Reel Rasquache Festival

Black and gold graphic bar
May 16, 2007

Sean Kearns
Media Relations Director
(323) 343-3050
Margie Low
Public Affairs Specialist
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

Media Advisory: Friday-Sunday, May 18-20

Reporters invited to Reel Rasquache’s
projection of Latino experience

Film fest opens with comic-book’s ‘El Muerto,’
closes with first U.S. soldier to die in Iraq

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: Reflecting independence, cultural perspectives, social issues and and some spirituality, the Reel Rasquache Festival of the U.S. Latino Experiences in Film & Art at Cal State L.A. will offer intriguing realms to explore journalistically. Consider these: death and resurrection; the struggles of immigrant students and workers; ballet, Cuban politics and twin sisterhood; soldiers enlisting in the U.S. Army to become citizens, including the first to die in the Iraq war; emerging from gang life in Boyle Heights; and how ‘El Muerto’ might battle Spiderman—at the box office and as comic-book heroes. Reporters may also interview directors, writers, actors and student filmmakers.

The festival runs Friday, May 18, through May 20. Screenings, workshops and other events will be at Cal State L.A.’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex. The full schedule is at For details, call Festival Director John Ramirez at (323) 343-4207. (Permit dispenser parking is available at Lots C or F and upper level of Parking Structure 2.)

There’s Spiderman! …And, now, look! There’s El Muerto!
Another comic-book character will hit the big screen as El Muerto kicks off the three-day festival on Friday, May 18, at 7 p.m. In El Muerto, a young man unwittingly marks himself in homage to the old Aztec god of death, Mictlantecuhtli, and dies in a car accident on his way to a Dia de Los Muertos festival. He awakens in the Aztec realm of the dead, Mictlan, to be sacrificed to the old god. Afterward, he is sent back to Earth exactly one year after his death, having supernatural powers. (94 min.) El Muerto actors Tony Plana and Wilmer Valderrama will receive the festival’s Pioneer and Trailblazer awards, respectively, and comic creator Javier Hernandez will showcase some of the original drawings.

Through high-school lenses: Gorilla Newscast, Teenage Pregnancy, The Wedge and more
On Saturday, May 19, 1 – 2:30 p.m., the High School Student Filmmakers’ Showcase will present innovative film projects by students from five local high schools: Belmont, Echo Park, Roosevelt, San Pedro and Wilson. The films include Gorilla Newscast, Teenage Pregnancy, The Wedge, Going Home, Simple Revenge, and more. A reception for the filmmakers will follow, with live performance by OLLIN, at the Luckman Street of the Arts.

The first U.S. soldier to die in Iraq war…is a Mexican?
On Sunday, May 20, 1 – 3 p.m., Reel Rasquache will present The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez. Gutierrez died a few hours after the Iraq war started in March 2003, the first U.S. soldier to fall…and he wasn’t even an American citizen. In death, Antonio’s dream of citizenship was realized; like 38,000 other non-U.S. soldiers, he had enlisted in the U.S. Army lured by the promise of U.S. citizenship. (90 min.)

‘Father G and the Homeboys,’ on screen, in person for festival’s closing
Culminating the three-day festival will be the California premiere of Father G and the Homeboys Sunday, May 20, 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. The film follows four Latino gangbangers as they re-direct their lives amid gang warfare in the Los Angeles area known as Boyle Heights—not long ago considered street-gang capital of the world. For more than 20 years, Father Gregory Boyle (Father G) and his non-profit organization “Homeboy Industries” have helped kids plan for their futures instead of their funerals. (104 min.) Father G will be attending.

For full release, go to: /univ/ppa/newsrel/RR2007.htm

Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 190,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.


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