LOS ANGELES – The gentrification of a Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles is the basis for “Gente-fied,” the new television series starring America Ferrera that, as the actress emphasized in an interview with EFE, deals with the humor of identity and generational conflicts among US Hispanics.
“I read the script and I laughed, cried and saw experiences with which I identified a lot and that I hadn’t seen represented before on television and in films,” Ferrera, who produces and acts in the new series that made its debut this week at the Sundance Film Festival.
She said that she grew up as a Latina in the United States and that could create “an identity conflict,” since you want to “embrace” US culture but from “the deepest roots” of your family and Hispanic tradition.
“It’s a conflict, a kind of problem with identity, which is very much present in ‘Gente-fied,’” the Honduran-American star of “Ugly Betty” and “Superstore” said.
Set in the Latino L.A. neighborhood of Boyle Heights, the series explores, from a comedic point of view and in both English and Spanish, the effects of gentrification on seven people, ranging from small business owners to a lesbian Chicana.
Gentrification, the process whereby the traditional residents of an area see themselves displaced by another group higher on the income ladder, is an issue the show deals with not only from the economic perspective but also via the consequences it has for the lives and culture of Latinos.
Boyle Heights also figures strongly in the series.
“When you go to Boyle Heights, your culture is so rich that you almost feel that you’ve left the rest of Los Angeles and have entered ... another world,” she said.
Alicia Sixtos, Edsson Morales, Sal Velez Jr. and Victoria Ortiz help round out the cast of “Gente-fied,” which was created by Marvin Bryan Lemus and co-written by Lemus and Linda Yvette Chavez.
Ferrera emphasized the importance of having a Latino production and creative team to tell stories with “authenticity,” adding that Hispanic talent “rarely” has the chance to play “complex characters with nuances.”