Thursday, October 4, 2012

Honorees of the 2012 HOLA Awards

DAVID ZAYAS will receive the 2012 HOLA José Ferrer Tespis Award.

David Zayas was born in and raised in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. A movie lover since early childhood, he always had acting aspirations. But after graduating from high school, he joined the United States Air Force and then pursued a career as a NYC police officer, placing his own dreams on hold to support his family. In the early '90s, he enrolled in acting classes while still working as a cop. 
His talent was soon recognized, and he appeared in many plays, became a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, and won roles in television and film, very fittingly, often playing a cop, He quickly reached a point in his career where it seemed that acting was truly his calling, and he was able to leave the police force and focus solely on performing.  Much of his skill and appeal lie in his ability to play a variety of parts. Most remember him as the terrifying and powerful prisoner, Enrique Morales, from HBO's “Oz,” but he also has wonderful comic timing, to which many NYC theatregoers can attest.
Today he has had roles on Broadway, in television series and major motion pictures and even lent his voice to a video game. His childhood dreams have been realized as he has become one of the faces in the movies that inspire other children. Luckily for audiences, this former policeman is not slowing at all. He continues to challenge himself with a range of varying roles in all media.   

He will finish filming season seven of “Dexter.” He will continue in his 2007 Satellite award-winning performance as Ángel Batista, the big-hearted and generous detective. The seventh season (the series' penultimate) of “Dexter” will premiere in October on Showtime. For more information, click

MARLENE FORTÉ and FELIX SOLIS will receive the
2012 HOLA Excellence in Television Award.

Marlene Forté is an actress, director and producer. Born in Cuba, she is a founding member of LAByrinth Theater Company in NYC where she started her acting career in the early 1990s.

Since moving to Los Angeles 13 years ago, she has appeared in many TV recurring roles, include “The House of Payne” and, most recently, “The Secret Life of The American Teenager.” Other television credits include “Eastbound and Down,” “Community,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Mentalist” and “Castle,” to name a few.

On film she was first known for the lead role in the independent movie Lena’s Dreams, which she co-produced. She has appeared on many independent movies throughout her career. In 2008 she received an Imagen Foundation Award nomination for her role in the Lifetime movie “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story.” Other film credits include the chief transporter in the 2009
Star Trek reboot and Mrs. Glass in Real Women Have Curves. This autumn, you can catch her on Marlon Wayans’ film spoof of Paranormal Activity (and similar films) called Haunted House and the romantic comedy My Last Day Without You. She also just wrapped Catherine Hardwick’s erotic thriller Plush.

On stage she has worked with the best— Luis Alfaro, Oliver Mayer and Jon Lawrence Rivera. She was the Co-Artistic Director of Company of Angels (CoA) for a two-year term. In that time, she directed a couple of plays (
Ballad for Sad Young Men and Fabric), which won several commendations from the city of Los Angeles.

Currently she plays Carmen Ramos, longtime Ewing family housekeeper and mother to Elena (played by Jordana Brewster) on TNT’s revamped “Dallas.” Her younger sister is television journalist Lesley Ann Machado. Her daughter is actress Giselle Rodríguez. She is married to playwright and USC tenured professor Oliver Mayer.

Felix Solis can be seen playing Riv Brody in the new CBS episodic series, "Made in Jersey." He was a series regular on “NYC 22” produced by Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal on CBS. He has also had a recurring role on “The Good Wife,” on the same network. His other television credits include the series “Criminal Minds,” “Army Wives,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Fringe,” “Damages,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing.” His feature film credits include Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage, Asger Leth’s Man On A Ledge, John Leguizamo’s Fugly, Wes Craven’s My Soul To Take, Tom Twyker’s The International, Taking Chance (opposite Kevin Bacon), The Forgotten (opposite Alfre Woodard) and Rashaad Ernesto Green’s Gun Hill Road (Grand Jury Nominee for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival).

As a member of New York City’s critically acclaimed LAByrinth Theatre Company since 1999, he originated roles in
Our Lady of 121st Street and In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, both written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. At the Cherry Lane Theatre, he starred in Eduardo Machado’s Havana is Waiting. As a member of The Actors Studio, he appeared in Salomé with Al Pacino and Dianne Wiest.

As a director, he helmed Raúl Castillo’s
Knives and Other Sharp Objects at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. He also co-wrote, acted, produced and directed a foreign short film entitled Tinto, shot on location and based in the wine country region of Chile, South America.

He has proudly worked with children at the 52nd Street Project, a non-profit group that matches inner city kids with professional theatre artists to the business and craft of theatre production.

He was born and raised by Puerto Rican parents in the Chelsea and Greenwich Village areas of New York City. For more information, click

J.W. CORTÉS will receive the
2012 HOLA Excellence in Reality Television Award.

