Marcos Cline, executive producer and founder of the Altered.LA production company, is one of the collaborators on the North American Project,
an initiative originated five years ago when its creators felt they’d had enough of the anti-Hispanic xenophobia so often present in mainstream U.S. communications media. According to Cline, the horrendous shooting perpetrated in El Paso last August, when a gunman massacred 23 people in a Walmart store, exposed the dangers of this divisive rhetoric.
“What happened in El Paso made this project not only a good idea but an urgent mission," said the project’s founder, Rodrigo Aguilar. “The Mexico-United States border is neither a wall nor a line in the sand where one culture ends and the other begins. We represent different languages and cultures that have co-existed for centuries. Hispanics’ place in the history, culture and tradition of the U.S. is undeniable."
The project`s editorial team firmly believes that both politicians and the media too often portray relations between Mexico and the U.S. as simplistic stereotypes that reduce real human tragedies - such as forced immigration, drug dealing and organized crime - to slogans recited in protests that drown out the hidden stories of a binational experience that goes much deeper and is far more interesting.
“Altered.LA not only has the privilege but the duty to use the tools we have to give greater visibility to those without them. It is sad that a pandemic had to come along for many to understand the sacrifices made by farm hands and the importance of their work to provide food for the nation, which has so long been overlooked," Cline said. "In Altered.LA we recognize that the storytelling on traditional media fails to do justice to the immense contributions, both cultural and economic, that our community makes to this country, which is why we constantly support projects that can change that narrative."