SEP 19, 2019 1:45 PM
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Gregory Nava, director of the Latino films “El Norte,” “My Family” and “Selena” and creator of the Latino series “American Family,” has been added to the lineup for the second annual Chaz and Roger Ebert Symposium, coming Sept. 27 to the University of Illinois campus.
Nava will close out the day-long event – focused on inclusion and diversity in movies and the media – in a conversation about his career and challenges, his efforts to honor diversity in his filmmaking and his vision for the film industry going forward.
As previously announced, Stacy Smith, the founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, will lead the symposium as the keynote speaker. Panel discussions throughout the day will feature academics, journalists and media experts addressing the present and future of diversity in film, journalism, advertising and communication.
The symposium, named in part for the late film critic Roger Ebert, will be held at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 S. First St., Champaign. The event is free and open to the public, though online registration is encouraged.
Nava first became well known as a filmmaker with “El Norte,” released in the U.S. in 1984, which follows the trek of a brother and sister fleeing Guatemala for the U.S. and a new life as undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles. Ebert would later describe it as a “’Grapes of Wrath’ for our time.”
The screenplay by Nava and co-writer Anna Thomas was nominated for both an Oscar and a Writer’s Guild of America Award. His “American Family” series for PBS was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Among other honors, Nava has received the Hispanic Heritage Award for the Arts, and lifetime achievement awards from both the National Council of La Raza and the Imagen Foundation.
“El Norte” and “Selena” have both been screened at Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, otherwise known as “Ebertfest.”