The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping”

The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping”

Netflix’s latest docu-series “The Program: Cons, Cults and Kidnapping  is making a huge splash. It hit #1 in USA and the UK the day after release, and currently holds the Top 5 spot on the global chart (3 days after release).

CAA screening with Q&A – Photo credit: Samantha Smart

It’s no surprise that so many viewers are captivated by this three-part docuseries because it’s shocking, disturbing, and utterly outrageous. Director, Katherine Kubler quickly pulls you deeper and deeper in as she attempts to make sense of what happened to her at 16 years of age. Armed with an inextinguishable sense of humor, Kubler examines and exposes the madness of the youth residential program at Ivy Ridge where she spent 15 months of her young life. This disciplinary boarding institution marketed itself at “helping troubled teenagers” but instead exploited desperate parents while unconscionably damaging the teens. No smiling, no looking out the window, no going outside, no talking, and even no farting without permission——these were just some of the near impossible rules that the kids were meant to follow in order to complete the program and be released. With the daily enforcement of brainwashing, abuse and all around mind-f*ckery, Kubler describes the Ivy Ridge staff  as “trying to murder children’s souls”. Kubler knew she had to make this docu-series “because there really was nothing out there to help explain what had happened to me, to my friends and family, and to warn them about these places.”

As Kubler and other survivors relate their stories, the depth of cruelty is revealed, and we are confronted with the fact that similar programs are currently still in operation. It’s the responsibility of anyone who knows child abuse is happening to take action to stop it…and as Kubler tells you at the end of the final episode: “Now you know!”

Adriana Barraza Nominated for LEJA Award: Best Supporting Actress

Adriana Barraza Nominated for LEJA Award: Best Supporting Actress

Los Angeles, CA – Oscar and Golden Globe nominated actress Adriana Barraza has received a 2024 Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA) Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her outstanding performance as Nana in the successful feature film “Blue Beetle.” The film, which stars Xolo Maridueña in the lead role and directed by Angel Manuel Soto, made history as the first stand alone Latino led superhero movie in the DC franchise. “Blue Beetle” was produced by DC Studios, the Safran Company and distributed by Warner Bros. 

Credit: Enrique Tubio

The Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA), known for its commitment to celebrating Latino and diversity excellence in the entertainment industry, has recognized Barraza’s hysterically funny and moving portrayal of Nana, Jaime Reyes’ (Blue Beetle) feisty and loving Mexican grandmother. Barraza’s scene stealing performances garnered the affection of audiences worldwide. This important LEJA nomination reflects not only her tremendous talent, but also her significant impact on the cultural landscape as a Latina actress in Hollywood, continuing to open doors for the Latino community.

Adriana Barraza stands shoulder to shoulder alongside nominated actresses Emily Blunt for “Oppenheimer,” Penélope Cruz for “Ferrari,” America Ferrera for “Barbie,” Rachel McAdams for “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers.” This year the LEJA Award winners will be announced virtually online on Monday, February 12.

“I’m truly honored and thankful that the LEJA Awards have recognized me with this distinguished nomination. Being nominated is already a win for any actor but to receive the nomination for this character of Nana which I loved playing means even more.  My most important goal was to represent this beautiful part of the Latino community in the U.S., the brave women who immigrate to our beautiful country but work tirelessly to honor their roots.” – states Barraza about her nomination 

Adriana Barraza’s incomparable career continues to be marked with compelling performances, earning her recognition and admiration from both audiences and critics alike. She has received numerous awards and recognitions around the world, including nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 2006 for Best Supporting Actress for “Babel” directed by Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Credit: Hopper Stone SMPSP/Warner Bros. Pictures

Last year was no different for Barraza, aside from her performance in “Blue Beetle,” she starred in an endearing supporting role opposite Trace Lysette and Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson in the film “Monica” which premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and received an 11 minute standing ovation. She also moved audiences in the lead role of Maestra Georgina in the Netflix original Mexican feature film  “El Ultimo Vagón” directed by Ernesto Contreras. The film was the #1 Spanish language movie on Netflix worldwide for a consecutive 6 weeks and one of the most successful Netflix films of 2023. The dedication to her craft and ability to bring unforgettable characters to life has established her as a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.

