5 Films To Watch in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

September 21, 2023

Emily Flores is a Mexican-American journalist and founder of Cripple Media, the first media company exclusively run by and for young disabled people. Being born with Muscular Dystrophy and growing up as a power wheelchair user, Flores realized the large underrepresentation that there was of young disabled people in the media, and therefore the vast amount of misconceptions that existed surrounding disability. Which is why, at the age of 15, Flores created Cripple Media, a digital platform that places young disabled people in positions of power in the media, and thus enables them to take back control of the disability narrative. Cripple’s mission is to simultaneously foster a community that has long been ignored, place disability & mental health at the forefront of mainstream conversations, and demand space for disabled creatives in media industries. Flores’ work has been recognized by companies such as Disney+, Google, The New York Times, Yahoo, & more.

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Starting September 15th, the day before Mexico’s Independence Day, and running till October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month arrives and exists to celebrate Latinès from all over the world. Personally as a Latina, this month is my favorite because we finally have a time to celebrate our vibrant culture and heritage with good food and community. 

One way that I’m advocating we all celebrate this month, is to revisit 5 Latinx classic films that are made and/or featured by Latinx actors or creators because I’m all about authentic representation, and in 2023, we should continue to fight for Latinè voices in front and behind the camera in Hollywood. 

Real Women Have Curves (2002) directed by Patricia Cardoso 
This indie film became a classic for the community and beyond, as the story explores themes such as body image, discrimination, and mother-daughter relationships. Which as some of us may know, themes such as those continue to be taboo in our community.  

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman 
One of my favorite films of all time, admittedly, has been Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This animated film was so exciting for our community as it followed Miles Morales, the first Afro-Latino Spiderman to be introduced to audiences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For a major Superhero company to make Spiderman into an Afro-Latino protagonist, and make him more representative of the diverse young people we see today, was a big win for the community and underrepresented communities all over. 

Blue Beetle (2023) directed by Ángel Manuel Soto 
Now, on the other side of the Superhero universe, we now jump into DC’s Blue Beetle, which is also the company’s first major Latino superhero, and first all-Latinx dominated cast in a movie. The movie was fantastic, as it follows a young college graduate navigating what he wants to do in life post graduation, and navigates feelings of pressure as he is a first generation child of immigrant parents. But then, he finds out that a ‘blue beetle’ has chosen him to be its host. As the story unfolds, the audience follows him along on his journey, along with getting to know his family, which features comedian George Lopez playing character Uncle Rudy. The family, along with the superhero coming-of-age Latino story, makes a fantastic win for Latinx representation in Hollywood. 

Coco (2017) directed by Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich 
How could I write a story about great movies for Latinx representation and not include the Disney animated film, Coco? When this movie came out, I was super excited as not only was this the first animated movie centering a Latino story, but this was also the first animated film from Disney and Pixar that had a Latinx dominated cast. The film explored themes such as the Day of the Dead, family, and the power of music. Also, the soundtrack is incredible, and features famous Latinx artists, and the song Remember Me still always has me in shambles. 

A Million Miles Away (2023) directed by Alejandra Marquez
I am not gonna lie, I was so excited for this movie to come out even before its release. This heartwarming, inspiring film follows the story of Jose Hernandez, a real life NASA flight engineer, who worked as a migrant farm worker in California when he was younger and then continued to work in the United States to chase his dream to become an astronaut. He later became one of the very few Mexican-Americans to have traveled to space. This biopic not only does an incredible job in telling Hernandez’ story, but it also features Michael Peña playing Jose Hernandez, which he does a great job in.

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