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The history behind Latinidad: Is the term Hispanic or Latino enough?

 October 10, 2023 at 1:56 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. Today , we are continuing our conversation on Hispanic and Latino identity. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired and make you think. We often hear Latino and Hispanic used interchangeably , but we'll break down the difference.

S2: I always tell myself and I write about it and tell my students that we should think of Latin as having many Latin layers.

S1: Plus , we'll look at identity through the lens of ethnic studies. Then Beth Accomando tells us about a horror short film that's perfect for the Halloween season. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Welcome San Diego. It's Jade Hindman. Today we continue our conversation on identity within the Hispanic and Latino community. We'll take a closer look at how history and colonization shape it. This is Midday Edition connecting our communities through conversation. There is about 64 million people in the US who fall under the category of Hispanic or Latino. But are these terms interchangeable and can they really encompass the diversity of these communities ? For Hispanic Heritage Month , we're continuing our conversation about Latino dad and what different ethnic identities like Latino , Hispanic and Chicano mean. We're also focusing in on how Afro-Latino and indigenous people identify who are often sidelined in the conversations about the US Latino experience. Jose Foust is an assistant professor of ethnic studies at UC San Diego , where he specializes in US Latino history. He's currently writing a book about Afro-Latino migration. He joins us now to shed light on the history of Latino dad and what it means today. Jose , welcome to Midday Edition.

S2: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

S1: So it's Hispanic Heritage Month and we hear a lot of terms used interchangeably like Hispanic , Latino , Chicano. But each term is different.

S2: The term Latino comes from the late 19th , early 20th century in the East Coast , mainly Cuban and Puerto Rican migrants to the East Coast. And of course , it's derived from Latin American , which was a term of solidarity of the the the new republics of the 19th century south of the US border. Right. So there were people that were coming from those either new republics or in the case of Cuba and Puerto Rico , Spanish colonies that want it to be new republics. The term that was used in the Southwest was quite different. It was Mexican because it was a Mexican majority population as a result of the annexation of Mexico's northern half. The term Chicano has a much more recent history. It was embraced in the 1960s by a youth movement that was trying to flip the script on a term that before then was used pejoratively in very classist and colorist ways to refer to darker skinned , poorer Mexican immigrants. So these tended to be the children of those immigrants , many of them , for example , farm laborers that wanted to flip the script on that and make it a source of pride as a source of mestizo. Mulatto , mixed race. Brown pride. The term Hispanic has a very different history. It actually comes from the Census Bureau. In the early 1970s , President Nixon tasked the Census Bureau Bureau with coming up with an umbrella term to designate Spanish speakers , and he relied on a senator from New Mexico , Joseph Montoya , who was a Republican. And Montoya was part of a group of people from New Mexico , is a kind of old school elite from that state that know themselves to be descendants from the original Spanish conquistadors that conquered the area between El Paso , Texas , and Santa Fe , New Mexico. In New Mexico , it does tend to have a certain class and colorist , you know , ring to it. So people in the know tended to decide why with it. And there's always been that tension between Hispanic seeming a more conservative term , Chicano seeming a much more leftist brown pri term. There's , of course , Mexican-American , but it's quite normal for these tensions to exist and for these terms to really change. Now , for example , we have Latin X , which is the gender neutral. It's an outcome of social movements that require rallying banners. That's what these terms are there , rallying banners for people to rally along with.

S1: And so you mentioned this this colorist tension within the the Hispanic community.

