The event is free and open to all. The first episode of the new series is being introduced with support from the UA College of Fine Arts; Cox Communications; community partners including the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson Urban League; and media sponsor the Arizona Daily Star.
Moctesuma Esparza, an Academy Award-nominated film and TV producer, entrepreneur and activist, will discuss diversity and opportunity in Hollywood during a new Hanson Film Institute conversation series at the University of Arizona.
Esparza will be the inaugural speaker for "The Hanson Dialogues," a live, onstage talk with top talents and creators in the film and television industry. The April 29 event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Fox Tucson Theatre.
The series of dialogues will be moderated by Peter Murrieta, a Tucson native, UA alumnus and Emmy Award-winning producer and humorist. Audience members will be encouraged to contribute comments and questions.
An industry power player, Esparza has devoted his career to empowering and transforming the images of Latinos in Hollywood.
Because less than 5 percent of actors in top films are Hispanic, Esparza has devoted his efforts to developing talent and distribution pipelines. An early agitator for Mexican-American civil rights, Esparza was a member of the East LA Thirteen, the organizers of the 1968 walkouts by thousands of high school students protesting the inequality of Mexican-Americans.
A graduate of the film school at the University of California, Los Angeles, Esparza has had a career of more than 40 years, including film and television titles that include "Selena," starring Jennifer Lopez in her breakout role; the Robert Redford-directed "The Milagro Beanfield War"; "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," starring Halle Berry; and "Walkout," directed by Edward James Olmos.
"In an age when we're absorbed with technology, there's a great need for civil discourse and interaction with others," said Vicky Westover, the UA's Hanson Film Institute director.
"'The Hanson Dialogues' will focus on film, TV and culture — elements that are so much a part of our lives," Westover said. "We're delighted to be teaming up with UA alum Peter Murrieta to launch the Hanson Film Institute's newest program, and our inaugural guest will address an important topic — the need for diversity in Hollywood to accurately reflect American society."