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THE 2017 CHICAGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL Selects Three Digital Shorts from WTTW’s MY NEIGHBORHOOD: PILSEN initiative

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - April 4, 2017

Three digital shorts, produced and written by Esaú Meléndez as part of WTTW’s My Neighborhood: Pilsen initiative, have been selected for the 2017 Chicago Latino Film Festival. They will be presented with Arlen Parsa’s film The Way to Andina at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois Street on Saturday, April 29 at 3:30 pm and Monday, May 1 at 5:30 pm. Each screening will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers, Mr. Meléndez and Mr. Parsa. The digital shorts, which will be featured on WTTW’s My Neighborhood website,, are as follows:

  • Yvolina
    Marcelina Hernandez is a single mother and immigrant who struggled for many years, at one point losing all of her belongings. Her situation turned around after she began making her unique type of tamales. Her business grew by word of mouth, ultimately leading to her opening a restaurant. This is Yvolina’s story.
  • J-Def
    This is the story Jeff Maldonado, an artist from the Pilsen community in Chicago, who began an art program after his son was killed in a shooting in Pilsen. This short explores the development of Maldonado’s program, the J-Def Peace Project, and his work with area youth.
  • Maria Mariachi
    Maria is a young Mexican-American teenager who is committed to mariachi music. In this story, we learn how mariachi music has changed Maria’s life and how hard she has worked to make it happen.

“WTTW is proud to include the work of Mr. Meléndez in this important multi-platform initiative,” said WTTW President and CEO Dan Schmidt. “We are striving to tell the story of Pilsen from a diverse array of personal viewpoints, and these insightful films will be instrumental to helping us achieve that goal.”

About Esaú Meléndez
Esaú Meléndez emigrated from Mexico City, where he spent most of his childhood. He has been involved in film and TV production for the past 10 years, working as a director, producer, cameraman, and editor. He studied film and video at Columbia College in Chicago, and has worked with the Spanish Broadcast Network, Telemundo, and WYCC. Esaú has directed and produced various commercials and music videos with his production company, Clandestino Films, and previously created the award-winning documentary Immigrant Nation!: The Battle for the Dream.

About WTTW
WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and WTTW PBS Kids – and on Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, and MEXICO – One Plate at a Time, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming. Visitors to can access a full library of local and national video content for kids and adults, immersive web-exclusive stories, and features. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

My Neighborhood: Pilsen is made possible through the generosity of the Caerus Foundation, Inc.