Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Cultural Identity in Film Posters

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posted on 2021-12-08, 07:21 authored by Freire, Jessica

This thesis investigates the current representation of the Latin American identity in mainstream media cinematic posters. While in recent years, the film industry has begun to acknowledge issues in cultural representation, current Latin American portrayals continue to lack depth and rely on ill-informed historical stereotypes.  Cinematic promotional posters were once considered an art form, but recent technological developments and the Hollywood culture has led them to become formulaic, unoriginal, and lifeless. In an attempt to enrich the conversation around diversity, and reinterpret the power of the film poster, the visual portrayal of the Latin American identity in film posters will be analysed and redressed to present complex, multidimensional characters and narratives that embrace and emphasise their current cultural identity. This research portfolio presents a visual analysis of 120 film posters, identifying and categorising key themes, tropes, and elements that form stereotypical representations. This analysis informs an iterative design process. It utilises Latin American visual design language to reinterpret the possibilities that film posters have in creating elaborate narratives that treat audiences with respect and complexity. The resulting designs were used as prompts for discussion and critique with relevant stakeholders, to further inform conversations about cultural representation through design and inform further iterations.  This process ultimately suggests a method of culturally embedded film promotion design. By re-imaging film posters through Latin American design traditions, I will offer an alternative perspective on Latin American characters that challenge dominant stereotypes.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Design for Social Innovation

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

Re-positioning Latin Americans in Mainstream Media Films

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Caudwell, Catherine; O'Sullivan, Nan