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Amy Serrano, New Orleans, 2012
November 8, 1966 |
|Occupation||Filmmaker, author, humanitarian|
Amy Serrano (born November 8, 1966, Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban-American film maker, author and humanitarian. She is most well known for her award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary, “The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers on the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic”. Serrano has also produced and directed several documentaries for PBS. She is one of the most respected female filmmakers to come from Cuba.
Born in a post-revolutionary Cuba, and into a life of poverty and oppression, after being forced to separate from her family and home, she was relocated to Miami as a political refugee. Because of her background, Serrano began volunteering in her community from the age of twelve, developing an early sense of activism that would involve helping other refugees, migrants, orphans, women, children, the mentally-disabled, land mine survivors, and other marginalized or at-risk populations.
Adios Patria? The Cuban Exodus
Serrano's first known work was as a producer for the PBS award-winning documentary Adios Patria? The Cuban Exodus directed by Alex Anton and Joe Cardona. The film recalls the dramatic stories of Cubans fleeing their homeland, unfolding onto the shores of South Florida. The film features a wide range of interviews, from liberals to the conservative, and includes the "horror" stories of the journey of several Cubans. The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia.
Cafe Con Leche: Voices of Exiles Children
Serrano executive produced the PBS broadcast and Emmy-Award nominated "Cafe con Leche: Voices of Exiles' Children", directed by Joe Cardona. The film is an introspective look at the first wave of Cuban Exiles that came to the United States, who are now young adults. As the first wave of many immigrants to settle in Florida, "second and third generation Cuban-Americans are now clinging on to a cultural identity and awareness which survived time and assimilation". This film focuses on a group of young Cubans called "Generation ners", who discuss their bi-cultural lives as Cuban-Americans.
Serrano also wrote, produced and directed the U.S. co-production for the feature-length film MOVE! Produced in Rome, Italy and distributed throughout Film Festivals and television in Europe, MOVE! is a fictional film composed of short films by 11 filmmakers in 6 continents exploring the dispassionate state of humanity through varied human emotions.
The Sugar Babies
Serrano shot, produced, wrote and directed the feature-length and critically acclaimed documentary, "The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers on the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic". Narrated by award-winning 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. These very same people continue to be trafficked from Haiti to the Dominican Republic to work on sugar plantations under circumstances that can only be considered modern day slavery. 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
Serrano's other known body of work include 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 featured music by Lissette, and 2 songs about female empowerment by Tori Amos. She produced and directed a 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.
- 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; writer, director, cinematographer of USA segment)[USA](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 recognitions
Serrano has received honors by the City of Miami with a proclamation making October 27 "Amy Serrano Day". Twice, she has been named a "Woman of Today" in Glamour Magazine. Glamour Magazine also named Ms. Serrano a "Woman of the Year." During Women's History Month, she was presented a Mentor Award by the Public School System and named a Distinguished Female Role Model by the Public Library System. She was also one of 8 women selected and profiled in "Evolution of Woman" a women's empowerment installation commissioned by the Lauder Family for Clinique Cosmetics. This national exhibit involved 8 women selected by Clinique Cosmetics and photographed by Sandi Fellman, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed fine art photographer and was first unveiled at New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion before traveling the country.
She is a recipient of the Tesoro Award in Art and Culture. She was also awarded a prestigious Fellowship with the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) which has involved Leadership Studies and Certifications from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Center for Creative Leadership, Gallup University, Capitol Hill, and spending time learning from recognized leaders in social and civic change.
She has been named a “Latina of Excellence” in Hispanic Magazine's Top Latinas Roster, and was one of fifteen Young 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. Serrano was selected and profiled in a book on Young Hispanic-American leaders in the United States published by the Spain-U.S. Council.
Serrano has also 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.
She was recently chosen as a subject of an upcoming documentary on female leadership in the U.S.
Late 2013, Serrano released her first book of poems, Of Fiery Places and Sacred Spaces which deals with the poetics of place and space. She is currently writing a manuscript for a book on the human rights of children.
Following Serrano's work on Sugar Babies she took some time off to write and work on other media projects. She 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 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 is intended to circulate around the State of Louisiana for the next 5–10 years.
A published poet, writer, essayist and speaker of 4 languages, she remains a committed 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. which is headed by the King of Spain; and was appointed a founding Board Member to Ambassador Armando Valladares' non-governmental organization, Human Rights for All.
Currently she is working on her writing.
- "SPIRIT MEDIA NETWORK ~ Connections Radio Show ~ Amy Serrano". Spiritmedianetwork.com. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "nyfilmvideo.com". nyfilmvideo.com. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "LRC". Flrc.unc.edu. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "Google Translate". Translate.google.com. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- "From Punta to Chumba: Garifuna Music and Dance in New Orleans". Louisianafolklife.org. Retrieved 2014-02-19.