Moctesuma Esparza

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An award-winning producer, entertainment executive, entrepreneur and community activist, Moctesuma Esparza is well known for his contributions to the movie industry and commitment to creating opportunities for Latinos everywhere.  A partner in the highly successful Esparza-Katz Productions with Robert Katz, he worked with stars such as Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez, Andy Garcia, Jimmy Smits, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Halle Berry.

Esparza’s latest film “Walkout” for HBO, tells the true story of the Chicano student uprising in East Los Angeles in 1968, where dramatic walkouts were staged at high schools to protest academic prejudice and dire school conditions.Other films produced by Esparza include:“Price of Glory” (2000), Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”(1999), “Selma, Lord, Selma” (1998), “Selena” (1997),  “The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca”(1997),“Gettysburg” (1993) and “The Milagro Beanfield War” (1988) among others.

In addition to his film trajectory, Moctesuma established Maya Cinemas, a growing chain of modern movie theatre mega-plexes committed to providing the highest quality movie-going experience in new and redeveloping market areas with a strong Latino presence, where he currently serves as CEO.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Esparza received a B.A. and MFA in Theatre Arts, Motion Pictures and Television, from UCLA and from the onset of his career dedicated himself to empowering and transforming the images of Latinos in Hollywood.

Moctesuma founded the Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise Charter School, is Co-Founder of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Co-Founder of the Smithsonian Latino Center, and founding Member of the Cesar Chavez Foundation. He has served on the Corporate Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Television Fund, the Board of Directors of the Museum of Latin American Art, and as a Trustee of the California State University System. Additionally, Moctesuma served as a commissioner to the Los Angeles City Retirement System.

Currently, Moctesuma serves on various Boards including the National Hispanic Cultural Center Advisory Board, the Latino Coalition Against Aids Advisory Board, the National Hispanic Media Coalition Advisory Board, the Toigo Advisory Board, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council Board of Advisors, the American Film Institute Board of Trustees, and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Dean’s Executive Board. He is a Board Member and former Chair of the New America Alliance, co-Chair of The Marathon Club, and Chairman of the Board of the Latino Theater Company in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and was also appointed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the planning commission of the National Museum of the American Latino.

Moctesuma has received numerous awards and honors including an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, an Emmy award, a Clio award, an Alma award, a Cine Golden Eagle award, a Lifetime Achievement award by the Imagen Foundation, and was named one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Latinos” of 2008 and 2011 by The Imagen Foundation.

Moctesuma Esparza Photo

Founder and Board Chair, Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise