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Media of Color

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 13, 2005 3:57PM

Chicagoist has seen plenty of films that would have been improved had we not been able to understand the dialogue (we’re thinking here of most of the Brittany Murphy oeuvre). But thanks to a push over the last year by two local theater chains, more Spanish-speaking Latino moviegoers will be able to enjoy Oscar-bait films this season.

The Chicago Tribune reports today
on the efforts of the Inner City Entertainment and Classic Cinemas to provide films with Spanish subtitles. ICE Theaters in Lawndale and Englewood now show films with Spanish subtitles as does the Classic Cinema’s Carpentersville location. As Latinos “typically attend 12 movies a year, compared with an average of nine for other ethnic groups,” more chains are catering to this market, including such niche offerings as Cinema Latino, a chain out west that employs Spanish-speaking employees and features Latino décor and music.

2005_12_13_epitafios.jpgWith census numbers indicating that the U.S. Hispanic population is accounting for one-half of this country’s population growth, more media companies are finally beginning to offer increased diversity in their programming.

Last week, Phil Rosenthal discussed the increase in Hispanic actors on some of the most popular television shows. In addition, HBO carries the show Epitafios, a crime drama entirely in Spanish with English subtitles, though it is only available on their offshoot channel, HBO Signature. Finally, ABC made television history by elevating Elizabeth Vargas to its top network anchor position when she begins co-hosting World News Tonight on January 3rd with co-chost Bob Woodruff. She’s the first Hispanic person to host a network evening news program.

Chicagoist is pleased to see more diversity in the media even if it was partially responsible for “Freddie” making it to air.