NAME: Moctesuma Esparza
TITLE: Founder / Founder, Executive Committee Member
ORGANIZATION: Maya Cinemas North America / National Association of Latino Independent Producers
WHAT MAKES THIS PERSON A GAME CHANGER:
Moctesuma Esparza is an established and multi award-winning movie producer in the entertainment industry and a tireless advocate and promoter of Latino films. He is well-known for producing movies such as “Selena,” “Selma, Lord, Selma,” and “Gettysburg.” Esparza is the founder of Maya Cinemas North America and the co-founder and chair of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. As the son of a Mexican Revolution refugee, Esparza is a staunch supporter for civil rights and equality of Mexican-Americans. While a student at his alma mater UCLA, he wrote a proposal to initiate an ethno-communications program at the school’s film school during his sophomore year. He was also one of the leaders who spearheaded the 1968 Chicano Blowouts, a series of youth-led protests inspired by educator Sal Castro in which Mexican-Americans demanded equal educational opportunities, which led to his interest in the media. Esparza is currently active on a various boards, including the National Hispanic Cultural Center Advisory Board, the Latino Coalition Against Aids Advisory Board, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Advisory Board. He also serves on the Toigo Advisory Board, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Board of Advisors, the American Film Institute Board of Trustees, the UCLA School of Theater, as well as the Film and Television Dean’s Executive Board the Claremont University Consortium Board of Overseers. He is also a board member and former Chair the Marathon Club and co-chair Chairman of the Board of the Latino Theater Company in Los Angeles. Esparza has also served as a member of the Corporate Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Television Fund, the Board of Directors of the Museum of Latin American Art, a Trustee of the California State University System, and a commissioner to the Los Angeles City Retirement System.
Currently, he sits on the board of the American Film Institute.