher’s son from Texas, Willie Velasquez questioned the lack of Latino representation in his city’s government, propelling him into a lifelong battle to gain political equality for Latinos. This documentary examines obstacles Latinos had to overcome to obtain representation, and addresses issues facing Latinos today. Distributed by PBS Distribution.”

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