“Blast Beat” creators didn’t see themselves reflected in Latin stories being told today, so they wrote and shot their own.

“This story is inspired by so many stories of our friends, family member that came from Latin America to the States,” director Esteban Arango explained at the Variety Sundance Studio presented by AT&T. “But we didn’t necessarily associate with the types of Latino stories that came out of Hollywood. With that impetus we just wanted to see characters that looked like us but also had a similar background and education than us.”

The film’s cast Wilmer Valderrama, Daniel Dae Kim, Diane Guerrero and real life brothers Mateo Arias and Moises Arias all agreed that in order to create authentic stories you have include the people it’s actually about at all levels of the filmmaking process.

“I just thought it was important to change the narrative,” Guerrero said. “There are so many different stories to be told and I am fine telling as many as I can to bring across the beauty and show us as a whole people. … And it was going to be shot in Colombia and it was about a Colombian family. I’m very proud of that part of me and I wanted to explore that some more in my art.”

So how can Hollywood move forward to be more inclusive? “You’ve got to keep making things,” Valderrama said. “It’s not a lobby, it’s not a protest to a studio. It’s about saying this is what you have to make and if you won’t, we will.” Guerrero agreed, “And if you’re going to make a story about us, it can’t be without us.”

Originally a short starring the Arias brothers, “Blast Beat” follows two young brothers from Colombia who struggle to fit into their new lives in suburban America.

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