Produced by Specific Pictures with Latino Public Broadcasting for PBS.org at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the 10 short films in the award-winning anthology series Latinos are Essential explore the lives of Latinos in communities all across the United States, including Puerto Rico, who are meeting the crisis head-on through their essential work and mutual aid projects.
The mainly young filmmakers and their mainly young subjects have gone beyond the confusion and drama of crisis. They do what so few films do: They capture portraits of working-class people at their jobs and illuminate them. Through their work, these depictions and accounts, we are left with a picture of the dignity, courage, and production of labor in the face of adversity, of people who are risking their lives to hold together a society that so often mistreats and often rejects them. We need to see and hear their stories long after this latest crisis recedes.