S2: You know , we're dealing with places that were colonized since the 1500s. In many ways , the idea that we have now of of racial otherness and of racial superiority , inferiority was designed in the 1700s when slavery and colonialism was in full force throughout the hemisphere. But the precursors of it come from those Spanish and Portuguese colonies. And one of the things that they developed , for example , in the 1700s was a racial caste system. They call it the casta system. The word actually was brought by the Portuguese from India because the Portuguese also established a colony in Goa and the Indian coast in South Asia. So they they knew that there was a caste system in South Asia. They wanted to create a caste system that was correlated with color and ancestry. So it was a very graded system of privileges , but also certain punishments or reserving certain certain types of forced labor. It was really a matter of greasing the wheels of colonial extraction and enslavement and rationalizing it and legitimizing it of making it seem moral Christian Right. When independence happened in what we now call Latin America , there was one key difference from the United States. The movements had to have masses of black and indigenous and mixed race. Peoples fight for these independence wars because they were the demographic majority. So the leaders of these movements , some of whom were themselves , for example , Afro Mexican or Afro-Colombian right or indigenous , the leaders created this idea that in these new nations , color didn't matter. There was a kind of top down declaration , but of course , bottom up privileges tended to be concentrated in the hands of lighter skinned folks , class privileges , educational privileges , segregation existed , all these things. So we have endured throughout the 19th and 20th century and now the 21st with a social structure , a class structure that is very much colorized and that people continue to make racialized associations with even in Cuba , where they declare class to have disappeared because of a communist revolution. If you ask any black Cuban today whether there is anti-black racism in Cuba , a lot of them will say yes , Right. And if privileges , even connections within the Communist Party tend to be a portion to lighter skinned Cubans , they will say yes. So it's a very stubborn problem. It's a very complicated Pandora's box that has been hard to close.

S1: Yeah , but it is evidence of how global white supremacy is and its connection to colonization and religion even. Absolutely.

S2: Absolutely. Absolutely. Especially in the American hemisphere , which is where it was invented. Yeah.

S3: Yeah.

S1: So you mentioned Latin X , Latino , Latin. There's this effort to be more inclusive with these terms. So can you talk about the tension that exists there ? Sure.

S2: I mean , I always tell myself and I write about it and tell my students that we should think of Latin as having many Latin ladies. Right. There's no one sense of Latino even within people who claim to be Latino or represent some kind of Latino social movement. There's different uses of the term. One use would be this Kumbaya. You know , we're all part of the same mixed race family. We're all okay with each other. There's no tensions or differences amongst us. There's certainly a use of Latin in that that way. There's always been internal tension because there's always been , for example , black Latinos who have complained about non-black Latinos not fully addressing the issues of anti-blackness , but who hold on to a sense of being part of a Latino demographic in the United States who share certain experiences with immigration or other political issues. Right. There's also the issue of of gender and feminist movements , right ? There's also the issue of sexuality and queerness. There's also the issue of transgender. Right. So there's folks who are trying to really open up conversations within that demographic , right. But who also understand the utility of Latino as a pan ethnic , not just umbrella , but as a rallying banner that can move publics. Think of what it would be like for the millions of Latinos that exist here today politically if we didn't have some kind of rallying banner , if we didn't have a rallying banner , for example , to rally people on issues of immigration , justice , justice at the border , it would be a quite different political scenario , right ? Politics is about building movements , but also about wedging and dividing. Right. The opposite of building a movement is divide and rule. So Latino , Latina , Latina , Latina has been have been attempts at really rallying people together and not allowing wedges to come in. But there's also the reality that widgets come in and that reality needs to be accounted for and addressed.


S2: But now we have a really dire situation further down south in Central America. We have a combination of climate change. Climate change worsened droughts , and we have a combination of that land corridor becoming much more valuable for the trafficking of illicit drugs and the underground economy through the land. Right. So you have issues of underground economy , gang violence , all those things. There's a lot of Central American immigrants that are coming. And Central American immigrants are not the same kind of Latinos. Right. They have a different history than Mexicans , right ? They have a much more direct history of US involvement in those countries. Some of those countries that got us for a larger part of the 20th century were dominated by US agricultural corporations that had free rein to do whatever they wanted to maintain a cheap source of exploitable labor , and that oftentimes supported puppet dictators and antidemocratic movements , sometimes leading to civil wars that happen in the 70s and 80s. Right. That killed tens of thousands , or in the case of Guatemala , hundreds of thousands of people. Guatemala is an interesting case , too , because Guatemala is the country with the highest percentage of indigenous citizens of any country in Latin America. So a huge part of Guatemalans that come to the United States come not just as Guatemalans , but as indigenous peoples , as speakers of indigenous languages that come from an indigenous majority areas , Right. Some Central Americans also come from black majority areas , right ? So you have , for example , the black indigenous , both because some of them are black , indigenous , ethnic minority Garifuna who come from the Honduras and Belize areas. Right. Or Afro Panamanians who are descendants not only from enslaved Africans by the Spaniards , but also of West Indian Caribbean immigrants who came there to build the Panama Canal. So these are people that have different issues going on back home in their home communities. There are also people that inhabit very different bodies , right ? If you are a Garifuna or if you're an Afro Panamanian , you will exist in the United States in the body of a person who is constantly hailed as black and who will be policed as such , but who also has access to to a multi , multi linguistic , multi-ethnic community of black solidarity. If you're coming as an indigenous person , sometimes you're coming from context in which even poor mixed race peoples who are themselves oftentimes desperate for a better future , right. But who are used to putting you down as somehow bad or ignorant , right. Because you are indigenous , right ? There are ethnic tensions between indigenous folks and non-Indigenous folks in Mexico and Guatemala and all these other countries. And you you also might realize when you come here that you have access to Latino solidarity as an immigrant , but you also have access to pan indigenous movements. And you're also very concerned about the effects of continued cellar colonization in this hemisphere. So some of them are even Asian Latin Americans , too , who come not only as , for example , Mexican immigrants of Asian ancestry. You know , Mexicali has the highest concentration of Chinese Mexicans of any place in the world , but who are also face not only even more complicated immigration histories because they have parents or grandparents that came from East Asia , but also even anti-Asian prejudice. You have also Haitians from Haiti that are coming through the Central American and Mexican corridor into the United States.

