Amy Serrano

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Amy Serrano
Amy Serrano.JPG
Amy Serrano, New Orleans, 2012
Born (1966-11-08) November 8, 1966 (age 53)
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationBachelor of Arts, Sociology and Anthropology
OccupationFilmmaker, author, human rights activist.
Known forDocumentaries

Amy Serrano (born November 8, 1966 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban-American filmmaker, author and human rights activist. She is most well known for her critically acclaimed documentary, The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers on the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic. She has also produced and directed several documentaries for PBS. She is a women and children's rights activist.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in a post-revolutionary Cuba, and into a life of poverty and oppression, after being forced to separate from her family and home,[1] Serrano was relocated to Miami as a political refugee.

Serrano attended Florida International University and graduated with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in International Relations with a focus on International Organizations and Human Rights. She also has certificates in Leadership Studies from Harvard University - the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Universidad Menendez Pelayo in Spain, Gallup University in D.C, the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington D.C.[citation needed]


Adios Patria? The Cuban Exodus[edit]

Serrano's first work was as a producer for the PBS documentary Adios Patria? The Cuban Exodus. The film recalls the dramatic stories of Cubans fleeing their homeland, unfolding onto the shores of South Florida. It features a wide range of interviews, from liberals to the conservative, and includes the horror stories of the journey of several Cubans.[2] The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia.[3]

Cafe Con Leche: Voices of Exiles Children[edit]

Serrano executive produced the PBS broadcast and Emmy-Award-nominated Cafe con Leche: Voices of Exiles' Children. The film is an introspective look at the first wave of Cuban exiles who came to the United States, who are now young adults. The film focuses on a group of young Cubans called "Generation ners", who discuss their bi-cultural lives as Cuban-Americans.[4][3]


Serrano wrote, produced and directed the U.S. co-production for the feature-length film MOVE! Produced in Rome, Italy and distributed through film festivals and television in Europe, MOVE! is a fictional film composed of short films by 11 filmmakers on six continents exploring the dispassionate state of humanity through varied emotions.[5]

The Sugar Babies[edit]

Serrano shot, produced, wrote and directed the feature-length documentary The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers on the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic. "Narrated by award-winning Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat and composed of field recordings coupled with outside testimony, the film explores the lives of the descendants of the first Africans delivered to the island of Hispaniola for the bittersweet commodity that once ruled the world."[3]

The film was scored by Bill Cruz and features music by Bola de Nieve, Solomon Burke and the Blind Boys of Alabama, Kenny Rankin, Alberto Beltran and original musical field recordings sung by the children in film.

Other film work[edit]

Serrano's body of work includes directing and producing the PBS broadcast A Woman's Place: Voices of Contemporary Hispanic-American Women featuring Isabel Allende, Dr. Antonia Novello, Bianca Jagger, Dr. Patricia Allen Carbonell, Maria Hinojosa, Esmeralda Santiago, Marjorie Agosin and other barrier-breaking Hispanic-American Women. The film features music by Lissette, and two songs about female empowerment by Tori Amos.

Serrano produced and directed the short film Of Hope, Courage and Justice: A Global Mosaic of Women in Human Rights, and associate produced the Emmy-Award nominated Havana: Portrait of Yesteryear, narrated by Gloria Estefan, for PBS.[3]

Serrano has been working on a film titled Airman: The Extraordinary Life of Calvin G. Moret,[6] based on the life and legacy of Louisiana’s last known Tuskegee Airman.

Other work[edit]

In 2009, Serrano was commissioned by the Louisiana Division of the Arts to produce a photographic essay on a new population. After spending considerable time with the Garifuna people, Serrano wrote and produced From Punta to Chumba: Garifuna Music and Dance in New Orleans,[7] which explores the role of females in the Garifuna community as cultural tradition bearers. From Punta to Chumba was first published by Louisiana's Living Traditions. Currently, artifacts, photographs, and the essay are on tour in Louisiana's State Museums. As of 2013, the exhibit was intended to circulate around the State of Louisiana for the next 5–10 years.

