Iconic Film “Selena” Inducted into National Film Register for Preservation

The film, which tells the inspiring and tragic story of music star Tejano Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, has been inducted into the National Film Register of the Library of Congress.

“Selena,” the 1997 biopic that’s a longtime fan favorite, is one of 25 films selected this year that explore “stories from diverse communities across the country that often bear universal themes,” according to a statement. Library of Congress Press Release.

Directed by Mexican-American filmmaker Gregory Nava, the film explores Selena’s rise to fame in her family group – and her death at age 23 after being shot and killed in 1995 by the president of her fan club.

The film was the starring role of actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, who played Selena. It also starred Edward James Olmos, who played the father of the young singer and group director, Abraham.

The film helped introduce Selena to thousands of new fans and helped her legend continue, despite her curtailed career.

Olmos told the Library of Congress that the film stands out as a universal family story that concerns Mexican Americans along the Texas-Mexico border.

“It will stand the test of time,” said Olmos. “[It’s] a masterpiece because it allows people to learn about themselves by observing the culture of others.

“Selena’s life, music, and film have become touchstones in Latin American culture, and her contagious appeal has spread to audiences of all kinds,” the Library of Congress said.

In January, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, then chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, nominated the film for the registry. At the time, Castro said the movie industry had excluded Latinos and “denied us the chance to tell our own stories for too long.”

This year’s films are among the most diverse to enter the register, with some dating back almost 120 years. Films range from creations by Hollywood studios to some by independent filmmakers, documentary makers, directors, filmmakers of color and the silent movie era.

The Library of Congress has previously included Latin films such as “Salt of the Earth”, “I Am Joaquin”, “Zoot Suit”, “El Norte”, “Stand and Deliver” and “Real Women Have Curves” in the National Film register.

In December 2020, he inducted German filmmaker Wim Wenders’ documentary “Buena Vista Social Club”, which follows acclaimed guitarist Ry Cooder and his son, Joachim, as they travel to Havana to reunite some of the biggest Cuban pop stars of the Batista era.

Turner Classic Movies will host a special Friday TV show at 8 p.m. ET to screen some of this year’s selected films and a discussion about them.

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