S1: I'll continue the conversation with Josie Foust after the break , where he'll talk more about Afro-Latino identity.

S2: Being Afro-Latino is not about being black or Latino , right ? Because if you phrase it that way , it presumes that these are mutually exclusive things.

S1: Kpbs Midday Edition is back after the break. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. We're continuing our conversation about Latino and Latino identity and what it means to be Latino in the US today.

S2: Right ? One common experience of Afro Latinos , right , is to emphasize that those things have never been mutually exclusive. There have been black Spanish speaking peoples in what is now the United States since the 1500s in Spanish , Florida , or in the conquest of the Southwest. At the same time , there are millions of Afro descendants across what is now Latin America. I think sometimes people don't understand that. You know , rough estimates. But of the 11 million Africans who survived the Middle Passage , only about 4% ended up in what is now the United States. The rest ended up elsewhere in the archipelagos and the land masses of what is now called the Americas. 43% ended up in the Caribbean , 45% ended up just in Brazil. So the Caribbean , Brazil , that's 88% of the enslaved Africans that survived the Middle Passage ended up in the Caribbean or Brazil. So there have always been black Latinos. That is not something that should should seem paradoxical or contradictory to people. The other issue , though , is that in the United States , Afro Latinos have both labored on behalf of black populations of all ethnicities and languages and also on behalf of Latinx populations of all colors and languages. But they don't often receive the the credit that they ought to receive. They're often invisible as representation matters. Right. But they're they're often not reciprocated with the with with the solidarity that they are due or ought to be due. One thing that people need to understand about social movements is that they are about generating collective , you know , mobilization. But there are also like relationships. There needs to be a two sided dynamic , right ? There needs to be reciprocation. And sometimes those relationships can become very one sided. So being Afro-Latino means , for example , that you will put a lot of energy into the black liberation movement and into the United States , but you might not necessarily get reciprocated with with the same or the proportional level of solidarity for the issues affecting the demographics that you are most closely aligned with , Right. Or that or that you just worry about because they're your your kin or your neighbors. Likewise , you might put a lot of effort into Latino social movements , both in the US or even in Latin America , but you might not be getting the solidarity from the broad society or the broad community that you think you're due , for example , to address issues of anti-blackness. In some ways , it's not just simply a story of tragedy , because nonetheless , Afro Latinos continue to put a lot of effort and labor working on behalf of those two communities. The only difference is that now they're also making themselves visible through this moniker of Afro-Latino , which was really coined in the early 2000 , late 1990s , because they want to bring visibility to not only the issues , the intersecting issues that affect them , for example , being black and also being undocumented , and also facing language discrimination or coming from a colony like Puerto Rico. Right. They want to bring visibility to those intersections , but they also want to bring visibility to this debt , to this debt that needs to be corrected. Right , Because it's not a fair it hasn't been a fair debt. Those of us , for example , I myself am not Afro-Latino. I'm from Puerto Rico. I'm very much Latino. I don't face the experience of being black out on the street. And I could easily tune out of that and think that it doesn't really matter to me or it doesn't matter to my kids. Right ? Or I could realize that I owe it to my Afro-Latino sisters , brothers , brethren to. Take direct action every day to emphasize that those issues need to be corrected. Right ? So it's really about a kind of ethical and political debt. Yeah.

