A group of Latinas in the entertainment industry have recently focused on accomplished Latina women producers, writers, directors and actresses.  Together, these Latinas are members of an organized and support network of thirty-five women.  Comprised of creatively strong individuals, this alliance intends to promote, encourage and mentor other Latinas wanting to get into the film and television arena.  As this decade’s pioneers, these women are committed to the responsibility of helping their own to overcome existing color barriers.

Cheryl Quintana Leader’s “TantoTiempo” (So Much Time) is the story of an assimilated Latina woman making the discovery of her past, much like Leader.  Her story won the Hispanic Film Project, a collaboration between Universal and the National Hispanic Media Coalition.  First-time writer, director and producer, Leader prepped her production in five weeks, shot in eleven locations (from Palm Springs to Olvera Street) in five days, managed a cast and crew of over a hundred people, and self-generated over $150,000 of outside donations in equipment and services from over fifty corporations.

A UCLA graduate in English and Women’s Studies, most of Leader’s project experience originally came from being an instructor’s assistant for UCLA’s Film & Television Certificate Program, writing and directing for the Beverly Hills Playhouse and completing two initial video projects: a documentary on homeless women and children, titled “Women and Children First,” and “Women In Motion” for UCLA’s women’s athletic department.

“In the American tradition, my father expected my mother and his children to be properly ‘Anglo-sized’ in order to be accepted.  It’s hard for me to completely comprehend and understand the Latino-American experience because I didn’t even have one,” says Leader, who lives in West Los Angeles.  “Latinos know what’s real and they don’t have to put on any mask.  It’s this inner strength that I identify with most,” Leader says of reclaiming her past, “and if my stories can inspire thought and create awareness, then I feel successful.