Nava, Gregory (1949—)

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Nava, Gregory (1949—)

In the mid-1980s, Gregory Nava emerged as a the leading Hispanic film writer and director. His third feature film, El Norte (1984), was highly acclaimed and resulted in Nava becoming the first Hispanic to be nominated for an Academy Award in screen writing. Like all of Nava's subsequent films, the subject was specifically Hispanic: the story of young peasants, a brother and sister, who immigrate from rural Guatemala to the United States. Nava's next film, My Family (1995), was also acclaimed and had the highest per screen average revenue ($5,375) for all movies released on the weekend of May 5 through 7. The importance of this figure is that it brought Hollywood a step further toward recognizing the value of producing Hispanic-content films with real Hispanic actors. In 1997, Nava followed up with another box-office smash hit, Selena, the screen biography of the Tejano music star who had recently died.

—Nicolás Kanellos

Further Reading:

Behar, Henri. "Gregory Nava on Selena." http://www.filmscouts.comintervwsgre-nav.asp. January 1999.

Tardiff, Joseph T., and L. Mpho Mabunda, editors. Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. Detroit, Gale, 1996.