In late 2013, Serrano released her first book of poems, Of Fiery Places and Sacred Spaces,[8] which deals with the poetics of place and space. Her poems have been published in Latino Stuff Review, Ella Magazine, MiPo Gallery, Into the Woods, The Peauxdunque Writers' Alliance Annual Anthology, and Poets and Artists Magazine.[9]

In 2016 she was invited to write the foreword to photographer Diego Quiros' fine art photography book, Alchimie Photographique.[10]

In 2017, she edited the Into the Woods Anthology and wrote the foreword. [11]

In 2018, she began writing a manuscript for a book, Mr. Moret and I: The Story and Legacy of My Unexpected Friendship with New Orleans' Last Known Tuskegee Airman. It is one part memoir (Serrano's) and one-part biography (Moret's). It reveals Moret's first-hand, contemplative recounting of history and race in America, while also functioning as Serrano's retrospective reflection of the meaningful friendship that emerged as a consequence of the great blocks of time spent at home, on the road, and up in the air to document his life for the film, Airman: The Extraordinary Life of Calvin G. Moret.[citation needed]

Presently, Serrano is at work on a transmedia work, The Saudades Project,[12] which seeks to mine the experience and emotional complexity of saudade. The project was launched on October 27, 2018.

Serrano is a Senior Fellow of the Human Rights Foundation in New York; a Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute in Washington D.C.; a board member of Voz de Mujer, a women’s empowerment and leadership organization based in Texas; an Advisory Council member of the Faulkner Society’ in New Orleans; a member of the Spanish Embassy's Young Hispanic Leader’s Association in Washington D.C.; and a founding Board member of Ambassador Armando Valladares' non-governmental organization, Human Rights for All.[13]


  • Adios Patria? The Cuban Exodus (USA, producer, 1996)
  • Cafe Con Leche: Voices of Exiles Children (USA, executive producer, 1997)
  • Havana: Portrait of Yesteryear (USA, associate producer, 1999)
  • A Woman's Place? (USA, director, producer, 2001)
  • Of Hope, Courage and Justice: A Global Mosaic of Women in Human Rights (USA, director, producer, 2003)
  • Move!Where Are You Going? (Italy, Spain, associate director on film; USA segment, writer, director, cinematographer of USA segment, 2004)
  • The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers on the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic (USA, director, producer, writer, cinematographer, 2007)
  • Airman: The Extraordinary Life of Calvin G. Moret (USA, director, producer, writer, cinematographer, in production, TBA)

Awards and recognition[edit]

Serrano's leadership has been honored by the City of Miami with a proclamation making October 27 "Amy Serrano Day".[3] She has twice been named a "Woman of Today" in Glamour Magazine, which also named Serrano a "Woman of the Year." During Women's History Month, she was presented with a Mentor Award by the Public School System and was named a Distinguished Female Role Model by the Public Library System.[citation needed]

Serrano was one of eight women selected and profiled in "Evolution of Woman", a women's empowerment installation commissioned by Clinique Cosmetics. This national exhibit involved women selected by Clinique Cosmetics and photographed by Sandi Fellman, and was first unveiled at New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion before traveling the country with Clinique.[3]

Serrano is a recipient of the Tesoro Award in Art and Culture. She was awarded a Fellowship with the National Hispana Leadership Institute.[3] She was named a "Latina of Excellence" in Hispanic Magazine's Top Latinas Roster. She was one of fifteen Hispanic Leaders in the United States selected by the Spanish Embassy in Washington DC and Spain's Foreign Ministry to participate in a Diplomatic Exchange in Spain with their top leaders in the social, political, economic and cultural arenas which also involved meeting the King and Queen of Spain.

Serrano was selected and profiled in a book on Hispanic-American leaders in the United States published by the Spain-U.S. Council.[3]

Serrano has been profiled in the Florida Hispanic Yearbook, and MEGA TV named her "one of the most influential and recognized Hispanics in the United States." She was photographed and written about as a "Mujer Vanidades" in Vanidades Magazine.[3]


  1. ^ "SPIRIT MEDIA NETWORK ~ Connections Radio Show ~ Amy Serrano". Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  4. ^ "LRC". 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  5. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  6. ^ Airman: The Extraordinary Life of Calvin G. Moret
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "From Punta to Chumba: Garifuna Music and Dance in New Orleans". Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2014-02-19.

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