EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed director, producer, journalist and committed immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas. The agency has also signed Vargas’s non-profit media organization Define American.
Vargas is best known for his work as a journalist for the Washington Post and a staunch advocate for immigration rights. While at the WaPo, he was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2008 for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.
His work with immigration and cultural identity has spilled over into his work as a writer. He started the media organization Define American, the leading immigration-centric organization in Hollywood, which has worked with several industry executives, showrunners and writers to help with a more realistic portrayal of immigrant characters and immigration-related storylines.
In 2011, Vargas wrote a New York Times essay “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” where he came forward as an undocumented immigrant. He also produced and directed the CNN documentary Documented which chronicled his journey to America from the Philippines and his life as an undocumented immigrant. He helmed the MTV special White People which explored white privilege in the country. Vargas recently released his memoir Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, which further documents his story.
“I am thrilled to be represented by UTA, an artist-driven agency that sees their clients fully and holistically. I am especially grateful to be associated with a Hollywood agency that has a strong commitment to philanthropy and addressing urgent social justice issues,” said Vargas.
UTA will work with Vargas and Define American across multiple disciplines, including news and broadcast, speakers, television, theater, digital, and film. Under the newly inked UTA partnership, Define American launched a development strategy to produce scripted and non-scripted TV, film, digital projects with an inclusive and intersectional focus. Define American has worked with more than 43 film and television projects including Grey’s Anatomy, Superstore, and East Los High. The organization will also launch a research study that explores the representation of immigrant characters in mainstream television programming.
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