The Cuban Allure
Through many decades Cuba has maintained a key position within Latin America as well as worldwide and Fidel Castro’s almost mythical aura endures more than 45 years after it began. Whether one disagrees with his politics or not, Fidel Castro undeniably enjoys international notoriety that is presently unparalleled by any other world leader. No other current persona commands a greater prominence with so much of today’s international public. Arguably, Fidel Castro remains the most recognizable living person on the planet.
The romanticized vision of Cuba the country, its people and its revolution persists. The glory days of Fidel and Ché should have long past. However, our media often demonstrates a potential for conflict that can still elicit impassioned emotions that run much farther than from Havana to Miami. In spite of this, the vivid central aspects surrounding the Cuban Revolution have yet to be definitively enacted cinematically. Any film that finally portrays Castro in his infamy and candidly prehends the Cuban revolution has built-in publicity opportunities, which no amount of advertising or savvy public relations spending could ever purchase.
Many controversies continue. How did Castro actually secure power? Why the break with the United States and why a Communist totalitarian state? How was the Cuban revolution betrayed? Thus far, any focused portrayal has glamorized and candy-coated reality. TRAITORS (a working title) effectively unveils mysteries of the revolution and its leaders, exposing Castro the despot and the cruelties of his regime. It develops an important court room, political drama while its love story achieves a healing tenderness to touch the hearts of people everywhere who have suffered and endured, whether for love or for personal conviction. In a world of strife and hatred it continues to champion compassion and humanity.
Crossing At The Intersection
dynamic nature of the characters and their story will spark interest well beyond
the expansive Latin communities. Youthful characters confronting mature
conflicts within universal themes, assures TRAITORS a market with
young and old movie audiences. It gives TRAITORS a significant crossover
potential with strong worldwide commercial possibilities. In TRAITORS,
love, action- adventure, and deep personal drama share a spotlight with history.
censuses have recorded the large growth of the US Hispanic population, which now
comprises 40 million, 12.5% of the total U.S. population. Over 70% of U.S.
Hispanics are under forty. According to a recent survey by the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA), the Latino audience spends over $110/person on
movies alone, seeing an average of 10 to 11 movies a year, which makes up 15
percent of total U.S. film admissions
Hispanics nationwide spent $585 billion in 2002, up from $490.7 billion in
2000 and $223 billion spent in 1990 (in 2000, 3.6% or $1,179 per/person on
'entertainment'). Far exceeding the non-Hispanic growth-rate increase,
Hispanics’ total annual spending is projected to balloon to $926.1 billion
by 2007 and $1 trillion by 2008. Yet U.S. Hispanics remain the most
underserved group by today's American media.
the new millennium, this rapid Hispanic expansion continues, to grow five
times faster than the general US population and is expected to reach 33% of
the U.S. population by the year 2040. Currently however, the native
Spanish-speaking population already exceeds 370 million [see VI. MID/LOW
BUDGET FILM’S MARKETING CRITERIA:
When Hollywood’s previous efforts to portray Hispanic subjects have fallen short, it has been because of insensitive casting and tactless storylines Dedicated artistic integrity, regard for authenticity, cultural relevance and avoiding offensive stereotyping is vital in gaining acceptance and reaching these, increasingly more sophisticated, populations.
Hispanics are composed of people from different countries, US Hispanics
possess many of the ‘typically American’ values, great loyalty to family,
religious faith, a strong work ethic, enduring patriotism and a strong
connection to their native lands. Cuban-Americans are particularly fervent
about their roots. They are politically active; their children tend to be
fully bilingual with a higher than average educational level [see VIII.
APPENDICIES: B. - Showtime’s FIDEL, a
they would change the world.
Rob is a young loner, in search of direction. A young Cuban, Adela, with her deep idealistic conviction and a close-knit family, intrigues his desolate psyche. A passionate bond arises between them while they connect with Fidel Castro and his rebel band as the revolution triumphs in 1959. Adela and Rob’s blossoming romance is hampered by personal conflicts and by clashing political affiliations within a new revolutionary Cuban government. A bitter breakup of their love affair is finalized during a trial for high treason of popular Cuban rebel-leaders. With Machiavellian cunning, Fidel manipulates the outcome of the riveting military trial to total advantage. He subverts the rule of law, vanquishing all opposition within a budding new government. Personal freedoms are sacrificed in Fidel’s frenzy of fear, amidst his cries for national security. A new Cuban power structure quickly takes shape as Rob and Adela take different paths and painfully separate fully. Despondent and unable to forget each other, their final encounter occurs soon after, in New York City, and renews a faith in the prevailing virtues of human nature and the possibilities for triumph of the human spirit [extended synopsis and full script also available].