S3: Yeah.

S1: You know , when you think of Afro Latinos who have labored on behalf of the Latino community or Latinx community and the black community who comes to mind like Gwen Ifill comes to my mind.

S3: That's yours.

S2: You know , I'm interested in social movements , but I'm also interested in cultural movements. And one thing that I've found is that in the history of jazz , Afro Latinos are not given the credit that they deserve for impacting the evolution of the music that we now call jazz. Since the early 1900s , not only that jazz coming out of New Orleans , which always had what over there they call the Spanish tinge , because late night Cuban music was widely played in New Orleans. It had a particular syncopation that was quite popular there. But even in the at the height of the swing era , for example , Afro-Cuban like Mario Bauza , who were arrangers and musicians for some of the biggest swing era bands , but who also infused the musical traditions of their parents and grandparents , some of whom were themselves born enslaved. Because the other thing is that slavery was abolished in Cuba in 1886 , so much later than the United States. So you had black Cubans that were moving to United States who were children of slaves , sometimes born , enslaved themselves , who were playing the music of their ancestors , who were 1 or 2 generations removed from West Africans , infusing jazz music with that and not necessarily getting the credit that they deserve. At the same time , those musicians were doing some of the heaviest lifting for Latino popular music. So you have somebody like Arsenio Rodriguez , blind black musician from eastern Cuba , who basically invented what we now call salsa.

S1: Yeah , because I was going to ask about that. I mean , you have salsa music. You also have cumbia , too.

S4: Right , Right.

S2: Cumbia is another one. Cumbia , which is up until maybe reggaeton might have dethroned it. But up until recently , it was the most popular music from the southern tip of South America to the northern territories of Canada. Cumbia was the most popular Latino music of all , and cumbia is an Afro Colombian music. So artistically , you know , we have people that have labored quite a bit for these these genres that have a lot of importance to people but are not necessarily getting the credit. You could say the same thing about hip hop from the South Bronx. Right ? And the important role that that Puerto Ricans and other Latinos played in those neighborhoods from which hip hop came from Puerto Ricans , particularly in breaking , for example. There's also , for example , in in important , you know , social movement organizing. You have somebody like Antonia Pantoja , who is a queer Afro , Puerto Rican woman who was one of the most consequential community organizers in the Latino community in New York in the 1960s. And people tend to think of Antonia Pantoja simply Puerto Rican. And she cared about Puerto Ricans and she cared about other Spanish speakers. Right ? She cared about their legal rights. She cared about bilingual education. But Antonia Pantoja also , you know , inhabited a body that was racialized as black , as light skinned , black , but as black. And she was very sensitive to issues of anti-blackness. And one of the important things that she did was that she always sought out non-Latino black Americans to organize with them. And she always sought to turn non-black Latinos to pay attention to the issues of their black neighbors or their black schoolmates because of the segregation of public schools or their black coworkers , and try to build that black Latinx solidarity , which is so important not only in the 1960s , but where we are now , if we are to make this country a more democratic , a fairer country , if we are to address all the burning issues that lie before us , including climate change , all those things , we need to build an even bigger critical mass. Right ? We need black Latino solidarity , right ? So I see her as one of the heroes of trying to engender that. And I see the history of what she did as a very valuable as a as as an instruction manual for today. Hmm.

S3: Hmm. What are.

S1: Your thoughts on on black and brown solidarity today.

S2: At the local level and at the historical level , it has always existed. There are local community organizations that are organizing around issues that affect the lives of people in that place that are generating that black Latino solidarity. But at the same time , we cannot deny the reality that there is tons of anti-black discrimination among Latinos , between Latinos themselves and also between Latinos and non-Latino black people. And that is an unfortunate outcome of the divide and rule nature of racism and including anti-black racism , which was literally invented to divide potential critical masses that could produce a very different future for all. We also have the issue of nativism and xenophobia. Right ? And the idea that maybe you're less worth or maybe you're more of a scapegoat because you cross the border and you don't have papers. But we also have the issue of of anti-Latino nativism , including by Latinos themselves , by the way , Latinos born in the United States themselves that we need to take care of. Right. And , you know , like I always tell my students , we are human beings and we are beautiful because we have angels and demons on our shoulders. And we have to really tap into our our better instincts , Hopefully listen to the angels to build better futures. So it is incumbent upon all of us to learn about the histories of the of the times and the places where that solidarity has been generated or continues to be generated today.