J.W. Cortés is an actor, singer and filmmaker. He was most recently featured on the new NBC reality competition series “Stars Earn Stripes.” It brought together the best of both worlds for him because in addition to his acting experience, he was in the U.S. Marines Corps for 13 years, during which time he rose to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and is an Iraq war veteran, having served in the beginning phases of the war in 2003. He currently serves as an officer with the New York MTA Police Department.

After serving in the Marine Corps, he traded in his weapons and uniforms to pursue his childhood dreams of acting and performing, only to find out later that his military background would come to serve him well in these endeavors as well.

Along with his role on “Stars Earn Stripes,” he has also logged in some impressive acting credits including roles in the films
As Good as Dead (with Cary Elwes and Andie McDowell), A Kiss Of Chaos (with Adam Rodríguez) and the soon-to-be-released Blue Caprice (with Joey Lauren Adams and Isaiah Washington), the last inspired by the  the Beltway sniper attacks. In addition, he starred in, wrote and directed the acclaimed short film Conscientious Objector, a film inspired by his 2003 tour of duty in Iraq and appeared in an episode of the NBC show “Mercy.” He also continues to push his artistic boundaries with plans for writing and producing films based on his unusual upbringing on the colorful Brooklyn, New York street known as “Little Vietnam.” Various aspects of his past certainly came into play when he starred in the New York off-Broadway production of the romantic musical Soldier’s Song, directed by highly acclaimed actress/director Angelica Torn.

In addition to his career and work, his activism work contributes much of his time and talents to supporting causes close to his heart like autism awareness, epilepsy awareness, disabled veterans and self-defense for women, while his most important role is that of father and husband. He aspires to be the type of father he himself grew up admiring and loving, throughout his strong Latino upbringing. For more information, click

NBC LATINO and JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART will receive the
2012 HOLA Excellence in Media Award.

NBC Latino is the new voice of American Hispanics. Launched in July 2012, is an English-language lifestyle and news destination for Latinos.

NBC Latino covers a wide spectrum of stories from news and politics, to education, food and celebrity. The site aims to paint a portrayal of the true Hispanic experience in the U.S.; a mission achieved by cultivating an ecosystem in which Hispanic news is taken beyond the usual conversation, toward something more inspired, empowered and energized.

Our users are deeply proud of where they come from and just as proud of where they’re heading. NBC Latino gives them credit for being smart and accomplished, yet we know they aspire for even more. It speaks to them in English because it is the language they already speak. It take Hispanic news beyond the usual conversation toward something more inspired, empowered and energized. NBC Latino is proud of the recognition by the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) and look forward to continuing to serve the Latino community with culturally-relevant content. For more information, click here or here.

José Díaz-Balart
is a Cuban-American journalist and television anchorman. He is
currently the anchor for “Noticiero Telemundo,” the network's news program as well as the network's Washington, D.C.-based public affairs Sunday morning program “Enfoque.” Sometimes described as the Brian Williams of Telemundo, he delivers news that affects the Latino community.

In August 1996 he made history by becoming the first Cuban-American to host a network news program when he became anchor for the CBS News program “This Morning.” He co-hosted the Telemundo network's first morning news and entertainment show, "Esta Mañana," as well as its public affairs show "Cada Día."

He received two Emmy awards while he was working at WTVJ-TV, an Associated Press Award and four Hispanic Excellence in Journalism Awards, all in the 1980s. He also received a DuPont and Peabody as well as the Orchid award for best news anchor in the U.S. in 2006. Media 100 has named him best anchor three times, and Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the "100 most influential people in the U.S." He was given the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Sciences in 2010.  As of June 2011, he has filled in for MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer at the 12pm time slot, hosting the one-hour MSNBC Program, “MSNBC Live.”

For the second time he made history when he substituted for “MSNBC Live” anchor Contessa Brewer for the week of June 20 through June 24, 2011 in the show’s 12 PM time slot, making him the first U.S. journalist to broadcast both English and Spanish newscasts on two networks simultaneously.

The NYC LATIN MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT COMMISSION will receive a 2012 Special Recognition HOLA Award.

The NYC Latin Media & Entertainment Commission (LMEC) was created by NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to make New York City the Latin media capital of the world. The LMEC works to promote economic development  for Hispanic advertising and new media companies, creates and supports events that are an experience and a destination for people around the world, and partners with businesses, professional associations and educational institutions to develop the local media and entertainment workforce.

Official LMEC events range from theater to alternative music to film to salsa to outdoor concerts to classical music to art shows and more.

The talent and range of styles of the LMEC events and the energy and vitality of New York give you the best Latin cultural experience in the world. For more information, click here.

To find out more information, about the 2012 HOLA Awards, click here.
To buy a ticket for the
2012 HOLA Awards, click here.

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