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Hispanic higher ed group fetes ASU filmmaker Espinosa


March 01, 2010

Independent filmmaker Paul Espinosa, an ASU professor, will receive the Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Award in Fine or Performing Arts from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).

Espinosa, winner of eight Emmy awards, specializes in documentary and dramatic films focused on the U.S.-Mexican border region. He joined ASU in 2004 as a professor in the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

His 2006 film, “The Price of Renewal,” a one-hour documentary about the philanthropic work of San Diego businessman Sol Price, was rebroadcast last month on KPBS-San Diego. The film, which was produced and directed by Espinosa, explores the long-term redevelopment of the once-deteriorating neighborhood of City Heights, often referred to as the Ellis Island of San Diego.

Among other films in which Espinosa was producer, writer and director, were “Taco Shop Poets” (2002), “The Border” (1999) and “Uneasy Neighbors” (1990). He also produced “…And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him” (1995) and “The New Tijuana” (1990).

According to AAHHE President Loui Olivas, assistant vice president at ASU, Espinosa was selected for the award by a panel of experts in higher education. The selection criteria focused on the recipient’s sustained contributions and efforts to showcase the significant accomplishments this award represents.

“AAHHE is an agent of change for improving education, thus enabling Hispanic students to fully participate in a diverse society,” Olivas noted.

Each year, this award is given to someone who has contributed significantly to the understanding of the Hispanic community and culture through a medium in the arts or performing arts.

To celebrate and recognize the work of Hispanics in higher education and other national leaders, the AAHHE awards program was created to honor individuals at a special awards luncheon, this year on March 6 at the national conference in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“It’s wonderful to be acknowledged by your peers for the work you love doing,” Espinosa said. “Documenting the experiences of my community on film has been a truly rewarding experience.”

AAHHE works collaboratively with education, business and industry sectors, as well as community and professional organizations to enhance the educational aspirations and to meet the professional growth needs of a significantly increasing Hispanic population. More information is online at www.aahhe.org.