Los Angeles

Upcoming Film Set in East LA Draws Criticism Over Portrayal of Latinos

A community organization claims the movie perpetuates East Los Angeles stereotypes.

As film crews strike the set at an East Los Angeles auto body shop, controversy in the community lingers over the film's storyline.

Eastside Cafe, an El Sereno community organization, has criticized the film with Eva Longoria and Demian Bichir on the acting roster, saying the movie perpetuates Latino stereotypes.

According to Variety, the untitled film called is "an inspirational youth culture movie set in the East Los Angeles world of lowrider cars and street tagging."

Upset over the production, Eastside Cafe put up a window sign reading "Eastside Cafe does not support Low Rider film exploitation."

"Those are type of films that show extreme stereotypic caricatures of our community, low riders, gang members, stuff like that," said Eastside Cafe coordinator Roberto Flores. "There's much more here than that."

The Eastside Cafe has also detailed its dissatisfaction with the production on its Facebook page.

"El Sereno is a community that has a very recent and vivid history with gang violence. We do not appreciate the perpetuation of this stereotype in our community," a Facebook post read.

"This is disrespectful and exploiting a deep wound that runs in our streets … We are tired of racist Hollywood portraying our gente, appropriating our culture and continuing to create narratives that stereotype violence in our neighborhood."

Flores is demanding a detailed treatment of the script, input from the community to ensure positive portrayals and calling on others to take action.

"To us, drive-bys are real," Flores said. "They're not movie, Hollywood."

Others in the community welcome the film.

"It brings exposure to Latino community that we need in this business," resident Angel Carretino said.

Longoria's publicists released a statement to NBC4 that said "Eva would never do anything that insulted the Latino community, she fights for the Latino community in her longtime advocacy."

According to community website Enclave LA, members of Eastside Cafe and the community met with film producers to discuss the situation and will be meeting with them again on Tuesday.

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