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Arts and Entertainment

Eastside Cafe Complains Eva Longoria Lowrider Film Is 'Exploitative'

A sign put up by Eastside Café protesting a film shooting in the neighborhood (via Facebook)
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A new film about lowrider culture recently began shooting on the Eastside, and some of the locals aren't too happy with the film's portrayal of Latino culture.According to Variety, the yet-to-be titled film is about "a teen caught between his traditional father... and the teen’s estranged gangbanger brother" and is set in "the East Los Angeles world of lowrider cars and street tagging."

"El Sereno is a community that has a very recent and vivid history with gang violence," wrote Eastside Café in a Facebook post on Friday. "We do not appreciate the perpetuation of this stereotype in our community." The post also adds that the film crew blocked traffic near the corner of Huntington Drive and Maycrest Avenue, and even painted over a mural that mourned the death of a local boy.

When a local community member demanded that the shoot compensate the neighborhood for the inconvenience, they were mocked on Twitter and called "greedy:"

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Eastside Café says the premise of the film is exploitative and "disrespectful." "We are tired of racist Hollywood portraying our gente, appropriating our culture and continuing to create narratives that stereotype violence in our neighborhood," they write.

Longoria is co-starring in the film alongside Oscar-nominated Mexican actor Demián Bichir. The lowrider film is not her first project to be met with controversy over its portrayal of Latinos. The TV show Devious Maids, on which she's an executive producer, was called a "wasted opportunity" for continuing to cast Latinas as housemaids and service workers. Longoria responded and wrote that she took "pride in the fact that this is the first show to feature an all-Latina lead cast" and that "these characters are not one-dimensional or limited to their job title."

In 2013, Longoria received her master's degree in Chicano studies from CSU Northridge.