Stars Danny Trejo, Johnny Ortiz, Billy Gallo, Maria Isa, James Russo, Jocelyn Cruz
East Coast Premieres Feb. 19th, Viva Latino Film Fest NYC
Hollywood, CA – David Llauger-Meiselman’s award-winning indie, Strike One, starring Danny Trejo, opens at the Viva Latino Film Festival NYC International (VLFFI), on Thursday, February 19, 2015. VLFFI runs February 19 to 23rd at the Film Anthology Archives located on 32 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003.
Working alongside of Trejo: breakout artist Johnny Ortiz (McFarland USA, ABC’s new drama American Crime), and actors Alma Martinez, Billy Gallo, Maria Isa Perez, Jocelyn Cruz, French Stewart, James Russo, Lawrence Smilgys, Reginald VelJohnson, and Zahn McClarnon.
The coming-of-age crime drama, Strike One takes place in the L.A. community of Boyle Heights. It illuminates the injustice of California’s controversial Three Strike Law and how it unfairly targets our youth. This is where ex-convict turned actor, Manny Garcia (Trejo) lives, and he is determined to steer his nephew Juan (Ortiz) away from falling victim to the trappings of living in a gang-controlled neighborhood and a prejudiced juvenile criminal system.
“I was intrigued with writing a screenplay about the onerous three-strikes penal system in California and how it affects juveniles,” said Lawrence Smiglys, screenwriter/actor. “This is a subject I knew could be spun into a complex and realistic urban tale.”
Strike One has all the box-office components to appeal to both mainstream and Latino audiences: compelling story with a great moral argument and a soundtrack of original hip-hop and Latin beat music. “Johnny Wilson did a phenomenal job with composing the music,” said Llauger-Meiselman. “Latinos account for 20 percent of the opening weekend box office ticket sales. We are very excited to be part of this new wave of Latino producers making movies about the Latino American experience.”
As Strike One makes the film festival rounds, its producers are not surprised by the positive response by viewers. “What’s not to like,” said Felipe Alejandro Ramirez, producer/actor. “Our movie has cultural significance and at the same time brings to light how vulnerable our kids are living in neighborhoods where the law is applied unevenly. It also raises the question about our own community’s influence and responsibility to our youth.”
A recent report published by the Motion Picture Association of America in 2014, stated that although Latinos make up 17 percent of the population they account for 32 percent of frequent moviegoers—Latinos are repeat customers. In a recent interview, Fox’s President of Domestic Distribution, Chris Aronson, stated, “You don’t have a major hit without Hispanic moviegoers.”
Boricua Films, Strike One’s production company, is committed to making quality movies that reflect a wide scope of the Latino American experience and improve the visibility of Latino talent. “Despite the fact that Latinos drive box-office sales, the Latino presence in front of the camera and behind the scenes is shamefully low,” said Llauger-Meiselman. “Our Latino movie directors only account for 2.3 percent, about 2 percent of producers, and six percent of writers.”
“Movies are a universal language,” said Steven Isock, President of California Pictures, “I was drawn to Strike One because it is a great American story that hits home to the reality of the challenges faced by Latino families raising children living in underprivileged neighborhoods, where the criminal juvenile justice system can work against you.”
“Strike One could easily be my real life story were it not for my acting career,” said Johnny Ortiz, who plays the teenager Juan Garcia. “I’m humbled by the many social media posts from those who related to my character, a teenager at the wrong place at the wrong time who gets thrown in jail for a crime he did not commit.”
Strike One’s east coast premiere is on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7:20 PM, at the Film Anthology Archives in NYC. For more information, visit: http://www.vlffi.com.
Feature | USA | 100 mins.
Cast: Danny Trejo, Johnny Ortiz, Billy Gallo, Alma Martinez, Maria Isa Perez, Jocelyn Cruz, French Stewart, James Russo, Reginald VelJohnson, Zahn McClarnon,
Director: David Llauger-Meiselman ⎮ Writer: Lawrence S. Smilgys, Howard Cohen
Producers: Danny Trejo, Felipe Alejandro Ramirez, Roberto Longoria, Ric Aguirre, James Tumminia, David Llauger-Meiselman, Lawrence Smilgys ⎟ Music Composer: Johnny Wilson
Distributor: California Pictures, Inc.
For more info on film, visit: www.boricuafilms.com.
About Boricua Films
Boricua Films is a production company focused on the development of high quality, culturally diverse feature-length motion pictures, television programs, and theatre. Boricua Films has successfully developed and produced moderately budgeted commercials, short films, feature films, documentaries, and theatre specializing in the urban Latino experience. In 2009 Boricua Films founded the 501 (c) 3 non-profit American Latino Theatre, (AmLT). The AmLT’s first productions were exploratory ventures targeted at providing entertainment to LA’s Latino community. www.boricuafilms.com.
About California Pictures, Inc.
California Pictures produces and distributes motion picture content worldwide. The company was founded in 1944 by Howard Hughes and Preston Sturges, and was reincorporated in 2008 by Steven Istock. California Pictures also advises domestic and international producers on film structuring, finance, production and distribution for a variety of projects in the beginning, middle and closing stages of development, production and distribution. The company produced along with Family Productions the family movie A Warrior’s Heart, the science fiction action movie Scavengers and Steven Istock was an executive producer on the James McAvoy film Filth based on the novel by the same name. California Pictures is focused on producing and distributing great film and television content with dynamic characters, strong and personally identifiable themes and powerful journeys for a worldwide audience. CPI is located in Hollywood on the Paramount Studios lot. www.Californiapicturesinc.com.