Opens Through AMC Theatres’ AMC Independent Program in L.A. and Diego on May 2nd (theater listing below)
By Bel Hernandez
Some of Kiki Melendez’s greatest gifts are her warmth, her colorful personality and her ability to make you part of her life. This Friday when her first feature, the docu-comedy Journey of a Female Comic, opens it will take you on a Kiki roller coster ride through the Hollywood Hills, the swank neighborhood of Bel Air and into the life and struggles of actress/ writer/director/comedienne, Kiki Melendez. It is a story of survival in Hollywood, and Melendez has not only survived, she has lived to tell about it in her film which opens May 2nd in Los Angeles and San Diego at the AMC theaters.
But who is Kiki Melendez you ask? The film asks that same question of some of Hollywood most noted actors and industry insiders. It’s through their testimonials that friends like Esai Morales, Edward James Olmos, producer Peter Engel (Saved by the Bell), Nadine Velazquez (Flight, My Name is Earl), Jacob Vargas, Comedian Felipe Esparza (Last Comic Standing), Maria Conchita Alonso and even the late Lupe Ontiveros, who describe a woman who driven to succeed, “struggling in luxury”, and hoping to make a difference.
Most people know her as the producer and host of the Showtime hit comedy show Hot Tamales Live. The critically acclaimed show that has opened doors to female comics of all races, changing the face of Hollywood since 2002. At one point it also introduced a young Eva Longoria to L.A. audiences before her rise to stardom with her role in Desperate Housewives. The film shows a Longoria at the advance screening of Hot Tamales Live, as she also recounts how she met Kiki; how Kiki helped her when she first got into town by letting her sleep on her couch.
But Melendez’s journey begins with her single mother bravely immigrating to the US from a small ranch in the Dominican Republic and continues today at her residence in Bel Air, CA. “I never wanted you to just be the daughter of a maid,” her mother once told her.
This film has a lot of heart and speaks from the heart. It’s about Melendez creative journey but it is also a road familiar to anyone that has struggled to reach for the stars. The journey, however goes beyond just Kiki’s life as it also chronicles the issues confronted by Latinos in Hollywood.
Told part documentary, part scripted scenes (there to illicit the laughs), we are given a glimpse into the many aspects of Kiki’s life and her career highlights and lowlights. As host and producer or the groundbreaking bilingual (English/Spanish) magazine style TV show, Kiki Desde Hollywood (which aired on Galavision during the 90′s), Kiki accomplished something that had never been done before. She interviewed over 100 celebrities both Latinos and non-Latinos, simultaneous going from Spanish to English . It aired on a Spanish-language network and it made for great TV. The list of talent interviewed on the show included Hollywood stars like John Travolta, Marc Anthony, Usher, Dr Dre, Shakira, Sofia Vergara, producer Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Lupe Ontiveros, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, and many more.
By the end of the film, you not only know who Kiki Melendez is, but you also cheer for her, cry with her, and laugh at her and with her. And that is just fine with Kiki because it is a mission of hers to “unite people through laughter”. Mission accomplished Kiki!
Journey of A Female Comic was produced by Melendez’s Latin Hollywood Films in association with Lions Kill Productions. It is produced and directed by Erick M. Crespo and Kiki Melendez, written by Lyn McCullough and Kiki Melendez. Executive Producers are David Albert Pierce, Mark Ford, Paul Lawrence, Gloria Ortiz, Vickie Leyva and Mike Levy.
LOCATIONS OT THE THEATRICAL RELEASE OF Kiki Melendez’s Journey of a Female Comic
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2014