S2: Right. Um , but it's also important to turn inwards , to , to , to be introspective about how sometimes we fall prey to the divide and rule nature of racism or xenophobia , or sometimes how we are will willingly blind or perhaps in bad faith about the perpetuation of institutional injustices that that target certain populations under our umbrella categories , whether it be Latino or black. Right. That target certain populations specifically. And if we want to create a better future for all , we have to do both. We have to focus on the common denominators , but we also have to lift help lift the boats of people that have been circumscribed to rougher waters. Right. We can't just focus on the common boat. Sometimes we have to lend a hand to people that are not quite in our situation. So it's about unity , but it's also about looking at fragmentation and doing something about that fragmentation as well. Mm.

S3: Mm.

S1: I've been speaking to Jose Fust , an assistant professor of ethnic studies at UC San Diego who is currently writing a book about Afro-Latino migrants. And Jose , thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

S1: Coming up , Beth Accomando tells us about a horror short film that's perfect for the Halloween season.

S5: For some reason , I find horror funny. I find if I can be scared and then laugh about it , I'm better about it. And then. But if I can make the audience laugh and then scare the crap out of them , that's also good.

S1: Kpbs is back after the break. Welcome back. This is Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Michael Rainey is best known in San Diego as a choreographer , but recently he started writing and directing his own plays. Now he tries his hand at screenwriting. He will have his first short film , Deadfall Screening next Wednesday as part of film out San Diego's monthly program at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas. Kpbs arts reporter Beth Accomando has been following his work because , well , they both love horror films. She speaks with Miscellany about his R-rated and bloody horror. Short That fits the Halloween season. But we want to warn you , they do discuss graphic content.

S6: Michael , I am usually talking to you about theater , but today you have actually ventured into the world of film. So tell me what this journey has yielded.

S5: Well , when Covid hit , I had lots of time on my hands. So I'm like , I write , play. So let's about I try writing a screenplay. So I went online , took courses on that , learned a lot , and started to write screenplays.

S6: You have been a choreographer for many years here in San Diego and you have chosen to write a lot of plays that deal with horror. So explain kind of what your fascination with horror is.

S5: I think I started when I was a little kid. I was a gay boy in the city , and I spent many a night at home alone. And I watch scary films. And I was always the one who survived. I was the final girl or final boy , and I beat the big bad killer and I won out. And so I think that's why I love them , because I'm always the winner. I'm always the final girl.

S6: I find this very interesting because I have sat next to you at horror films and you are somebody who is very jumpy and screams and covers your eyes at horror films. And yet you write these really gory and also funny horror plays.

S5: Yeah , I for some reason I find horror funny. I find if I can be scared and then laugh about it , I'm better about it. And then. But if I can make the audience laugh and then scare the crap out of them , that's also good.

S6: So this film is called Deadfall and it's going to be screening as part of Film Out's monthly screening. So explain a little bit about Deadfall , because this is kind of an evolution of multiple things you've been working on in the horror genre.

S5: It is the play Die Already is the third play in my thriller , which is a phrase I coined from Beth. Thank you , Beth. And then based on that , I wrote a screenplay based on that play. And then from that screenplay , I took one plot point and then made a short film of it. And so that's what they'll see film out.

S7: Come on , answer. Answer gear.

UU: And then coming back. Not. How's it going ? I'm not.

S7: Where are you ? I'm in his apartment. Stop seeing that. I calls him like I sees him. I'm not going to sleep with the guy I just met. He could be some whack job. Plus , I haven't had sex. And since you started divorce proceedings against. Me.

S8: Me.

S7: You know it's mutual. We both agreed It's mutual.

S8: When you like that , it makes me want to high-five you in the face with hubcap.

S7: Let's not have this conversation again.

S8: Hey , truck stop. Sally. You called me.

S7: For advice , not for a walk down monogamy.

S6: Lane and explain a little bit about what Deadfall entails.

S5: So Deadfall is taken from the trap. A deadfall is like a piece of rock and then a stick. And another rock and animal will come in the trap and the rock will fall on it and squish it. So. So there's definitely two rocks and a victim here. So that's. Deadfall.

S9: Deadfall.

