Barrio Television

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


“Barrio Television” reveals the untold story of a 1972 media caper, orchestrated by Puerto Rican activists who rebelled against media exclusion and occupied public television’s flagship New York City studio to demand the airing of “Realidades”–the first national Latino and bilingual series.


The "Realidades" crew taught themselves production to create the series, surveyed Latino viewers to determine episode content, led Latino media advocacy organizations and ushered in a wave of Latino media makers while broadcasting Latino history, culture and resistance to the country.

Audiences will rediscover “Realidades” alongside the film team and journalists of color leading noncommercial news projects today–50 years later, with the drama of overtaking a TV station, humor of learning on the job, tragedy of racial inequities that persist, and wonder of succeeding in making, learning and saving history.


“Barrio Television” is an engrossing three-part media caper that has happened in the past and is unfolding in the present. This film centers the series creators to tell the story that has never been told with help from their documentarian who reveals her process of finding never-before-developed photos, footage and letters that have been buried for 50 years. Viewers will learn the twists and turns of how “Realidades” seized and held the airwaves as they witness behind-the-scenes moments of a Latina media advocate-turned-filmmaker discovering the missing pieces to bring the story to the screen today.

The music will organically compliment and punctuate scenes with Bomba, Plena and other resistance music from Puerto Rico and across Latin America, while integrating environmental sounds from the sidewalks, subways and community spaces of Harlem and the West Side. The soundtrack will itself also share Latin roots and culture as the “Realidades” series did. The flow from more traditional genres to their modern hybrids emphasize what is passed down through the generations and shared in our communities through art and media. 

The filmmaker invites young Latino journalists today to an intimate conversation with “Realidades” crew, shot in cinema verité style at non-commercial newsrooms serving Latino readers, viewers and listeners. As the journalists meet pioneers who they have never heard of, the “Realidades” crew first meets the young people they paved the way for. Their conversation about shared struggles, rebellions and successes will reverberate for all viewers that have felt unseen and misrepresented in the media and crave a community-driven alternative.


Christina DiPasquale - Director

Christina DiPasquale (writer, director, producer) is the founder and CEO of Balestra Media, specializing in multimedia storytelling for social justice campaigns centered on the perspectives of historically marginalized groups. The four-part documentary series that she executive produced for the Public Welfare Foundation, “Demand More,” “What Love Looks Like,” “It’s All Right There,” and “Prioritizing the Community,” was screened by local groups to support decarceration across the country. Christina led social impact and political media strategy for the documentary series Truth and Power, and films including the Oscar-nominated documentary Dirty Wars, Robin Wright’s When Elephants Fight, Robert Greenwald’s UnmannedTerms and Conditions May Apply and The Internet Must Go. Christina has media-trained whistleblower Chelsea Manning, youth in Ferguson and clergy, residents and activists in Charlottesville. She leads communications for grassroots groups campaigning for diverse media, including Free Press, MediaJustice and the Change the Terms coalition.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2024
Doc Society: New Perspectives Fund - Finalist
Hot Docs: CrossCurrents International Doc Fund - Finalist
UnionDocs Early Production Lab, Summer 2022 - Scholarship Recipient
Latino Media Market Fellow 2022
NALIP Emerging Content Creators Inclusion Initiative Scholarship 2022


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