Community | NHMC to Honor Outstanding Latino Talent
Film Director Robert Rodriguez to
receive the Visionary Impact Award
The stars will be exceptionally bright in Beverly Hills on Friday, February 25th when the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) presents its 14th Annual Impact Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The annual fete, hosted by the NHMC, one of the country’sforemost Latino media advocacy and civil rights organizations, celebrates outstanding theatrical, television, radio and film performances by Latinos both in front and back of camera. “This year, we are celebrating NHMC’s 25th anniversary of opening doors for Latinos in media and we are extremely proud to be able to honor our Latino talent at this annual event” said Alex Nogales, NHMC President & CEO. Amongst this year’s honorees are film director Robert Rodriguez who will receive the Visionary Impact Award, Sofia Vergara for her stellar performance in ABC’s show “Modern Family,” Danny Trejo for his lead role in the film “Machete,” and Spanish radio host, Isabel Gómez-Bassols, for her outstanding service to the community through her daily talk-show on Univision radio. The 25th anniversary year-long celebration will commence at the gala and will commemorate the 25 years of history and achievements of the organization.
Robert Rodriguez will receive the Visionary Impact Award for his amazing career as a film producer, writer and director. While a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, Robert Rodriguez wrote the script to his first feature film while sequestered at a drug research facility as a paid subject in a clinical experiment. That paycheck covered the cost of shooting his film. He planned to make the money back by selling the film to the Mexican home video market. The film, “El Mariachi,” went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and became the lowest budget movie ever released by a major studio. Rodriguez wrote about these experiences in Rebel Without a Crew, a book published by Dutton Press. Rodriguez went on to write, produce, direct and edit a series of successful films including “Desperado,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “The Faculty,” the “Spy Kids” series, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Frank Miller’s Sin City,” “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D,” “Grindhouse,” and “Shorts. In 2000, Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán founded Troublemaker Studios, their Austin, Texas based production company of which he is co-owner and president. The studio includes a world-renowned visual effects house, music and publishing arms and has played a primary role in making Austin a filmmaking hub. Rodriguez recently released “Machete,” and the new installment in the Predator series, “Predators.” He is finishing Spy Kids 4 “All the Time in The World” 3D which will be released by Weinstein Co. this summer. Rodriguez resides in Austin, Texas.
Sofia Vergara will be honored with the Outstanding Performance in a Comedy Television Series for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the show “Modern Family.” This Emmy nominated actress is one of the leads in ABC’s six-time EMMY award winning series, “Modern Family.” This year she also voiced the role of ‘Carmen’ in the 3D sequel of Warner Bros “Happy Feet 2,” and participated in one of the most anticipated films of 2011 Columbia Picture’s “The Smurfs.” Throughout her career, Sofia participated in TV shows such as “Hot Properties,” “Entourage,” and in films such as “Four Brothers,” and “Meet the Browns.” Additionally she executive produced the Spanish version of “Desperate Housewives.” On her most successful year yet, she was selected as one of this year’s Faces To Watch by The New York Times and nominated for an Emmy as “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series” for her role in “Modern Family.” The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard have also named her one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment.
