Thursday, April 7, 2011

Machetes, Mariachis & Spy Kids: Elizabeth Avellán Speaks at UT

After an evening with Elizabeth Avellán, there was an air of hope whistling through the rafters of the film industry. To be in the presence of such a successful woman in film, was truly the best way to celebrate culture, humanity and the love of cinema! The Benson Latin American Collection's 9th annual ¡A Viva Voz! also featured an art showcase with items from various productions that were filmed at Troublemaker Studios, items from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema and Cine las Americas. To top off a fabulous night, guests were provided with delicious refreshments from El Meson. It was a fabulous night!

Avellán was introduced by Dr. Charles Ramirez-Berg, a favorite among the students in the School of Communications at the University of Texas. Ramirez-Berg took a few minutes to emphasize the importance of Avellán’s work and her approach to film making. Filmmaking is an intricate mesh of creativity and business, this is not an easy task to balance. Film costs are high, money and time are precious resources, and the mix of these pressures sometimes triggers fears and ignites explosive tempers. He then talked about his experience on her film sets, saying that “There is so much difference on her sets when compared to other sets; people were working hard, happy and content, and there were no shouting matches. He said that working with Avellán was very organic. Most importantly, he said that “In a business with a bottom line, Avellán treats people with respect, diligence, successfully combining professionalism with humanity.” These aspects of working in the film industry are often overlooked, and Avellán’s work is a new corner stone in a world of business that is dominated by men.

Avellán spoke of other experiences of discrimination that were directed towards her from male co-workers, but in the end she utilized these instances to create a better mode of production.
She said that being a producer is like being a mom.” A producer has to contend with 150 people who have relationships, children, careers, and various other problems. These situations may not be important to the film, but they affect the labor produced by each employee and these problems need to be solved with care. There will always be bad apples in the working world, but Avellán suggested that filmmakers find good people who have values similar to their own, treat them right and they may turn out to be life long allies.


The over all message received was just a lovely reminder of the golden rule, treat people the way you wish to be treated. Avellán has contributed so much to the film industry and she is a shining example of how hard work and perseverance really do pay off. Her attitude, work ethic, and dedication set a beautiful example for women and men alike. It is so good to know that people like her are leading the way to a new future in film! was touched by such a loving introduction, talked with the crowd of her experiences. Her family was raised in the film industry. moved to the United States from Venezuela. She worked hard to learn English, finished high school, and was even accepted to Rice University at 16. As a young adult, she encountered

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