The Storm That Swept Mexico

March 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pancho Villa

The Mexican Revolution was the first major revolution to be filmed. The Storm That Swept Mexico incorporates photographs and motion pictures from these earliest days of cinema, many of which have never before been seen outside of Mexico.

Ten years in the making by Bay Area filmmakers Ray Telles and Kenn Rabin, The Storm That Swept Mexico is a powerful exploration of one of the most fascinating eras in modern history.

This exclusive new documentary THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO, which tells the epic story of the Mexican revolution of 1910, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century, will screen only one night in the Bay Area and will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, Ray Telles and Kenn Rabin.

This rare footage will be on the big screen Thursday, March 31, 7:00pM at 1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael. Call 415.454.1222 for more information. This is a California Film Institute screening.

Watch the trailer.

TRAILER – The Storm That Swept Mexico from Paradigm Productions on Vimeo.


Leguizamo in The Lincoln Lawyer

March 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

John Leguizamo

The Lincoln Lawyer is based on the best-selling novel by Michael Connelly in which a lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, does business from the back of a Lincoln Town Car representing a high-profile client.

The star studded cast includes John Leguizamo, Michael Peña (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), and Marissa Tomei.

Here’s a behind the scenes clip of Leguizamo talking about working the streets of Los Angeles as Val Valenzuela. [INTERVIEW CLIP]

And here he is in action.

The Lincoln Lawyer is in theaters now.


Angeleno Magazine’s Fashion Night in Hollywood

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Fashion Night at SupperClub

Wed., March 16 I took part in Angeleno Magazine’s Back Stage Beauty Event, just to check out LA’s fashion week festivities.

There was a showcase of designers including Tony Cohen, Ghita, Adolfo Sanchez, J.C. Rags and D.E.P.T. and it was a packed event as you can see from the photo.

There were appearances by Ray J, his entourage, acrobats and opera singers.

It was a lot of fun and interesting to see LA fashion and Hollywood fuse that night.

A Salute to María Félix

March 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Maria Felix

On International Women’s Day, María Félix aka La Doña came to mind.

Not only is she the most recognized face from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, but she was a trailblazer, pursuing her career aspirations despite cultural norms of the times.

She starred in a total of 52 films and only played roles that embodied who she really was – a strong, cut-throat femme fatale. Félix turned down anything that fell short of those standards.

Here’s a short clip of Félix as Angela in Doña Diabla, a 1950’s Mexican drama.

Call For Film Entries

March 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

call for film entriesThe San Francisco Latino Film Festival is now accepting film entries.

Films made by, about or with Latinos from the U.S. and abroad are encouraged to enter.

To qualify films must be made between 2008 and now. Short and feature films are welcome to enter and the deadline to submit is June 3, 2011.

Click here for the PDF entry form. If you have questions, email

Follow SF Latino film happenings on Twitter and like the SF Latino Film Festival on Facebook to join the conversation.

Good luck!


Somos Lo Que Hay at San Diego Latino Film Festival

March 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Somos Lo Que Hay

The 18th annual San Diego Latino Film Festival kicks off tonight with a screening of the highly anticipated thriller Somos Lo Que Hay, a Canana film about cannibals in modern day Mexico City.

I’m excited to see it along with a slew of new Spanish language films this weekend. Tweet me if you’re out there @sflatinofilm.

To get more information about San Diego Latino Film Festival screenings go to, follow them on Twitter @macsd and follow hashtag #SDLFF.

Here’s a trailer of Somos Lo Que Hay.

Directed by Jorge Michel Grau.


Ronny Morris Talks About the Future of Music

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Who is Morris Music?

The label was originally developed to support the release of singer/songwriter Ronny Morris’ music. Morris partnered with longtime friend and business partner Carsten Lindskog to open the label and its publishing division.After the label’s success licensing music to several films and television productions, Lindskog and Morris decided to open the doors to other emerging artists. The company has grown to include a collected group of five professionals, working together to promote and support local and international talent.

Growing in the industry

“We are a very creative group people, who are constantly sharing ideas” says Morris. “We grow with the success of our artists. We ask ourselves where music can fit a niche, who can be touched by the music we promote, and where certain music has not yet touched ground.”

He goes on, “We are passionate about creating win/win situations and feel it’s about the experience, not just quick decisions.”

The label actively recruits new talent. Morris plans to attend the 2010 SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin to look for emerging artists.

“The artists and the clients we serve are the foundation of our success, and we grow with them. We believe in the quality of music that we deliver, and are always looking for new artists that share that ideal with us.”

Morris on music today

“The music industry is a very exciting place to be right now. The rules have changed. There are a lot of new companies emerging with new approaches to the business, Live Nation being an example, and the industry is rearranging itself.”

Live Nation emerged in 2005 as a start up music label that teamed with Ticketmaster. It has since become one of the largest promotion houses in the country.

“From the business side, we are exploring different avenues to create revenue from the music that we sell. No one can depend on CD and download sales” he confesses. “The live scene is a good alternative, but live shows are not a total resolution. Touring costs, and the audience has to be there, which can be difficult for emerging artists.”

Since 2001, the music industry has taken huge losses due to piracy and peer to peer sharing sites like Kazaa and Napster.

According to ZDNet “the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reports 2.8 million pirated CD-R discs were seized in the United States last year.”