Danny Trejo will receive the Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture Impact Award. Trejo has formed a successful career as the all-purpose hard case over his curious and enduring cinematic career. Beating the odds of repeat offender syndrome after being released from prison, Trejo has risen through the ranks to find himself in high demand as an actor, and has even expanded his talents to include a producer credit to his resume. His life story is just about as pristine an example of rehabilitation as one could ask for. Raised in the mean streets of East L.A., Trejo spent many of his early years incarcerated in such legendary prisons as Folsom and San Quentin on drug and robbery convictions. Channeling his intense energy into the boxing ring and winning numerous lightweight and welterweight titles, Trejo was released as a new man after completing a life-changing 12-step rehabilitation program to overcome his addictions. Applying the ideas that changed his life in an attempt to help others headed down a similar path, upon release Trejo became involved with numerous rehabilitation and counseling programs. A chance meeting with a young man who asked for his support at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in 1985 later found the sympathetic ex-con meeting the struggling addict on the set of “Runaway Train,” and Trejo was quickly offered a role as a convict presumably based on his threatening appearance. Chance piled upon chance found an old prison buddy/screenwriter who remembered Trejo’s hard-hitting boxing skills on the same set, and Trejo was then offered a chance to train Eric Roberts for a film, and was eventually offered the role as his opponent in the ring. Following with roles in “The Hidden,” and later “Lock-Up,” “Marked for Death,” “Mi Vida Loca,” and “Heat,” Trejo formed an alliance with director Robert Rodriguez with “Desperado” and soon graduated to such bigger-budget films as “Con Air” and “The Replacement Killers.” The Rodriguez-Trejo twosome found the actor taking roles in the films “Spy Kids” (trilogy), “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” and his first lead role “Machete.”
Dr. Isabel Gómez-Bassols will receive the Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Latino Community Impact Award. Better known to her legion of fans around the country as “la Doctora Isabel, el Angel de la Radio” (Dr. Isabel, the Angel of the Airwaves), is the nation’s foremost Hispanic radio psychologist. Dr. Isabel is a Latina version of Dr. Laura, Dr. Ruth, Ann Landers and Dr. Spock all rolled into one, her immensely popular, live, call-in talk show, “Doctora Isabel,” Monday-Friday, 1-4 PM (Eastern Time) is beamed coast to coast daily on the Spanish-language Radio Cadena Univision. This warm, thoughtful and charismatic doctor, with a motherly knack for listening and dispensing advice in a forthright manner, daily doles out expert opinions on a host of crucial issues ranging from parenting, marital relations, divorce, human sexuality, education and death and dying to addictions, co-dependency, teen rebelliousness and violence both in and out of the home. A true media phenomenon, she receives an average of 8,000 telephone call attempts per day.
The Co-Masters of Ceremonies for the evening will be “Extra” TV host Mario Lopez and film and TV actress Michelle Rodriguez.
Mario Lopez is a highly engaging, likeable and sought-after host and personality, Lopez likes to stay busy. In addition to his role on“Extra,” Lopez currently hosts MTV/Warner Horizon Television’s hit reality-competition series “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew.” This fall, Mario will star, along with his girlfriend Courtney Mazza, in a new reality show that will air on VH-1, “Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby.” Lopez is also a regular guest host on NBC’s “Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee,” and recently guest-starred on “Nip/Tuck.” Born in San Diego, Lopez began his career on the 1984 television series “A.K.A. Pablo.” He has become well known through his roles on NBC’s “Saved by the Bell” and USA Network’s “Pacific Blue.” Lopez co-hosted NBC’s daytime talker “The Other Half” and helped ESPN’s “ESPN Hollywood.”
A cross between beauty and brawn, Texas-born Michelle Rodriguez has come a long way from humble beginnings shaped by time spent growing up in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jersey City. It was from such sometimes rough yet diverse surroundings that Michelle began to build a personal persona as a street-smart “tough girl”, which when combined with raw talent and unmatched screen presence, helped her beat out 350 other girls to land her first speaking role as the lead in 2000’s critically-acclaimed independent film “Girlfight.” The award-winning performance quickly helped Michelle garner the attention of Hollywood, leading to major roles in blockbusters such as “The Fast and the Furious,” “S.W.A.T.,” and ABC’s hit television series “Lost.” Michelle also appeared in the dramatic indie “Battle in Seattle” with Charlize Theron followed by “Fast & Furious” with Vin Diesel, James Cameron’s epic film “Avatar,” as well as Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete,” and will be seen in March in “Battle: Los Angeles” with Aaron Eckhart. Always seeking opportunities to branch out and reveal her multifaceted layers, Michelle is currently developing her own projects as a writer and producer.