News Release| CSULA, Cal State L.A.; Reel Rasquache; Festival of the U.S. Latino Experience in Film & Art; Luckman; John Ramirez; Arts and Letters

Note to editors and news directors: For more details, contact John Ramirez, festival director, at [email protected] or (323) 343-4207. 

REEL RASQUACHE 2008 runs at Cal State L.A. this weekend Festival of the U.S. Latino Experience in Film & Art

Lineup peppered by premieres from an array of genres:

 family fun, documentaries, horror, ‘Dead News Network,’ ‘Chiles,’ more

Los Angeles, CAThe 5th annual Reel Rasquache Film Festival – a West Coast celebration of films by and about  U.S. Latinos – will be held May 30-June 1, 2008, at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at California State University, Los Angeles

Reel Rasquache 2008 will include the world or regional premieres of 25 films from a diverse array of genres—animation, comedy, documentary, experimental, family drama, and horror.

According to Festival Director John Ramirez, a Cal State L.A. media studies professor, “The range and caliber of this year’s films, filmmakers and artists are by far the best yet.  This is Reel Rasquache’s fifth year, and the celebration promises to take the festival to a new level of growth, recognition, and demand.“

Opening night, May 30, will showcase the comedy feature film Pancho Goes to College directed by Arizona filmmaker, Rubén Reyes.  Pancho has been described as the uproarious “Latino Animal House.”  Opening night will conclude with the fest’s kick off reception, open to all in attendance.

The Saturday, May 31, lineup includes following:

Casa Libre/Freedom House,  a world premiere documentary directed by Roberto S. Oregel and produced by UCLA’s Chon Noriega; the film examines the Los Angeles shelter for homeless undocumented children and teens.

Muñeca, produced and co-written by New York artist and filmmaker Christina Soto, explores Latina experiences in the face of cultural and social constraints. It also makes its world premiere.

The 7, award-winning director Adam Schlachter’s debut feature horror film, makes its East Los Angeles debut in a program designed to blur the horrors of imagination with those of history. 

Sunday, June 1, the fest offers two fun family movies making their area premieres:

Alondra Smiles is a heart-warming quinceañera tale by production team Conchita Nora Villa and Juan Francisco Villa.

3 Américas is a USA/Argentina co-production by New York filmmaker Cristina Kotz Cornejo.


Reel Rasquache 2008 will also showcase inventive and compelling shorts:

Dead News Network, the fourth animation in the four-act animated opera by John Jota Leaños and Sean Levon Nash.

Niña Quebrada, an award-winning look by Jen Kleiner and Diana Romero on U.S. Mexico sex trade.

A Day at the Theatre, Kenneth Castillo’s fifth installment in his silent, black & white Misadventures of Cholo Chaplin.

19: Victoria, Texas, Dolissa Medina’s haunting experimental memorial to casualties of human smuggling.

Chiles, Tyrone HuFF’s hilarious exploration of Latino and African American relations.

Crossing Numbers, Spanish filmmaker Abel Gonzalez’s comedy of errors in which the body of a Mexican is found lying literally on the US-Mexico border.

The Sun Shines on the Other Side of the Street, Emilio Rosa’s touching tale of three generations of men – grandfather, father, and son – struggling to hold together in the face of poverty and generational differences; it stars Latin jazz master Tito Puente Jr., who will attend the screening.

The festival will also showcase the jury-selected works of students and alumni of the California State University.  From Cal State L.A., Johnny Kirk’s Shine shares the opening-night spotlight; and Rocco Rodriguez’s Ganandose La Vida/Making a Life and Roberto S. Oregel’s Casa Libre are in Saturday’s documentary program. Cal State L.A. alumnus James Avelar’s Look at Me and CSU Long Beach alumnus Rick Escamilla’s Redevelopment kick off Saturday’s programming. Also, Chiles director HuFF is a CSU Fresno alumnus.

The fest will also showcase films by Cal State L.A. recipients of the 2007-08 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Student Filmmaking Fellowships, including Steve Ayala’s Existence and Daniel Anthony Ross’s Rock On.

At least fifteen of the lineup’s filmmakers will be available for post-screening questions. Most will also participate in Sunday’s Filmmakers’ Roundtable, which will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and moderated by Franc. Reyes, director of Empire, Illegal Tender, and the upcoming The Ministers.

The Reel Rasquache 2008 High School Showcase program – Film for Thought – boasts ten participating schools:  Animo Film and Theatre Arts Charter High School, Bell High School, Belmont High School, Cleveland High School, Echo Park Film Center, Lincoln High School, Roosevelt High School, San Pedro High School, Sylmar High School, and Washington Preparatory High School.

Projecting beyond films, Reel Rasquache 2008 will present an exhibit of U.S. Latino art in the Luckman Intimate Theatre lobby throughout the weekend.  The Saturday afternoon High School Showcase reception will include live music by the local bands Lounie Tunes & Geeoh Luciano and Gavica & the Cry for Love.  On Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. there will be performances by award-winning Chicana poet/author Michele Serros and the nationally acclaimed multimedia performance group Brown Lotus.

Tickets to individual programs are $9 general and $5 for students and seniors. Weekend passes are $50 general and $25 for students and seniors. For details, call the Luckman Box Office at (323) 343-6600.

Festival sponsors include The Walt Disney Company, mun2, Sony Pictures, Fox Entertainment Group, LATV, Cal State L.A., CSULA Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Latin Heat.  For details about sponsorship opportunities, call (323) 343-5061.

Calendar listing:

What:  2008 REEL RASQUACHE: 5th Annual Festival of the U.S. Latino Experience in Film & Art, with film premieres, features and shorts in various genres by national and international independent filmmakers focusing on the diversity of the U.S. Latino experience.

When:  May 30-June 1, 2008

Where:  Luckman Intimate Theatre; California State University, Los Angeles

Cost:  $9 general, $5 students/seniors per program; $50 weekend pass general; $25 weekend pass students/seniors. 

Details: (323) 343-6600,

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