S6: You mentioned Trilogy and that you've been working on this series of plays , so Deadfall is kind of like a proof of concept for you to maybe develop something larger.

S5: It is. Hopefully if people like it in the right person sees it , they'll go , Hey , let's make the full film. You never know. It could happen. We're hoping you never know. Cross your fingers.

S9: And talk.

S6: A little bit about your approach to horror. You mentioned that you want to kind of get people scared but also make them laugh. So in writing these kind of what's your approach in terms of hitting those beats ? Because comedy and horror kind of had this similar kind of a setup and then a payoff , but with slightly different results ? Yeah.

S5: For the horror part , I really want to make people think that they're going to see something or maybe at the very start they know , Oh , this is going to happen because this just happened. And then by the end the whole thing has turned around. You're like , Oh , that's not what that meant. And that person isn't that person , and that's not what that person is there for. So that's my horror. And then the comedy is basically because I find dark things funny and I feel like if the audience is laughing and they're relaxed , then I can scare them.

S6: And this is going to be playing with the eyes of Laura mars , which seems kind of appropriate as of Laura mars , as kind of like an American Gigolo. And yours is kind of a slasher film.

S5: I think there are different films. They're both rated R Ies is a full length film , obviously , and it's a 1978 R , mine's a 2023 R , So they're very different in that aspect. I think Eyes would now be a PG 13 , but mine is still in R , so it's really not for anyone that's under 17 just because of the violence and the nudity and the sexuality of it.

S6: And you said you were writing during the pandemic and took the time to study screenplay writing.

S5: So I asked some friends and Travis Land , who basically has saved me so many times on this film , came in. He loved the script. We cast it and then we found a location. We got funding first. Thank God I have an angel who like funded the entire film , so I actually got to pay everyone , which was great. And we went and we filmed over two days and one day we had to cancel because Hilary came and so we had to cancel that day. And then so we shot one day on Saturday. The next week we went and shot on on a Sunday and that was a 12 hour shoot of all the interior stuff , which was it was it was grueling. I found out that film work is hard. It's hard.

S6: So you did shoot this after the pandemic ? Yes. Sorry. And very recently , that's a pretty quick turnaround to get a film finished by.

S9: Well , I told.

S5: Michael McGuigan about this , who's the head of film out and he goes , Well , if you I'll show it here if you can get it ready. I'm like , Oh. So I asked Travis. He goes , Yeah , it's fine. So we actually shot it at the end of August , beginning of September. We just got the final rendering today , so it's done. And then it goes to film out on Wednesday.

S9: And fast.

S5: And the music. Yeah , Composer did a great job on music. Really a great job. He has a sense of humor about it. I love it.

S6: This is going to be the premiere of it.

S5: And then I think I'm going to enter it in some festivals and try to get the right eyes on the film and see if those right eyes want to finance the entire film , which is basically this is one one plot point. And there are three plot points which all converge in Act three at a creepy old house where all the crap happens at the at the end of the movie.


S5: So that's a challenge to get them down here and put them up. So that's the challenge. Finding the right location , finding someone who will actually let us do like blood in their house is a challenge to you. But we found we went on Kickstarter and found this a great place. It was wonderful and we used that for an entire day. And then just the turnaround , getting everything done and edited and the music done and getting the music right and is this going to work ? And not because it's a collaboration. It's not just me , it's me and Travis and Nick music guy. So it's like , you know , it's all of us coming to an agreement that this is going to work best for the film.

S6: Now , during the pandemic , you and I recorded a couple of your plays , kind of short versions of them.

S5: You want to show it , You don't want to always want to talk about it like exposition. If you're going to talk about it , it has to be short , but you want to show it. So that's the challenge. You know , take all the dialogue away. That's not necessary. Figure out a way to show it in the same way and get the same ideas across.

S6: And you did mention you see a lot of dark comedy in this. What is it about horror and the horror genre that you tap into in terms of wanting to expose the tropes or how do you want to kind of tackle these tropes , things that we expect , but like , how do you want to tackle these tropes and kind of send them up.

S5: As an audience member ? I want to be like , Oh , that's a trope , and then I want to see a spin on it. So in horror films , mostly , mainly there's always a sex scene that goes on for maybe 20s Well , in this film it goes on for a minute and 15 seconds , so that's like a trap. Okay , that's a trope. We see it and it really goes on a long time. And it's , it's , it's not funny , but it's like uncomfortable. It's so long. In a good way. In a good way.

