The Movies

Our Participation in the Movies

We’re positively breathless. Following the world premiere of Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart at The Autry National Center, we had our broadcast debut on VOCES on PBS, our first college screening at Midway College in Kentucky, two screenings at Muestra de Cine GuadaLAjara at AMC Universal CityWalk Cinemas, an encore broadcast on Los Angeles PBS station KLCS, and a PBS World channel broadcast! It was a busy and gratifying month-long coming out party, and we have the pictures and the press to prove it. Members of Las Azaleas participated in Q&As from enthusiastic audiences at all the Southern California screenings. Check out our Autry Red Carpet (courtesy of our friends at LIENZO! magazine) andCinemuestra albums on the Pony Highway Productions facebook page. We’ve also archived most of the press coverage on the Press page of the website. One of our favorite experiences was an interview on the National Public Radio show “Only a Game,” hosted by Bill Littlefield. Bill really GOT the documentary. Have a listen here.

Please note, the programmers OVERBOOK this theater, and seats are first-come, first served, from the reservations list. Your reservation alone does not guarantee a seat, so please arrive early.

A sneak peek at our DVD wrapper

The DVDs are headed to the manufacturer next week, and will definitely be ready in time for holiday gift giving. We’ll do an e-blast the minute we have them in stock and the “BUY NOW” button is activated on the website. Those of you who opted for the DVD reward way back when we ran our Kickstarter campaign, remember you’ll have one coming to you automatically. We’ll be checking mailing addresses for those shortly. We think the wrapper looks great, don’t you?


Related Article: Sandy Torres Finds Escaramuza Both a Tough and Ladylike Way to Do Rodeo

Interview with Chris Weitz,
Director of A  Better Life

By: Toby de la Torre

Toby de la Torre:  Chris, I watched you work throughout the filming of “A Better Life”. One thing that I am certain of is that there was a lot of passion and personal concern throughout all of the scenarios. Can you describe some of the personal emotions and concerns you had making the movie?

Chris Weitz: My grandmother is Mexican — she came to this country when she was seventeen — and my wife is Latina (half Mexican-American, half Cuban), so for me, making the film was an important way of exploring my roots. I definitely had a sense of having in some respects lost touch with my culture, so this working experience was a good excuse to study Spanish, which I am still doing. To see the pride that people bring to keeping the culture of the Charros alive is very inspiring to me, and of course, it is also very melancholy when you think of people of Mexican descent in Los Angeles who feel rootless and disconnected. The portion of the movie that we shot at Pico Rivera is very bittersweet — we see a proud man, who has left behind his tierra to try to make a better life for his family; and also his son, who is seeing maybe for the first time, the culture that belongs to him. He hasn’t been able to get the benefit of this, because his father works so hard and can’t be at home very much. The movie is really about their journey towards understanding one another and about the sacrifices that parents make for their families.

Toby de la Torre: Your production team and everybody involved in the making of “A Better Life” was wonderful and respectful to everyone. I understand some actors and contractors were willing to work for less than usual. What were your biggest challenges in making the movie?

Chris Weitz:  I’m glad that the crew and cast were respectful to everyone in the locations in which we worked; the people there welcomed us with open arms, and we were very grateful to get a chance to shoot in real locations and to capture on film the way people live their lives. This was a big concern — to be accurate about all of the worlds that we were portraying, from the Charro culture to the culture of Boyle Heights, which is not rich in monetary terms but very rich in spirit. Even gang members deserved to be treated with an understanding eye; that was something that Father Gregory Boyle at Homeboy Industries teaches. The camera can lie but it can also tell the truth by keeping its eye open for the little details of life, and as for me and my crew it was our job to try to paint an honest picture of the struggles and victories that Mexican American people experience in this country. Read More>>>




‘A Better Life’ — A Love Letter To LA

Charros Federation USA has participated in various videos, short movies, documentaries and even a full length production movie a famous director and popular Oscar nominated Mexican actor worked in. The movie was named “A Better Life”. The movie was significant because of its powerful message, resonating effect and the positive emotions and understanding it conveyed. Chris Weitz was in a fortunate position, since he had just come off the sets with huge success directing “New Moon” of the Twilight Series. Instead of working another major production, he chose to portray a humble heartfelt project that was twenty years in the making. Demian Bichir received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor award. Only the second Mexican American ever to achieve that recognition ever since Anthony Quinn.

Participation in “A Better Life” will always be a cherished memory and accomplishment for us. Thank you Chris Weitz, Demian Bichir, Christian McLaughlin, Laura Greenlee and of course Jamie Gertz.

CFUSA was able to assist with information and access to Charro venues for the producers of “Escaramuza, Riding from the Heart”. A widely promoted documentary that gained national recognition and was featured in the PBS “Voces” series. A beautiful relationship and bond was created between the Charro community and our beloved friends Robin Rosenthal and Bill Yahraus, who produced the wildly popular documentary and several award winning documentaries throughout the years.

A lifetime friendship was born with “Escaramuza, Riding from the Heart”, The success and dedication to this documentary will benefit our culture forever. Thank you Robin and bill and Las Azaleas.

Several videos and filming opportunities have surfaced throughout the years. CFUSA Inc. is always available to assist in whatever way we can. We recognize the value and appreciate the opportunities extended to us and for that, we thank you all.

Sincerely, Tobias “Toby” de la Torre
CEO, Charros Federation USA Inc