The Internet is more than just a window into the big, wide world. It is a window into worlds that you can’t often see from here. If you are a minority American, someone not of the majority culture, you know what I mean.
If you are someone who is different — different ethnic background, different tastes in music, books or movies — then it is natural to want to link up with others who share your background or interests. This is one of the benefits of broadband Internet access. With a high-speed connection, no one is truly isolated. On the Web, you can find people, ideas, and cultures that fit.
This is one reason why the One Economy campaign advocates for bringing broadband access to every household and why One Economy encourages families to get connected. The advantages are plenty — economic, educational and, of course, cultural.
Movies are one area where the cultural divide is stark. For the most part, the old Hollywood cranks out movies designed for one thing — to put teenagers in the theater seats. So much of Hollywood’s production is along the lines of “Fast Five” — hey, guys, it’s in IMAX! — or “Something Borrowed.”
That’s great entertainment for boys (fast cars and gunfire) or girls (complicated twenty-something love lives), but maybe not for all of us.
But there is a new Hollywood out there, trying for something different.
One of the new Hollywood players is Maya Entertainment, a Hispanic-owned company guided by Moctesuma Esparza (“Selena,” “Gettysburg,” “The Milano Beanfield War”) and Jeff Valdez (Sí TV, QuePasa.com). The company wants to fill up theaters — that hasn’t changed —but it is developing new material aimed at an audience with mixed backgrounds and mixed tastes.
“Maya Entertainment,” said Moctesuma Esparza, the company’s founder, co-chairman, and CEO, “broadly is interested in movies that reflect the demographic reality in the United States, the new mainstream, which is a multicultural mainstream.”
A Game-Changing Movie
The other day, a colleague sent me a link to a trailer for one of Maya Entertainment’s movies. It is unusual — nothing blows up, and it is not a romantic comedy. Instead, it is a story that is truthful, engaging, and thought provoking, with a bit of the supernatural and a lot of searching for personal redemption.
The movie is “Sympathy for Delicious.” Actor Mark Ruffalo — of “13 Going on 30” and “The Kids Are All Right,” which earned him an Oscar nomination — produced and directed “Sympathy for Delicious,” his first time behind the camera. He also has a role in the film as Father Joe, a priest who encounters a down-and-out man, “Delicious D,” played by Christopher Thornton. ”D,” once an up-and-coming DJ in L.A., was in an accident and left paralyzed and in despair, living out of his car and holding no hope.
Through Father Joe, who isn’t quite the kindly and caring priest, “D” discovers he has a strange power — he can heal. He can heal anyone who has the faith, anyone but himself. This discovery leads “D” to unexpected fame, notoriety, and whole new piles of trouble and pain.
Other roles in “Sympathy for Delicious” are played by Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, and Juliette Lewis. It is an interesting cast. The movie is already on the screen in Los Angeles (Laemmle Sunset 5) and New York (Village East Cinema) and opens Thursday in Washington (West End Cinema).
The movie was a long time coming for Ruffalo, who spent years trying to sell the idea. “Everyone kept telling me: ‘Who wants to see a story about an unknown actor in a wheelchair?’” he told the Web site IndieWIRE.
“Sympathy for Delicious” is a gem; the trailer makes this clear, and I’m definitely making plans to see it. Maybe you will, too. You can watch it here — “Sympathy for Delicious” — but only if you have a broadband connection.
Ava L. Parker of Jacksonville, Florida, is the president of Linking Solutions Inc., a business-development and community-outreach firm, and a partner in the law firm of Lawrence & Parker, PA., and the voice of The AvaView, a blog on digital action and consumer protection.