“So many people in music have been laid off as well, which is troubling, but it opens the doors for new collaboration, especially for us independents. New creative partnerships are emerging, and we all have the opportunity to learn from each other and gain from each others’ experience.”

“Even when it’s winter, a wise farmer plans for spring!”

Getting inspired

“Everything about music inspires me. There are simple lyric ideas that pop up in my mind, or a melody line that I think of when I’m riding across town on my bike. There is text that is born from outrage or sadness, or something in my environment shifting.”

He continues, “Recording is a fantastic and nerve-wracking part of music creation, like a chef working on a meal that he’s really excited about. Sometimes you leave feeling tired and used, but can’t wait to come back into the studio the next day, and I think that’s inspirational.”

Morris writes music that is featured on TV shows “The Ghost Whisperer” and “Brothers and Sisters”.

His collaboration with Swedish producer, Adam Kviman, earned him Hollywood Music in Media’s Best Production / Producer of the Year award – making it his second consecutive HMM award win.

“Music is a lifesaver, and I can’t say enough about it. People make love to music, dance to music, get aggressive to music, and cry with music. It’s in delivery rooms when people are born and can be heard at funerals. We are even healed by music. I don’t think it gets enough credit.”

Having integrity

“It’s important to me that music is treated with integrity and an honest approach” says Morris. “A lot of today’s releases and international shows like American Idol dilute the significance that so many of us in the field dedicate ourselves to, and I think it’s unfortunate to twist a gorgeous, emotive medium into something so cheap. I think music has to come from the heart. No one wants it to be an empty package in a fast-food wrapper.”

Morris Music currently represents six recording artists locally and internationally. Its headquarters are in Santa Monica, California with satellite offices in the UK and Seattle. More Morris Music news can be found on their Facebook fan page.

Bay Area Latino Film Begins a New Chapter

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Cine+Mas SF, a new organization producing the San Francisco Latino Film Festival successfully wrapped year two of their September events. A group of ten Bay Area film lovers run this non-profit organization with Fractured Atlas as its fiscal sponsor.

The group pushes messages online, on the streets, via radio and on news stations like CBS5 – all in an effort to keep the Latino film movement thriving in the SF Bay Area. Shows were presented in San Francisco, Marin, Redwood City, the Silicon Valley at The Tech Museum of Innovation and in Berkeley.

The festival showcased 30 films including shorts, documentaries, and features. Eight countries were represented including Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Brazil, and the USA.

Seven filmmakers were in attendance including Florence Jaugey, director of the Oscar nominated film, ‘La Yuma’.

It’s not a festival without parties and there were several including a smash opening night at the new SOM SF in partnership with Latinos a Morir. Other events included Project One closing night at Sub-Mission, and their annual IMAX event at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

“Our mission is to step forth as a new organization with fresh eyes” says their founder, Lou Ramirez. “We were successful in doing so, showcasing two Oscar nominated films in the foreign film category.”

The website contains constantly updated information. View call for entry details, film trailers along with film notes and links their Facebook page: or follow them on

Does Ethnocentrism Exist in America Today?

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Protesters at Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma

Ethnocentrism as it relates to our society today is still an issue and I can’t help but tie a film I saw last summer into my thoughts on the subject.

I presented a documentary feature film at San Jose Public Library: Hillview Branch during the Bay Area Latino Film Festival’s summer program. The film titled Crossing Arizona is a documentary about the very popular anti-immigration sentiment among several Arizonians in modern day.

Among those interviewed for the film were leaders from the Minuteman Project. The Minuteman Project is a group of militia oriented activists who have devoted their time to patrolling the Mexican – U.S. border.

“If we eliminate illegal immigration there would be no more drugs, no more crime, no more deaths. It’s beyond logical,” a Minuteman said while driving to his patrol site.

The group has been active since 2005 and throughout these years has drawn both negative and favorable publicity to their gun totting, anti-immigration patrol tactics.

Following his commentary, photos of a woman shot to death in the desert flashed the movie screen leaving viewers in shock.

The woman was pregnant.

I was left pretty bothered by the film’s contents. Minutemen are spitting on the very principle of life. Hope for a change that their ancestors had when making the journey to the U.S. – totally forgotten.

Not only are Minutemen textbook ethnocentrics, but they’re breeding generations of hate without consequence in Arizona. This mentality isn’t conducive to civil cohabitation.

Aside from the statements made by the Minuteman, the philosophies of the group are very much blinded by a sense of ownership over American soil. Their view of right and wrong is blurred, so much in fact that a complete abuse of human life is practiced.

They feel referent power over immigrants but not just any immigrants, Mexican immigrants who for the most part come to this country to work jobs that Americans don’t want to work.

Needless to say, I was sickened by the utter disregard for the fact that America is a melting pot and everyone, aside from Native American Indians, has history in immigrating here and Arizona use to be Mexican soil.

Besides all that though, this is a communication issue that still very much contributes to the way people form groups and ideologies. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of where our society is in regard to human rights.


Robert Rodriguez in THE BLACK MAMBA

March 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez

For the first time in our film recollection, veteran filmmaker Robert Rodriguez appears in one of his films – his short about Kobe Bryant titled THE BLACK MAMBA.

The short film for Nike also stars Danny Trejo, Kobe Bryant, Kanye West, Bruce Willis and some wicked looking basketball beasts.

Here it is in its entirety. Enjoy!

follow me on twitter @vc29

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