Award-Winning Indie Film Travels to Cannes Film Festival!
Hollywood, CA — David Llauger-Meiselman’s award-winning indie, 1st Strike, starring Danny Trejo and Johnny Ortiz, is heading to the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
1st Strike is breakout artist Johnny Ortiz’s first feature film shot before his performances in Disney’s McFarland USA and ABC’s dramaAmerican Crime, which premiered on March 5th. “It was important to us,” said Llauger-Meiselman, “Once Danny Trejo and veteran actress Alma Martinez were on board, we cast the best, new and untapped Latino talent we could find—and we’re thrilled that many came directly from the urban community that is the setting for 1st Strike. We were equally impressed with the raw talent showcased by Jocelyn Cruz.”
At the same time, the director went on to say how important it was for the cast to be balanced with veteran actors: James Russo, Billy Gallo, French Stewart andReginald VelJohnson. Rounding out the cast is Zahn McClarnon, Felipe Alejandro Ramirez, and Lawrence Smilgys who is also the film’s screenwriter.
The coming-of-age crime drama, 1st Strike 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 temptations of living in a gang-controlled neighborhood and a prejudiced juvenile criminal system.
“With Latinos becoming less of a niche audience and more a part of the mainstream,” said Steven Isock, President of California Pictures Inc., “I’m not surprised by the positive responses we’ve had at all of our screenings. We’re filling the theater seats including the larger venues.”
Isock went on to say that he was drawn to 1st Strike, because it is a great American story. “It hits home to the reality of the challenges faced by Latino families raising children living in underprivileged neighborhoods, where the criminal juvenile system can work against them.”
1st Strike 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.
“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 not applied equally.”
“1st Strike could easily be my real life story were it not for my acting career,” saidJohnny Ortiz, who plays the teenager Juan Garcia. “I’m humbled and honored to be a positive role model and help all the ‘Juan’ teens, who happen to be at the wrong place, wrong time and get arrested for crimes they did not commit.”
“Movies are a universal language,” said Isock, “and we look forward to our presentation in Denver. 1st Strike has the basic elements that appeal to all moviegoers: Strong American Latino story in English. A beloved and charismatic star named Danny Trejo, and an outstanding soundtrack.”
With all the current civil unrest going on, audiences need to see Strike One, to witness one man’s determination to save his nephew from a faulty juvenile criminal system.
Feature | USA | 100 mins.
Cast: Danny Trejo, Johnny Ortiz, Billy Gallo, Alma Martinez, Jocelyn Cruz, French Stewart, James Russo, Reginald VelJohnson, Zahn McClarnon, and Felipe Alejandro Ramirez
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. 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. 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.