This past month the Directors Guild of America honored Associate Professor of Production Sylvia Morales with the DGA Latino Committee Pioneer Award. Morales was one of the founding members of the Latino Committee, a group that was established over 22 years ago to help Latino artists advance their careers and opportunities in both the English and Spanish-speaking media, and improve their craft skills within the television and motion picture industry.
Morales, along with the other founding members Jesus Trevino (Criminal Minds, Resurrection Blvd.), Jose Luis Ruiz (National Latino Communications Center) and Luis Valdez (La Bamba, Zoot Suit) were honored at a dinner and reception at the DGA on October 3, 2013. The evening included a panel discussion between the founding members about how they formed the committee and the achievements that they have made over the years. The Latino Committee was the first of its kind in any of the entertainment guilds, blazing a trail for African-American, Asian and other special interest committees in the industry.
Morales’s contributions to the Latino creative community are significant. She headed the Latino Consortium at KCET in Los Angeles from 1981 to 1985, where she also hosted the weekly national series, Presente, and produced and directed Emmy-nominated and award-winning programs. She has directed episodes for Showtime’s groundbreaking series, Resurrection Blvd. She worked on Chicano! The Mexican Civil Rights Movement for PBS and directed for the ACE and Emmy nominated six-hour series, A Century of Women. Morales has been the recipient of several awards including the Rockefeller Fellowship Award in Media; American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women; the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship; VESTA; Salute to Latinas Award; and Comision Femenil Mexicana Nacional’s 20th Anniversary celebration for “Latinas in Film and Television” honoree.