Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, “The Latino List” spotlights Latinos from a variety of backgrounds including Cuban, Columbian and Puerto Rican with each interviewee having a different perspective on his or her American success story. This past Tuesday, the Colony Theater was the host to the Miami red carpet premiere of “The Latino List” where Emilio and Gloria Estefan were in attendence. I had the chance to sit down with Greenfield-Sanders, who was born in Miami Beach, minutes before the premiere was to begin at the Colony.
Hialeah Movie Examiner: Timothy, you have directed three volumes of “The Black List”. How did the idea come about to do “The Latino List”?
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: Very early on when we were doing “The Black List”, it seemed clear that we should do other groups of people like the Latinos, one of the biggest minorities in America. When we approached by Ingrid Duran, Catherine Pino and Susan Gonzalez saying “We got to do ‘The Latino List’”, we decided to do it.
HME: At what point during the making of the documentary that wanted Maria Hinojosa to come do the interviews?
TGS: From the very beginning, the great name of journalism in Latin America is Maria Hinojosa. We were determined to get her. She loved “The Black List” and she was an amazing person to conduct the interviews.
HME: Can you try to recall how many hours of footage you shot for the film?
TGS: What you are seeing in the film tonight, which is an hour-long, is 15 people being interviewed. Each person was about four minutes, but we shot an hour with each person and crunched it down to four minutes of perfect monologue. Few people we had a little less time with and some people we had more, but we basically tried to do an hour.
HME: Was there anything you shot that was not in the final cut that you wanted to keep?
TGS: There are a lot of things left on the cutting room floor. We were telling 15 little stories here and we trying to make an arc with those stories. We tried to have a beginning, middle and end. There was lots of stuff that I wish was in the film. I would have like to do a 5-hour long movie.
HME: How did you round up everyone who is involved in “The Latino List”?
TGS: With a film like this, you start with a couple of famous people. Early on, we got Eva Longoria and Sonia Sotomayor. Once we had people like that, it was easier to reach out to someone else and say “Would you like to be in this film with so and so?”
HME: Who was the hardest person to get to do “The Latino List”?
TGS: The hardest person without a question was Sotomayor because as a Supreme Court Justice, she had the busiest schedule. However, we had friends who were friends with her. She saw “The Black List” and was very impressed with it.
HME: As a director who is working with 15 hours of interview footage, how do you choose what to include in the final cut?
TGS: You listen to the hour a couple of times and then you figure out what were the best things that were said. You look for a storyline.
HME: How important is it show a film like this in Miami?
TGS: It’s a film that is just the beginning because there are so many experiences that comprise the Latino experience. We did our best with this one, but there should be a Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 coming soon. There are just so many people that deserve to be in this film.
HME: As a filmmaker, what do you want the audience to take away from this film?
TGS: I think “The Latino List” is an emotional film and I think it shows the great achievements, struggles and identity crisis that surrounds the Latino experience. I hope they will leave with the feeling that they have learned a lot and that they look at Latinos in a different way.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, “The Latino List” will debut tonight on HBO on at 8pm. HBO will run encored of the documentary on October 2, 4, 10 and 15.