LatinExcellence: Carolina Garcia is proud to be in the rooms where it takes place on Netflix


Born in Argentina and raised in Clermont, California, Garcia was always a natural artist. She started dancing when she was 4 years old and at one point aspired to attend Juilliard. That is, until she was hooked on an action-drama series about a counter-terrorism agent played by Kiefer Sutherland. It was great television, his passion, and later, the pursuit of two passions – television and entertainment, helped propel his career path.

“For whatever reason, that show provided like a light bulb moment for me,” she said.

With zero connections in the industry – her parents waited 13 years to immigrate to the US from Argentina and eventually did so with three kids “and a little prayer” – she had no shame in “playing the student card” to get People meet him and discuss his ambitions. Her family motto is “sooma el toro por las astas“(grab the bull by the horns) – and so did he.

She eventually landed an internship at what was called 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produced her favorite shows, and a door was opened.

“During my first internship, which wasn’t paid, I used to travel four hours every day to the Fox lot, but I wanted it so badly, I was like, ‘I don’t care. I’m here Making connections. I am doing a good job,” she said.

After nine years at Fox and counting at Netflix, she’s still doing a good job at the company as director of original series.

Finding a Latinx person on Garcia’s level in Hollywood is a Well noted Rarity.

For executives to decide – unilaterally or, as in Garcia’s case, as part of a team – which projects are bought or which writers, directors and actors are hired. They are considered the ultimate gatekeepers in the industry because they spend money and influence what creatives are – or are not – invested in.

It’s important to have Latinx leaders in all corners of the industry – they are needed in marketing as much as they need department heads on set – but without representation at the top, meaningful change will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. .

Permanent change is what Netflix hopes to achieve with its recently announced plan to invest $100 million to help make its programming more inclusive.

“Netflix has become very aware of where we as a company need to be better and has committed real dollars to helping it,” Garcia said.

Part of that initiative, Garcia said, will include raising money for organizations and programs to help “find” creatives from underrepresented groups and “give them the tools to excel.”

“It’s not about lowering the bar in any way. It’s about opening up the possibilities from where excellence can come,” she said.

Beneficiaries will include the Latino Film Institute of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.

“I love when people in our culture shine,” Garcia said. “It’s just a good thing, you know, la gente. The world needs more of this – not at the expense of anyone else – but I want us as a people to be proud of who we are and what we do.”

pride and joy. Too often, Garcia said, Latinx stories focus on pain or trauma, which is far from the full story of the culture.

“We’re a happy bunch,” she said. “One of the issues that we call trauma stories is that people come up and say ‘We’re going to tell this really sad story about being Latino or being an immigrant. Then I say, ‘Okay, what are you making this for? Who are you trying to invite to that experience?’ For me, it’s as much about showcasing Latinos in hero roles and hero positions as we are here doing it. It’s not really reflected on the screen.”

There is now even more attention being paid to who studios and networks choose to tell stories about underrepresented groups. The debate – for example, whether only Latinx creators should tell Latinx stories – is a complex debate with heated opinions on both sides. Garcia fears that setting too-strong rules in any way will ultimately limit creators’ opportunities.

“Bad result, in my opinion only Latinos can tell Latino stories. Only white people can tell white people’s stories. Only black people can tell black people’s stories. Because I’m in rooms for Latinos and blacks in white stories.” Latinos also want to work as creators,” she said. “I think if someone comes in and is telling a story about a Latino family and they’re not Latino themselves, that’s fine. The important piece is making sure that we get to share the series with the writers, directors, and actors.” who have authentically lived that experience, so that they can inform the authenticity of storytelling.”

In the end, Garcia said, authenticity is hard to imitate and one’s lived experience, more often than not, will end up brighter.

“As a human being who sees things, I love when I watch something on TV and they strike a flair that makes me think, ‘This is my family. Like, there’s a baby Jesus is in every drawer of the house or, like, someone talks to his mom 150 times a day,” she said, shortly after accepting the ping on her phone that her mom texted her. “That moment of connection between someone you see on screen and your experience, it makes you feel like, ‘Oh, I’m not alone in the world.’ I want people to feel less alone in the world.”

This, he said, includes Latinx people of different experiences and backgrounds.

“If we can provide a place for people to watch, it makes you feel better,” she said. “And I think we all deserve to feel a little better.”

Q&A:

Name: Carolina Garcia

work: Director of Original Series at Netflix

Shows I’ve worked on: “Stranger Things,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Atypical,” “Rising Dion”

Years in Entertainment: 14 years

Master: Dana Walden (President of Entertainment at Walt Disney Television), Brian Wright (Former Head of Overall Deals at Netflix), Cindy Holland (Former Vice President of Original Content at Netflix) and Bella Bajaria (Head of Global TV at Netflix).

Latina…de donde?: Second American generation, born in Argentina and raised in Clermont, California.

Latinx Tropes I’ll Forever Disappear: “All Latinos who have money are drug lords.”

Latinx actor/actress I think will be a big star one day: “Olga Meredez, who plays Abuela Claudia in ‘In the Heights,’ because I love watching people find new breakthroughs in the middle of their careers. And Manuel García-Rulfo. He’s already a star, but we He’s been cast in his series ‘Lincoln Lauer.’ Plus, Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera and Edgar Ramirez.

Latinx TV Shows I Wish Everyone Was Watching/Watched: “‘On My Block’ has a fierce love and a raging following and I want more people to like and watch it.”

The overly-used line that officials say when passing a Latinx project: “We already have a Latino show.”

Here’s what I think all officials can do to better represent Latinx on television: “We can be more intentional about where we seek out writers and where we uncover and discover talent. I also think it is essential for Latinos to show themselves on talent. Connecting people There are many ways to show your craft for or for people and to be discovered. I think in terms of executives and decision-makers, recognize the talent that, honestly, like me, to come out of the gate Not perfect. But the thing I do know about Latinos is that we are avatars if possible attitude. Ultimately, the next generation needs to know that they can be the changers of the future. You can actually build a wonderful life and a wonderful career and be involved in many of these decisions. you just have to ‘Toma El Toro Por Las Astas‘ And go for it!

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