S6: Well , yes , Friday the 13th taught us that if you're a teenager and you have sex , you are doomed.

S5: And that is true for one of the characters. They are doomed. That's very true.


S5: I think right now , if I really thought about it , it's probably if it was to be produced would probably be maybe three quarters of 1 million or $1 million film. I think I need to think how I can like make that smaller. Like in the end of the day of the film , there's a car crash that happens , which with two cars in flames. So I need to figure out how can I maybe change this ? So maybe it's one car and a motorcycle or something and where it's not so expensive and but it's basically one location is a house and a couple of other small ones , an apartment , a bar. And so that's I think it's the scope of it. I have to just rein in the scope of it a little bit more and to make it maybe a half $1 million movie , which is not a lot for a horror film , but it's a lot for me because this film did not cost that , obviously , you know , it's it's micro-budget film , a two day shoot. It was yeah , it was a challenge , but it was so much fun. I learned so much. And thank God for Travis Land because if he wasn't there , I don't know what I would have done.


S5: So there's some knife stabs in there. So what we did is really so the knife , the knife is in the thigh and we and we put a tubing in the back of the jean. It comes out and under the knife I had a syringe , a big one with blood in it. And so when the knife is gouged in his thigh , I would pump the blood and the blood would spurt out. It was like really low tech , but the camera angle was like siding up. So it looks really good. It looks like boop , boop , boop , boop , boop. It looks really good. And then also all the foley , all the sound effects Travis made himself , he didn't go on YouTube. He actually got a melon , got a knife and sliced the melon and recorded it and put that in the movie. So everything is practical except for the gunshots. The gunshots aren't practical. Those were obviously we're not going to do gunshots for for real. But all that all the other stuff was was unpractical. All the knife stabs , all the gunshots , not the sounds. So lots of prep work.

S9: Lots of. Rough work.

S6: You seem to take a lot of delight in this.

S5: It was it was a lot of hard work , but it was fun. And I'm looking forward to. We just got funding for the next film and I took a little survey on Instagram about what's next. And the winner was the satire. So it's going to be a satire. And , you know , because I think we also did a radio version of the play , which I adapted into a short film , which we're going to film probably sometime in the spring.



S9: This has.

S6: Zombies , doesn't.

S9: It ? Yeah , it does.

S5: No , it does have zombies , but very different kind of zombies. And I don't want to give away the plot , but very different. Why they're zombies is very different than than what you might think.

S6: And that one also has a little more political bite to it.

S5: It does have a lot more. A little more. A lot more. Yeah. This film has no political bite. It's just gore and fun and laughing and. Well funded me at least. Yeah , that definitely has a political. But I'll leave it there. I don't want to get too much into it until the film is filmed actually , and it comes out. But yeah.

S6: And seeing how much delight you take in this horror , how does a nice Catholic boy like you end up here.

S5: Being a Catholic boy ? I think that's how I end up being here , being told , you know , act this way and do this and do that and do that. And me just being like , Yeah , I don't want to play soccer. I don't want to do baseball. I don't want to go to church every day. I want to go and have fun and , and be an artist. And yeah , that didn't go over well in the Midwest at all. At all.

S6: All right. Well , I want to thank you very much for talking about Deadfall.

S5: Thank you , Beth.

S1: That was Beth Accomando speaking with screenwriter Michael Mazany. His short film Deadfall will screen with the 70s cult classic The Eyes of Laura Mars next Wednesday as part of film out monthly series at Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas. You can also listen to the Halloween horror radio dramas they mentioned on Beth's Cinema Junkie podcast. Thanks for listening to our show today. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. We'll be back tomorrow at noon. And if you ever miss a show , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

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Folklorico dancers and entertainers participate in a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration before an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas.
Ron Jenkins
Folklorico dancers and entertainers participate in a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration before an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas.

Almost 64 million people in the United States identify as Hispanic or Latino. But can these terms encompass the diversity of the community? Midday Edition dives further into the history of Latinidad and the U.S.-Latino experience from an ethnic studies perspective.

Plus, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando speaks with a local choreographer and filmmaker about his new horror short.


José I. Fusté, assistant professor of ethnic studies at UC San Diego

Michael Mizerany, filmmaker and director of “Deadfall”