II. THE HISTORICAL GENRE: THE PROFIT POTENTIAL EDGE
While the Hispanic marketplace remains largely untapped traditional support for epic films involving, adventurous, accurately portrayed, historical events continue capturing the imagination and interest of audiences everywhere. Before such impassioned legendaries as Gone With the Wind or Doctor Zhivago, time has evidenced the strength of the historical drama with a great consistency. Whether in a movie about WW-II, Vietnam, an American presidential assassination, the Holocaust or a transatlantic voyage, well-made films directly based on actual historical events continue to realize their potential. More recently, prominent films such as JFK (1992 / World Wide Theatrical Gross: $205.4 M), Schindler’s List (1993 / W. W. Theatrical Gross: $317.M), Apollo 13 (1995 / W. W. Theatrical Gross and Domestic Video: $418.8.M), Saving Private Ryan (1998 / $479.4M / W. W. Theatrical Gross alone) and Titanic (1999 / W. W. Theatrical Gross: $1.84B) have led the way. Most recently, The Passion was rejected by every major studio prior to being made. What these successes have in common are dramatic accounts of widely known events, which also diligently capture the life and times during which they occur. Audiences not only become absorbed by the storyline but are also intrigued by the provocative aspects of the historical events depicted. With intelligent casting, a culturally relevant, historically faithful, action-adventure, romantic drama, which intertwines with Fidel Castro and events of the Cuban revolution, such as Traitors, has evident, double-edged commercial potential [please see: VIII. APPENDICIES: A. 1-3 – Film script endorsements].
VI. MID/LOW BUDGET FILMS’ MARKETING CRITERIA
40 Million, first-generation
U.S. Hispanics are most comfortable speaking Spanish in home, social and
business environments, the preferred use of Spanish is diluted in second and
third generations. Sixty-five percent of second-generation Hispanics designated
English as the language they had the “most comfort” in speaking; in
third-generation Hispanics, this number increased to over seventy percent.
In any language, reaching a mere five percent (5%) of this potential in 2003, at an average $8.00/ticket, would have translated into over $16 million in gross theatrical-box-office only receipts in the U.S. 2003 U.S. video sales and rentals outpaced theatrical spending 2.7-1, across the board. Thus, 5% of that Hispanic-only spending would translate to $40-$50 million in U.S.-only, video revenue. Finally, reaching 5% (at $2.50/ticket average) of only Hispanics, worldwide, would translate to $50 million in box-office-only, Hispanic-only sales!
film marketing to be successful, it should be well conceived and wisely
executed. A marketing design, as intended for Traitors,
could also improve on the normal risk vs. returns Hollywood marketing
U.S. Hispanics have been increasing throughout, seventy-six percent of the U.S.
Hispanic population primarily resides in the metropolitan centers of six states:
CA/33%, TX/21%, NY/11%, FL/6%, IL/5%, AZ/5%. An intelligently conceived
and executed marketing campaign would strategically target these six core U.S.
Hispanic audiences statewide and would expand its marketing and distribution
from this core.
media still offers one of the better buys in the marketing world, at lower
‘costs-per-thousand’ (CPMs) than general-audience media, with attractive
volume discounts in television, radio and print.
Along with its genre advantage, current population concentrations will
also avail Traitors a cost effective
marketing that minimizes initial promotional costs and further increases its
Mr. Valenti also noted that the largest film audience by age is the 12-to-24 brackets, accounting for 39% of attendance. The Hispanic population is a youthful one, with a median age of 25.9, compared to 36 for the total population (70% of Hispanics under 40 in the 2000 census.) The use of the available Internet marketing possibilities, as currently provided by several prominent Spanish-language and Hispanic-oriented but English-based ISPs, allows for preliminary, low-cost crossover momentum, again increasing profit/risk potential to the investor.
this leads to the conclusion that an articulate, Hispanic, bicultural, youth
marketing approach for TRAITORS, can
serve as financially prudent promotional criteria to precede its successful,
broader, and multinational, ‘crossover’ expansion [see:
VIII. APPENDICIES: A. 1-3 - Film Script Endorsements
B. - News Clippings].
1. "National Minority Buying Power" - Annual study by the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business and the Selig Center for Economic Growth.
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