(October 27, 2003) New York, NY--A new digital television facility is scheduled to open this January in PRDREAM.COM's loft at 161 East 106th Street in Spanish Harlem, Manhattan. The facility is a joint effort by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, (MNN), the recently expanded public access television network, and PRDREAM.COM, the new media loft and gallery that began as a web site on the history, culture and politics of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Diaspora (http://www.prdream.com).
The digital facility will provide the Latino community access to video equipment and training that will result in Latino programming in Spanish or English for broadcast on MNN's public access cable channels, said Steve Mendelsohn, MNN's executive director.
According to Judith Escalona, executive director of PRDREAM.COM, the digital television studio will focus on documenting the Latino experience in New York through its oral history project, and will boost the Latino filmmaking community.
Over 100 people are expected to enhance their production skills or train through regularly scheduled video production workshops next year. Each workshop will produce at least two half-hour programs for playback over MNN's channels. PRDREAM.COM will archive the videotaped oral histories, and a select number will appear on its web site. Half of the 15 workshops that PRDREAM.COM has committed to delivering will involve experienced filmmakers working on scenes and videotaping trial runs of new screenplays.
"We want to provide Latin filmmakers with the tools to experiment and pursue their vision," said Escalona.
Escalona said she sees the possibility of fomenting a stronger and more robust filmmaking community in Spanish Harlem.
"Not only can it take Latino filmmaking to a whole different level by giving seasoned filmmakers a space to experiment and further develop their craft," said Escalona. "It also enables us to tap into new talent while we conduct our basic production training workshops that are geared toward recording the community‚s oral histories."
The new facility will also help MNN extend its reach throughout Manhattan's communities by establishing a presence in Spanish Harlem, an historically and culturally rich neighborhood that's been largely overlooked by the city, said Mendelsohn.
"New York's Latinos will no longer have to come to MNN's studios to train and get equipment for documenting their history and experiences, which is so vital to the self-realization, history and growth of their community," said Mendelsohn. "This new facility will provide personnel, production and post-production equipment and other resources right in their own back yard."
Manhattan Neighborhood Network
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