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"Underwater Dreams" and Voto Latino Team Up to Promote the VL Innovators Challenge in Collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, MSNBC and AMC Theaters

The Competition Re-Grants up to $500,000 for Community Tech Projects.

Washington, DC, July 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Today, the national nonprofit Voto Latino, MSNBC and the filmmakers of the documentary Underwater Dreams, announced a collaboration to cultivate Latino talent in the tech industry through the VL Innovators Challenge. The collaboration will combine online editorial coverage through MSNBC.com, on the ground promotion in over 100 cities through free AMC movie screenings of the documentary, and a series of online social media meet-ups.

Underwater Dreams, the highly acclaimed film by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio, and narrated by actor Michael Peña, chronicles the story of four teenage boys—sons of Mexican immigrants—who entered a sophisticated underwater robotics competition against the likes of engineering powerhouse MIT. The film has been called the most important film since Waiting for Superman (Jonathan Alter). Through an existing partnership with AMC Theaters and Comcast—NBCUniversal—Telemundo, Underwater Dreams will screen in over 100 AMC theaters across the country for free to non-profit groups that serve students. Through the Voto Latino collaboration, attendees will also view a clip of how to join the tech movement by submitting their great ideas for a chance to win a VL Innovators Challenge grant.

"We are thrilled to work with and promote the VL Innovators Challenge,” said Mazzio. “After a young person watches Underwater Dreams, we hope that the next step will be to put that inspiration into action—including innovative thought—to solve a social problem with technology."

Underwater Dreams shows the type of success Latinos can achieve by pursuing careers in tech, and the VL Innovators Challenge offers the resources young Latinos need to get their first foot through the tech world. With the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 10-15 winners will receive grants of up to $100,000 and mentorship from some of Silicon Valley’s finest to bring their tech ideas to life. A total of $500,000 will be re-granted.

“It was inspiring to watch Underwater Dreams on MSNBC and now we want our audience to turn that inspiration into their own great ideas,” said Richard Wolff, Executive Editor of MSNBC.com and a VL Innovators Challenge judge. “We can’t wait to share the stories of Latino individuals who have already made great strides in the tech space to inspire future tech revolutionaries.”

One of Voto Latino’s goals through the VL Innovators Challenge is to begin creating a pipeline of Latino tech talent for an industry that lacks diversity. Today, Latinos make up a mere 7 percent of the nation’s tech employee base.

Underwater Dreams is also promoted across Comcast brands and is a central pillar of NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content’s new nationwide pro-social campaign, Aprender es Triunfar, aimed at closing the Latino student achievement gap, especially in STEM education.

“Our collaboration with Underwater Dreams and MSNBC is key to the success of the VL Innovators Challenge,” said María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino. “I can’t think of a better collaboration that inspires Millennials of all backgrounds to enter the tech world through storytelling, and which provides them an immediate opportunity to bring their ideas to fruition.”

For more details about the VL Innovators Challenge, visit www.vlinnovators.com. For a schedule and locations where Underwater Dreams will show, visit www.underwaterdreamsfilm.com.

About Voto Latino
Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change. To learn more about Voto Latino, visit www.VotoLatino.org. Also engage Voto Latino on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VotoLatino, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VotoLatino and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/VotoLatino.

About Underwater Dreams
Underwater Dreams, the highly-acclaimed film by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio and narrated by actor Michael Peña, chronicles the story of four teenage boys—the sons of Mexican immigrants—who entered a sophisticated underwater robotics competition going up against the likes of engineering powerhouse MIT. Underwater Dreams has launched in theaters and will air simultaneously on MSNBC and Telemundo, and is available on demand (on all cable platforms) as well as DVD. In partnership with AMC Theaters, and NBC Universal’s and Telemundo’s new community engagement initiative Apredender es Triunfar, the film will also screen in up to 100 cities across the country free of charge for non-profit groups who serve students.
Contact Information
Voto Latino
Lauren Hedstrom
323-933-8900
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