All over the world, millions of viewers are devotees of their favorite soap opera or telenovela. Millions watched All My Children in college and dressed up for the weddings. Millions more sat with Grandma to have coffee while watching Days of Our Lives. In the 1960s, Mexican telenovela director Miguel Sabido concluded that these melodramas would be a perfect way to bring about social change. Long before the internet, he was convinced that the masses worldwide could help solve major social problems. His first telenovela series, about an elderly man wanting to finish elementary school by any means necessary, encouraged half a million adults to take government sponsored adult-literacy classes in Mexico. Other popular series followed: about family planning, violence against women, HIV/AIDS and other social issues.
In POOR CONSUELO CONQUERS THE WORLD, Sabido and other telenovela (and radionovela) producers give examples, and the film includes excerpts from around the world. Sabido refined his formula until it became a widely used methodology that spread globally and resulted in a new field called Entertainment-Education. So while Sabido was busy directing a popular entertainment empire, he was also creating a dynamic new model for socially sustainable development. Like Sabido’s work, director Peter Friedman’s POOR CONSUELO CONQUERS THE WORLD is a piece of entertainment that also provides a new blueprint for real social change.
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