Gloria Calderon Kellett (‘With Love’ executive producer) on taking control of the narrative of Latino characters: ‘I need to hold the pen’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I love Christmas movies,” declares Gloria Calderon Kellett, the creator and executive producer of “With Love” on Amazon Prime. “Christmas is a big time for Latinos and it was the height of the pandemic. We were sort of feeling, oh, we’re probably not going to be with our families this year. That mixed with this barrage on my Instagram feed of violence against Black and brown and queer and Asian people, plus wanting so much this salve that Christmas movies provide, but don’t often provide to people of color. This is such a feel-good, beautiful genre and it really doesn’t exist for us. I didn’t just present the Christmas episode to Amazon, I presented, ‘What would it look like if we pick up this family and we follow them over the course of a year?'” We talked to Calderon Kellett as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV showrunners panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“With Love” is a one-hour romantic dramedy series centered around siblings Lily and Jorge Diaz and their family, tracking their stories over the course of a year through the framework of the most heightened days of the year…the holidays. The Diaz’s will weave in and out of the lives of seemingly unrelated people as they search for love.

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“When I came to Hollywood I thought I was going to be an actor,” she admits. “I’m classically trained, I went to drama school in England. Just 15 years ago all the parts were gangbangers girlfriends and gangbanger sister. I’m not kidding. I wish I was joking, but that is really the truth. It pained me that stories about my community were so siphoned and that we really weren’t seeing ourselves. Latinos are almost 20% of the population in the U.S. and still only five percent of what you see on TV. And that five percent is largely marginalized roles.”

The lack of stories featuring Latinos in a positive light led Calderon Kellett to start her own production company, GloNation. “I started to go, alright, I need to hold the pen,” she explains. “I need to re-visit how I want to tell stories and maybe it’s not as important that I’m in front of the camera because someone else is in charge of that narrative. Maybe I need to be in charge of that narrative.”

Calderon Kellett won an ALMA Award for “How I Met Your Mother” and was nominated at the Image Awards for “One Day at a Time.” Other projects have included “Rules of Engagement,” “Devious Maids,” “Mixology” and “iZombie.”

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