Harvest Of Empire, A Documentary by Wendy Thompson and Eduardo López to Screen at Hostos

Harvest of Empire, a documentary by Wendy Thompson and Eduardo López based on the ground-breaking book by award-winning journalist Juan González will screen on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 at 7:00pm at the Hostos’s Repertory Theater. Harvest of Empire dives into the past, present and future of Latino immigration in the U.S. over the past half-century. A post-screening discussion with the filmmakers, author and Hostos faculty member Ana María Flores will follow.

Harvest of Empire is highlighted by a series of gripping personal accounts by Latinos – both well-known and obscure – who recount the history of their migrant experiences, while moving seamlessly between their stories and the broader migration saga. In the process, it lays bare the rarely acknowledged story of how U.S. government actions in Latin America propelled millions of Latinos to leave their homelands.

From the territorial expansionist policies that decimated the young economies of Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba, to covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire reveals crucial connections between foreign policy and Latino migration. It is a view, that so far, has been absent from the national discussion over immigration reform.

Harvest of Empire also features animation, stop motion graphics, contemporary news clips, and rare archival material that have not been seen in decades. It includes interviews with such figures as Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Junot Díaz, ACLU Director Anthony Romero, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, renowned Mexican historian Lorenzo Meyer, WWII and Korean War veteran Dr. Gonzalo Garza, Grammy Award winning singer Luis Enrique, poet Martín Espada and Harvest of Empire author Juan González.

In light of the anti-immigration fervor so prevalent from Arizona to the halls of Congress, the hope of the filmmakers is their documentary will spark civil dialogue and help to:

  • Change minds and reframe prevailing notions about immigration through the inspiring stories included in the film that serve to highlight the many  contributions that Latinos make to our culture, economy and society.
  • Challenge negative stereotypes and hateful language being used about immigrants that is disseminated by the mainstream media.
  • Raise awareness about the true origins of the Latino presence in the U.S and develop a deeper understanding for the real life impact of the U.S. foreign policy.

The production team for the documentary, Harvest of Empire, includes:

Producer – Wendy Thompson, President and CEO of the Onyx Media Group and EVS Communications, Inc., has been described by the Washington Business Journal as “dedicated and powerful,” for nearly 12 years. Thompson was Vice President of ZGS Broadcast Holdings, a minority-owned commutations company where she supervised the daily operations and advertising sales of 11 Telemundo Network affiliates that included stations in Boston, Providence, El Paso, Hartford, Raleigh, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Myers. Her commitment to the Latino community has been recognized by a number of organizations, including the National Conference for Community and Justice, which awarded her the 2004 Media and Community Service Award.

Producer/ Director – Eduardo López is the co-founder of EVS Communications and the producer of Línea Directa, an award-winning, Spanish-language television series that provides Latino families living in the Washington DC metropolitan area with information on their rights, as well as important health, education, legal and social service issues. López was named a winner of the Ford Foundation’s prestigious 2002 Leadership for a Changing World Award.

Director / Editor – Peter Getzels is an Emmy-winning documentary director, producer and cinematographer, noted for high-concept, cutting edge films which have been distributed around the world. Currently, he is executive producer, director and writer at Getzels Gordon Productions, a new independent production company in Washington DC where he is leading a team in the production of an ambitious 117 episode science series on Cosmology, Consciousness and God for PBS. Prior to that, Getzels was a staff producer at National Geographic, where he produced a major, four-part series on ancient Egypt for National Geographic Film and Television. He also directed, shot and wrote a number of award-winning documentaries for the flagship series Explorer and Ultimate Explorer. Prior to joining National Geographic, Getzels, along with his partner Harriet Gordon, headed an award-winning independent production company (Getzels Gordon Ltd.) in England where they produced, shot and wrote documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 (UK), ZDF, Canal Plus and the Discovery Channel. Getzels did hid PhD work in anthropology at the London School of Economics and has a MFA from the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield.

Editor – Catherine Shields is a multiple Emmy-winning editor with more than 25 years of experience at the highest levels of production. She has edited two Oscar winning films for Best Documentary Short, “The Johnstown Flood” and “A Time for Justice,” both directed by the legendary Charles Guggenheim. Shields also edited the Oscar-nominated feature documentary, “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey,” directed by his son, George Stevens, Jr. her national Emmys were won for her work on “The Kennedy Center Honors,” and the “AFI Tribute to Lillian Gish,” as well as for the film, “George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin.” Shields has worked closely with Peter Getzels for three years, and her work has been shown ob CBS. NBC, PBS, BBC and the National Geographic Channel.

The screening schedule of Harvest of Empire is as follows:

Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Hostos Repertory Theater, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y. 10452

Admission: Free with ticket obtained in the box office. Box office & info: 718-518-4455

By subway: take the IRT trains to 149th Street (Eugenio María de Hostos Boulevard) and the Grand Concourse

By bus: take the Bx1 or cross-town Bx19 to 149th Street (Eugenio María de Hostos Boulevard) and the Grand Concourse.

Admission: Free with ticket obtained in the box office. Box office & info: 718-518-4455

About Hostos Community College

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2012 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 10,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.