About the LEJA Awards:

Founded in 2018, the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association (LEJA) is dedicated to the upliftment and celebration of Latino voices in the entertainment industry. As an inclusive association, LEJA serves as a powerful platform to amplify the voices of artists who identify as Latino, Latina, Latinx, Hispanic, Afro-Latino, Afro-Latina, Spanish, or anyone that champions and accelerates the voices of the culture from around the world. Through its initiatives and recognition events, LEJA plays a pivotal role in fostering representation and diversity within the entertainment landscape.

The Catalog that Changed Culture

The Catalog that Changed Culture


ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY, the Tribeca Festival and Outfest Official Selection arrives on digital platforms June 6. Theatrical screenings will take place in New York (now on June 5!), Los Angeles, San Francisco.

Once upon a time where was a catalog that appeared in public in 1974. The catalog was unlike the Sears catalog or anything else as it had as its focus, men. It is true that 1973 saw the launch of Playgirl magazine, but this was a catalog about fashion, style and sex appeal. And it changed culture. It is likely that the International Male catalog spurred the onslaught of gay men to gyms across American in the late 70s. It helped redefine the notion of masculinity featuring ruggedly handsome models parading on oceanfronts across the world. And it was free.

It was called All Man: The International Story. And now there is a documentary—a very good documentary to tell the story.

The documentary, directed by Bryan Darling and Jesse Finley Reed, is an hour and a half look into a time, a time before AIDS, a time when retail stores could make their mark, and time when the burgeoning gay community was getting a foothold in culture. While New York had its After Dark magazine (mostly dancers and celebrities) this catalog had gay men clamoring for a peek at the tight, skimpy bathing suits. The film features interviews with past models and people employed by the company. And just like the 70s, as we headed into the 80s, AIDS begins to diminish the employees and models. What could have been a light, breezy look at a company that created a sexy catalog, turns into a potent look at life in the early 80s and the increasing horror of an epidemic in the gay community.

The founder of International Male, Gene Burkard, envisioned a platform that would cater specifically to men’s fashion needs, allowing them to explore and embrace their personal style. The catalogs became an essential medium through which the company showcased its unique and avant-garde fashion offerings.

In its early years, International Male catalogs featured clothing that challenged traditional notions of men’s fashion. The catalog presented bold and daring styles, incorporating vibrant colors, unconventional patterns, and experimental designs. It aimed to cater to a diverse customer base by offering clothing suitable for different occasions, including casual wear, formal attire, and even specialized costumes.

The catalogs gained attention for their innovative approach to fashion photography. They featured attractive male models who often posed in seductive and provocative ways, breaking new ground in the realm of men’s fashion advertising. This bold presentation became a defining characteristic of International Male’s aesthetic and contributed to the brand’s allure.

Over the years, International Male catalogs continued to push the boundaries of men’s fashion. They showcased emerging trends, incorporating elements of punk, new wave, and alternative styles. The brand’s commitment to offering unique and cutting-edge fashion choices made it a destination for men seeking distinctive and fashion-forward clothing.

In addition to clothing, International Male catalogs also featured a wide range of accessories, including shoes, jewelry, hats, belts, and grooming products. The brand aimed to provide a comprehensive shopping experience, enabling customers to curate their entire look from a single source.

As the internet gained popularity and e-commerce became more prevalent, International Male adapted to the changing retail landscape. The brand transitioned from traditional print catalogs to online sales, expanding its reach and accessibility to a global audience. This transition allowed International Male to stay relevant in the rapidly evolving fashion industry.

While the brand experienced fluctuations in popularity over the years, International Male catalogs remain a significant part of fashion history. They played a crucial role in challenging traditional gender norms and promoting self-expression through fashion choices for men. The catalogs showcased a wide array of styles and provided men with the confidence to embrace their individuality.


JUNE 5  screening

With special guests, filmmakers Bryan Darling, Jesse Finley Reed, Peter Jones, and Taylor Vracin-Harrell