Hollywood United Methodist Church Puts Its Faith In Filming

Search for L.A. film czar drags on at City Hall

7 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Hollywood gets ‘Instructions’ on Hispanic audiences Scott Bowles, USA TODAY 2:14 p.m. EDT September 25, 2013 “Instructions Not Included” becomes an under-the-radar hit in the USA, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Eugenio Derbez, left, and Loreto Peralta anchor the bilingual box office hit ‘Instructions Not Included.’ (Photo: Marcia Perskie, Pantelion Films) Story Highlights ‘Instructions’ Eugenio Derbez is a big star in Mexico Hispanic moviegoers see more movies than any other ethnicity Upcoming films featuring Latino themes include ‘Pulling Strings,’ ‘Chavez’ and ‘The Mexorcist’ SHARE 9789 CONNECT 34 TWEET 7 COMMENTEMAILMORE LOS ANGELES Like a lot of actors here, Eugenio Derbez has a select few restaurants where he likes to take a meal with studio executives. Unlike his counterparts, Derbez chooses the restaurant based on the intrusiveness of the wait staff the pushier the better. “Waiters, cooks, valets, I want them to come find me and ask for an autograph or a picture,” Derbez says. “That way, (execs) know that, at least where I’m from, people know who I am.” He won’t need to be picky about restaurants much longer. The Mexico City native’s latest film, the modestly budgeted, bilingual comedy Instructions Not Included, has earned more than $30 million since its limited release on Aug. 30. That robust reception upended box-office forecasts and has made it one of the year’s biggest surprises. Analysts and academics say the movie’s success over pricier, higher-profile American films could mark a sea change in pictures bound for the cineplex namely, a surge in Hispanic-oriented, even bilingual movies that reflects the growing Latino influence in the country and film industry. “There is a large middle-class and working-class Hispanic population anxious to see itself reflected on the Hollywood screen,” says Kerry Hegarty, associate professor of Spanish and Film Studies at Miami (Ohio) University. With its increased dependence on international box office and its embrace of nascent Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) and Alfonso Cuaron (Oct. 4’s Gravity), Hollywood has for years seen the need to habla espanol. But observers consider Instructions, a family comedy set in Mexico and Los Angeles, more of a game-changer. For one, the film’s dialogue leaps from Spanish to English.

Still, the funds help support a program to feed homeless adults every Tuesday and a bimonthly dinner at the PATH Hollywood homeless shelter, as well as mission work, including a trip to Haiti to support hurricane victims. This week volunteers will travel to New Jersey to help in the rebuilding of the Jersey shore boardwalk. Aside for raising money, Cooper-Ledesma also encourages film activity because many parishioners work in the industry. About 40% of the congregation members are actors, casting directors, writers, producers, camera operators and other industry professionals. Even the church’s associate pastor, the Rev. Dave Stambaugh, has his own list of credits, having worked as a child actor in the 1976 film “The Bad News Bears” and other movies. Reflecting its location, the church has a summer sermon series that highlights the spiritual themes in such movies such as “The Blind Side,” and invites filmmakers, actors and directors to talk about their movies in a question-and-answer session. Recent guests have included and Dustin Lance Black, an Oscar-winning screenwriter and director. ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll “Filming is important to us as a church because we like to see folks in our congregation employed,” Cooper-Ledesma said. “We have a lot of folks who are in the industry and who work behind the scenes, and when there is no filming it is draining on them. They’ve got families and L.A. is not a cheap place to live.