The conversation around #HollywoodSoWhite has focused attention on the need for more content and stories that focus on the Latino experience. A new production company is aiming to do that with its recent projects.
The creators of Fuego Films, Costa Rican film producer Jay Weisleder and noted executive producer Ben Silverman, (creator of "Ugly Betty" and "Jane the Virgin") are the force behind the upcoming film "Hands of Stone," based on the life of acclaimed Panamanian boxer Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Durán.
Their first biopic, the movie highlights the relationship between Durán and his trainer Ray Arcel, played by Robert De Niro. Durán, played by noted Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez, grew up fighting in the streets of Panama and started boxing at 16. The world-famous lightweight boxer ended a long career with a 103-16 record, including 70 knock outs.
"With the ongoing narrative on lack of diversity in Hollywood and the current political and media landscape, we know the impact that media has to shift perceptions, shape attitudes and behaviors," said Weisleder in a statement about Fuego Films. "As a Latino content creator, seeing what Ben [Silverman] has done on the mainstream landscape and how he has championed successfully telling uplifting Latino stories, I couldn't find a better partner to be a part of the change that is needed," the Costa Rican filmmaker stated.
The duo have announced they will partner with Legendary Films to release "Clemente," a biopic of Puerto Rican Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.
When the beloved Afro-Latino baseball player was not on the baseball diamond, he was doing humanitarian work. Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, delivering supplies from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua to relieve earthquake victims. Clemente was the first Latino to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and won 12 Gold Glove awards. His name is on the yearly honor for the MLB player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and community involvement.
The Fuego Films creators say these are the types of Latino subjects they want to showcase.
"Jay and I are resolved to showcasing diverse cultures in a positive light," said Silverman.