In "Abuela Votes!" Miami Filmmaker Urges Latinos to Hit the Polls
Maybe you've waited until the last second to vote. Maybe you were first in line when the polls opened. Either way, you probably don't have an Election Day routine like Paco Palante in "Abuela Votes!" — a Miami-inspired PSA encouraging South Floridians of all ages to cast their ballots today.
Created by filmmaker Nick Ducassi, a Miami native and alum of the film collective Borscht Corporation, the video outlines a detailed Tuesday itinerary for classic Miami bro Paco and his classic Miami abuela, including red, white, and blue eggs and ham; a pop quiz on presidents throughout history; watching Independence Day; and flirting with a poll worker using arroz con leche.
"We made 'Abuela Votes!' to inspire, encourage, and excite Latino voters — and most important, to get them to the polls," Ducassi explains. "There has been such an insane amount of inflammatory rhetoric flying around in the past year about immigrants and about what defines an American. We wanted to make something that said, ‘You know what? No. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, etc., we're as American as anyone else.'"
Ducassi, an actor, comic, writer, and first-generation Cuban-American, created the Paco character with his girlfriend, Mexican-American director, writer, and actor Adriana DeGirolami. He calls Paco "a high-minded adorable street rat" whose dreams of becoming the next Pitbull inspire him to move to New York City from Miami. They worked with documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's production company Warrior Poets to create the video, part of the company's initiative to inspire YouTube creators to produce election-related content.
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The results are goofy yet informative. And though the most memorable part of "Abuela Votes!" might be the couple's coordinated American flag windbreaker jackets, Ducassi says the film was inspired by serious issues.
"Part of the reason many politicians felt little urgency to act on legislation particularly relevant to the Latino community," he says, pointing to the Dream Act as an example, "is that for too long, Latino turnout was highly mediocre... It was the perfect chicken-and-egg situation: We didn't vote, so they didn't care about us. They didn't care about us, so we gave up and didn't vote.
"Luckily, given the headlines of the past 24 hours, it looks like we've finally heard the message: Early-voting totals in Latino-rich states like Florida and Nevada skyrocketed compared to 2012," he says. "It looks like Latinos might actually save America, one spicy vote at a time."
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