Eva Longoria put Hollywood on notice during her Kering Women in Motion talk in 2023 cannes film festival.

The «Desperate Housewives» alum, joined by University of Southern California Annenberg professor and researcher Dr. Stacy L. Smith, is making her feature directorial debut with «Flamin’ Hot» an inspiring story about a Frito-Lay janitor who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The film won an Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival.

As a director, first-time director and Latina director, Longoria said she «felt the weight of my community» and «the weight of every director» when production began on «Flamin’ Hot.»

“We don’t have a lot of bites in the apple,” Longoria said of Latina female directors. “My movie wasn’t low-budget by any means, it wasn’t $100 million, but it wasn’t $2 million. When was the last studio movie directed by a Latina? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t have a movie every 20 years.»

Longoria continued: “The problem is that if this movie fails, people say, ‘Oh, the Latino stories don’t work…the female directors don’t really work.’ We don’t get many at-bats. A white man can direct a $200 million movie, flop, and get another. That’s the problem. I have one at-bat, one opportunity, I work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap,” Longoria said.

Dr. Stacy L. Smith and Eva Longoria speak during the Cannes Film Festival
Dr. Stacy L. Smith and Eva Longoria speak during the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images for Kering

With “Flamin’ Hot,” Longoria insisted on making an inspiring story about Latinos with characters who resembled his own family, from his father to his uncles. The story looks at how corporate America underestimates the Hispanic community. The same can be said of Hollywood studios, Longoria noted.

“Twenty-eight percent of ticket buyers at the box office are Latino,” he said. “Your movie won’t be successful if you don’t have the Latino audience. Do you know how many Latinos applied to ‘Crazy Rich Asians’? Do you know how many Latinos bought a ticket to ‘Fast and Furious’? We are over-indexed in going to the movies, so why shouldn’t there be content for us if we are the ticket buyers?

Even with the strides that have been made with Latino inclusion in Hollywood, Longoria says not only is there a long way to go, but statistically, the industry is regressing.

“We are still underrepresented in front of the camera, we are still underrepresented behind the camera, we are still not taking advantage of women in the Latino community,” Longoria said. «We were at 7% in TV and film, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so progressive is a myth when you look at the data.»