2007 Reel Rasquache Festival

Black and gold graphic bar
 May 11, 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

Note to editors and news directors: To arrange interviews with festival participants or honorees, or to arrange for media passes, contact Festival Director, John Ramirez; Chair, Department of Communication Studies, Cal State L.A., (323) 343-4207, jramire4@calstatela.edu

"‘Reel Rasquache"’ Celebrates
U.S. Latino Filmmakers May 18-20

Cal State L.A. film festival to host more than
20 screenings, awards, art display, directors and actors

Los Angeles, CA – Screenings and premieres of groundbreaking new works and conversation with filmmakers and actors will highlight the 2007 Reel Rasquache Festival of the U.S. Latino Experience in Film & Art at California State University, Los Angeles May 18-20.

The fourth annual exhibition, to be held in the Intimate Theatre at the Luckman, is the first exhibition forum on the West Coast – and the only one in Southern California – to focus on the U.S. Latino experience in film. Offering independent U.S. Latino filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their work, the three-day festival this year will present more than 20 films, along with music performances by OLLIN, filmmakers’ roundtable, art displays and an awards gala.

The festival’s name relates to the term “rasquachismo,” often used to define characteristics of Chicano/a cultural practices and a bicultural sensibility. In her essay “Domesticana: The Sensibility of Chicana Rasquache,” Chicana writer Amalia Mesa-Bains put it this way: “In rasquachismo, the irreverent and spontaneous are employed to make the most from the least... one has a stance that is both defiant and inventive. Aesthetic expression comes from discards, fragments, even recycled everyday materials... The capacity to hold life together with bits of string, old coffee cans, and broken mirrors in a dazzling gesture of aesthetic bravado is at the heart of rasquachismo.”

The Festival will include the opening-night celebration of the film El Muerto, directed by Brian Cox, produced by Larry Rattner and starring Wilmer Valderrama, Angie Cepeda, Tony Plana, Michael Parks, and Maria Conchita Alonso. El Muerto is based on the successful cult comic book by the film’s associate producer, Javier Hernandez, who will present a lobby exhibit, “The Art of El Muerto.” The screening of El Muerto will be followed by the 2007 Rasquache Awards – the Pioneer Award will be presented to veteran Latino actor/director/producer Tony Plana currently of Ugly Betty and the Trailblazer Award to Wilmer Valderrama of That ’70s Show. Following the Rasquache Awards will be an open air Gala Reception on the beautiful Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Street of the Arts.

According to Festival Director John Ramirez, “The festival is especially designed to involve Cal State L.A.’s neighboring communities of East Los Angeles and to bring a broad base of grassroots, professional and academic community members together with U.S. Latino film and video independents and industry representatives.”

Since its inception, the Reel Rasquache Festival has advanced the concept of “East Los Premieres.” Films such as this year’s Push, Ladrones y Mentirosos, and The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez are being hosted for the first time in East Los Angeles for the public cultural entertainment, enrichment, benefit and convenience of the East Los Angeles communities.

Reel Rasquache’s 2007 Pioneer Award will honor Tony Plana whose prolific record of achievements in stage, television and film since 1978 span a rich spectrum – from actor, director, writer, producer and advocate for community access to classic and contemporary theatre. Born in Cuba, Plana has worked in literally all dramatic genres, network and public television, broadcast and cable, across the commercial and independent film divide – each work breaking new ground in Latino representation and/or recasting old Latino stereotypes with dimensions of human dignity and social value. Festival Director John Ramirez says, “By his passion, dedication and talents, Tony Plana embodies a role model of tremendous proportions.”

The 2007 Trailblazer Award will recognize Wilmer Valderrama for his contributions to U.S. television and film. The Trailblazer Award honors one whose achievements advance new practices and understandings of U.S. Latino perspectives and representations.

According to Ramirez, “Wilmer has inspired a generation’s television experience with his memorable role in That ’70s Show. Through his work on the Disney Channel’s Handy Manny, he is poised to influence a new generation of young television viewers.”

On the big screen, his work in such films as Party Monster, Beauty Shop, Fast Food Nation, and El Muerto demonstrate a commitment to transcending tired Latino urban and family stereotypes as well as diversifying the palette of Latino dramatic expressions.

Sunday afternoon’s Directors’ Roundtable will afford a rare occasion for U.S. Latino filmmakers to share strategies for success and survival with one another and their audience.

Tickets to individual programs are $9 general and $5 for students and seniors. Opening night tickets, which include the film screening, award program and gala reception, are $20 general and $10 for students and seniors. Day and weekend passes are available. For tickets, call the Luckman Box Office at (323) 343-6600. For details, call (323) 343-4207 or visit www.reelrasquache.org.

The festival’s sponsors include Cal State L.A., FOX Entertainment Group, SONY Pictures Entertainment, Longo Toyota-Scion-Lexus, CSULA Educational Opportunity Program and Carmona Entertainment. For details about available sponsorship opportunities, call (323) 343-5061.

Calendar listing:

2007 REEL RASQUACHE: 4th 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.

May 18-20, 2007

Intimate Theatre at the Luckman; California State University, Los Angeles

$9 general, $5 students/seniors per program; $20 general, $10 students/seniors opening night. Day and weekend passes available. For tickets, call the Luckman Box Office at (323) 343-6600.

(323) 343-4207, www.reelrasquache.org

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. www.calstatela.edu


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