The 37th Annual Imagen Award Ceremony took place on Sunday, October 2, 2022, in Los Angeles at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.
The Best Documentary Award went to VOCES: American Exile (PBS; Burning Box Studio, WKAR Public Media/East Lansing, and Latino Public Broadcasting), a powerful film by John Valadez and Carleen L. Hsu about the Valenzuela brothers, two decorated Mexican American veterans who are fighting deportation for themselves and other veterans from the country they so valiantly fought for.
Brothers Manuel and Valente Valenzuela both volunteered and saw combat in Vietnam. Fifty years later, they are among thousands of veterans who are being deported. So the brothers reluctantly put their uniforms back on for one last fight -- to bring all the veterans back home. It’s a quixotic tale that will leave one brother exiled in a foreign land, while the other will go all the way to the White House. In an extraordinary turn of events, the brothers eventually reach the President of the United States, and he is persuaded to change national policy.
This marks John's third Imagen Award.
The Imagen Awards was founded by legendary television producer Norman Lear, who was acutely aware of the near absence of positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry and understood the importance of positive images. Lear met with the leaders of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews, or NCCJ), a respected non-sectarian human relations organization committed to fighting prejudice and racial tensions. Out of this meeting emerged the Imagen Awards, a competition which recognizes and encourages the entertainment industry to portray the Latino community in a positive and accurate manner.
The Imagen Awards attract key entertainment leaders as well as celebrities. Past honorees and attendees have included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Guillermo Del Toro, Salma Hayek, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Roberto Orci, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, and former CBS Entertainment Chairman, Nina Tassler, among others.