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American Program Bureau Speaking to the world for over 50 years

Lisa Cortes

Film & Music Producer
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Biography

An accomplished film and music producer, Lisa Cortes has a special talent for giving light to expressive voices not often heard and stories not often told. After reading Sapphire’s novel Push in 1996, Cortes was tremendously moved by the powerful message and knew it had to be translated to the big screen. The result? 2009's captivating hit film Precious, which received six Academy Award nominations and two wins.

Aligned with Cortes’s mission of instigating and propagating cutting-edge African American culture and issues through the arts to promote change, she sold her vision of Sapphire’s book to director Lee Daniels. She then worked for four years to convince Sapphire to transform the novel Push into the film Precious.

Involved in the project daily, from scripting to shooting to marketing and “from conception to the christening,” Cortes wore many hats. Her efforts were rewarded with the movie receiving the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, as well as sweeping the awards season. Precious has been hailed as a “disturbing masterwork of human survival” by The Hollywood Reporter and has been lauded by prestigious publications such as Variety and The New York Times.

Not only known as a main catalyst behind the film Precious, Cortes was also a driving force in the music industry as one of the handful of people who launched Def Jam Records during the golden age of hip-hop. Her enlightening presentation offers a glimpse into the dynamic film and music industries, sharing underlying themes and behind-the-scenes stories.

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Topics

Imagine a Future: Examining Self-Esteem Issues Challenging Black Females

The Joy of Reinvention

Breaking Into the Boys Club: Women Behind the Camera

Cutting-Edge African American Culture & Issues

Creating Change: The Art of Social Justice in Films

The Evolving Image of Black Women on Screen

To Serve: Creating Change Through the Arts

My Sister’s Keeper: Mentoring in Your Community

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