The National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC) and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) today denounce the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science (AMPAS) for discriminating against the Puerto Rico film industry by expelling them from entry into the Foreign Language Film category.
In a letter from AMPAS Executive Director Bruce Davis to the Puerto Rico Film Commission, he indicated that Puerto Rican film professionals are considered “home grown” and that by continuing to allow Puerto Rico entry into the category “other filmmakers around the world, as well as audiences, might be inclined to think that favoritism had played a greater role than artistry in the selection.”
“The OSCARS are the standard in motion picture respect and recognition. This misguided decision by AMPAS to expel the Puerto Rico film industry from the Foreign Language Film category after years of inclusion seems to be an attempt to solve a public relations issue unrelated to Puerto Rico,” stated Rafael A. Fantauzzi, President & CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition. “We believe this is a typical example of an institution suffering from lack of diversity in its staff and their Board of Governors. We encourage the Academy to enforce its own regulation and not engage in misdirected strategies that can negatively impact foreign language film businesses unable to compete with the big studios.” said Fantauzzi.
“Unless the OSCARS have been granted authority by the U.S. government, to unilaterally proclaim Puerto Rico, the 51st U.S. state, the Academy should review their U.S. history and recognize Puerto Rico’s sovereignty and therefore its right, under established Academy rules, to submit films under the Foreign Language Film category” said Felix Sanchez, Chairman and Co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, “otherwise this is clearly an action adopted by the Academy specifically to inflict economic damage, equivalent to a trade embargo, against the Puerto Rican film industry,” concluded Sanchez.
NPRC and NHFA encourage inclusion and diversity in the film industry.