Three episodes of the seven-part video series “Gente-Fied” –which looks with humor at the issue of gentrification in Boyle Heights– premiered this week at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Monday’s screening as part of the festival’s non-competitive Short Form Episodic Showcase marked the first public screening of the series shot last year around 1st Street. Originally conceived as a web series, “Gente-Fied” was created by Marvin Lemus –who co-wrote it along with Linda Yvette Chávez. The series is produced by Macro.
In a video shot for the Sundance premiere, Lemus explains that he fell in love with Boyle Heights when he lived in the neighborhood and learned the term “gentefication,” which refers to gentrification done by upwardly mobile Latinos:
The show features an all-Latino principal cast which includes Alicia Sixtos (“East Los High”), Yareli Arizmendi (“A Day Without a Mexican”) and América Ferrera (“Ugly Betty” and “Superstore”). Ferrera is also one of the show’s executive producers, along with Lemus.
“Talent is universal, opportunity is not,” wrote actress América Ferrera on her Instagram account Monday, where she posted a photo of herself with Lemus, Chávez and fellow cast members at Sundance. “Welling up with pride that the beautiful, funny, complicated @gentefied written and directed by Latinos, created so much opportunity to display the incredible talent that exists in our community! #latinocast #opportunity#talent #sundance #latinx”.
Ferrera plays one of seven major characters that reflect a diverse cross-section of Boyle Heights’ population. Each of the show’s episode focuses on one of the characters as he or she adapts to fast happening changes in the neighborhood.
Interest in the series has swelled since producers posted a trailer on the Gente-Fied Twitter page in May. So far, producers have not announced when, where or how they will broadcast or otherwise air the series.
Meanwhile, a second Sundance screening of “Gente-fied” was to take place on Wednesday evening. The Sundance Film Festival runs through Jan. 29.
Photo above: A screen shot from the trailer of “Gente-Fied”.