'Nuestra familia' fights to stay on air
For 20 years, Nuestra Familia, a family-oriented program produced by San Antonio-based Hispanic Telecommunications Network, has covered topics including single motherhood, immigration, health care, teen sexuality, and Catholicism through a faith-based lens.
The flagship program of HTN, a non-profit network specializing in religious, Spanish-language programming, Nuestra Familia airs on nearly 20 broadcast and cable television stations from Yakima, Washington to Carolina, Puerto Rico. It is broadcast locally Sundays at 10 a.m. on Telemundo KVDA, Channel 60, and cablecast on CTSA, a Catholic-themed station on Channel 15 Sundays and Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Yet, airtime costs could force the program off the local Telemundo broadcast affiliate. While other television stations treat Nuestra Familia as community-oriented programming and donate time to air it, KVDA charges HTN $1,200 a week. Including HTN's production costs, each weekly episode of Nuestra Familia runs about $3,000, said Clarissa Barrera, HTN marketing director.
The program is funded by the U.S. Catholic Conference Communications Campaign and public donations. To help cover airtime costs, HTN is asking viewers to help raise additional money through a telethon that launches next week.
Barrera emphasized that Telemundo has been lenient with HTN.
"Telemundo hasn't said 'We'll take you off the air,' but it's harder to make the $1,200 payment," she said. "Telemundo has been very good for us. Sometimes we get extra airings and we're a little behind on the payments and they've kept it on."
KVDA did not return calls by press time.
Without additional donations, Barrera said that Nuestra Familia could be off Telemundo by January. While viewers who have cable can watch the program on CTSA, many cannot afford cable service and rely on KVDA for it.
Since the program launched in 1984, its themes have changed with the times. "Back then a family was mom and dad and two kids. Now there are a lot of single-parent homes," Barrera said. "We recently did a program about a woman who was the only person bringing money into the family. It's a great alternative to regular telenovelas; it's a really positive program."
On Sunday, December 5 at 10 a.m., HTN will air a special program to kick off its "keep us on" telethon.
HTN is looking for volunteers to participate to take or make pledge calls to viewers from 5:30-8 p.m., November 30-December 2 and December 7-9. Volunteers must be fluent in Spanish. Call 227-5959 Ext. 110 or log on to www.htn.org for more information. •
By Lisa Sorg
Make it a GLBT, no cheese
The Diversity Center is seeking submissions for In the Limelight, their First Annual LBGT International Film Festival, scheduled for the week of Fiesta, April 14-17. Original films and videos "by, about, or of interest to gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender people" will be accepted from January 15-February 28. All formats, except experimental, and works in progress that meet certain criteria, are eligible. For more information, application forms, and guidelines, visit www.glccsa.org/Main/Filmfestival/Default.htm.
New Vistas Scholarship Competition
The New Vistas in Video Festival, sponsored by the multimedia program at Northwest Vista College, will celebrate its sixth year this January 29 by awarding six $600 scholarship prizes to any of the four Alamo Community College District community colleges. Winners and runners-up will be featured at a special screening during the festival. The judges include documentarian Ray Santiesban, Jim LaVilla-Havelin of the Southwest School of Art & Craft's Young Artist Program, and independent curator Jennifer Jankauskas. Entries are being accepted until December 16. For more info, contact Renata Serafin at 348-2082.
Applications are being accepted through December 6 for the 2005 SXSW Film Festival - the most important film festival in Texas and arguably one of the most prestigious in the country - which runs March 11-19 in Austin. Works in progress are not eligible unless they will be completed by February 20, but submissions may be made in several categories, including narrative short, narrative feature, documentary short and feature, animated short, experimental short, and music video. Films can screen in any format, but entries must be in video. Postmark date to guarantee consideration is December 6, and the entry fee is $25 for shorts and $35 for features. For more information, visit http://2005.sxsw.com/film/.