Behind the Making of A Father’s Journey

L-r: Lou Pizarro, Joey Medina, Andy Rodriguez and David Fernandez Jr. ©2013 Angela María Ortíz S.

L-r: Lou Pizarro, Joey Medina, Andy Rodriguez and David Fernandez Jr.
©2013 Angela María Ortíz S.

By Angela M. Ortíz

A few months ago I got a chance to be on the set of A Father’s Journey for the filming of a pivotal scene, the crash. It took two-and-half-hours to set up for a few seconds on screen. My invitation came from actor and first-time director, David Fernandez Jr.

A Father’s Journey

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing David for a few years now, watching him grow as an actor and now as a director of a project that’s very dear and personal to him.

As we all know, independent films take a long time to complete; it’s always about the money. But when you get the right crew together, things get done. Now listen in on my conversations with David, Lou and Joey as they talk about their involvement with A Father’s Journey.

Starring Lou Pizarro (Operation Repo) Mayra Leal (Machete) Joey Medina (Original Latin Kings of Comedy), and David Fernandez Jr. (End of Watch).

Pepe Serna has Always been a Leading Man to Us; Now Everyone Knows

Angela Ortíz and Pepe Serna ©2014 Anselmo S Ortiz

Angela Ortíz and Pepe Serna
©2014 Anselmo S Ortiz

By Angela M. Ortíz

I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Pepe Serna over the past few years. He’s a talented actor, an artist, and philosopher that incorporates many colors as part of his everyday life. We are glad to see him getting some attention after 45 years in the movie business.

Serna can be seen in Dave Boyle’s Man from Reno. It has been garnering good reviews (Los Angeles Times) and awards on the film festival circuit. Serna plays a small-town sheriff who is trying to solve a murder mystery with a Japanese crime writer (Ayako Fujitani).

In limited release on March 27.

Below there’s a post we did on Serna a couple of years ago, when he received the 2013 Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival Pioneer Award. As co-director of the festival that year, it was a huge honor for me. He even honored us with a thirty-minute performance of his one-man show, El Ruco, Chuco, Cholo, Pachuco. Enjoy the read.


Pepe Serna, a constant whirlwind of activity and enthusiasm, has been one of the backbones of Latino Hollywood for decades, and one of its most recognizable faces.

Man from Reno Poster

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1944, Serna was initially discovered in Roger Corman’s film Student Nurses in 1970, and soon thereafter appeared in the Hal Wallis-produced film Red Sky at Morning in 1971. Within months, he was working steadily on television dramas and comedies that have become classics: Mannix, Kung Fu, Police Story, and on and on. Along the way, he’s appeared in some of Hollywood’s most memorable films, including Scarface, Silverado, Car Wash, and Clint Eastwood’s The Rookie. He was Reno Nevada in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, he was part of Latino landmark films and television projects like Resurrection Blvd., An American Family and American Me. He even played Jennifer Lopez’ father twice, in two different CBS series in the 1990’s, before she became a superstar (for the record: Second Chances and Hotel Malibu). Read the rest of this entry »

Agent 007 Will Return (this November), and Here’s the Much-Anticipated Teaser-Poster

SPECTRE posterThe more things change, the more they stay the same. Daniel Craig is giving James Bond another shot (you can hear that theme song in your head right now, can’t you?), with the daughter of the legendary Cubby Broccoli in one of the producer chairs, and the ever-steady Sam Mendes directing. And this one even has the return of SPECTRE, the international organization of eeee-vil from the good ol’ days.

Look for Ralph Fiennes as M battling to keep Her Majesty’s Secret Service alive, while bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth: the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. Will it be any good? Well, as stavro Blofeld himself said, “This organization does not tolerate failure.” Also starring Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Stephanie Sigman.

Look for it November 6.

Fun Morning at Ford EcoBoost Challenge 2015

©2015 Angela María Ortíz S.

©2015 Angela María Ortíz S.

Angela Ortiz-TheMustang800

Sometimes we get invited to cover some cool stuff, like this event to test-drive some of Ford’s EcoBoost models. Well, I had fun. I could have spent most of the day there, checking out all the cars they had available to test-drive.

This year Ford EcoBoost Challenge expands to 17 cities, and provides participants an experience of this innovative technology that helps Ford deliver better fuel economy with a more engaging driving experience.

I got to test drive four of the vehicles on hand, including the Escape, the Fusion and my favorite ride, The Mustang. I also drove the Chevy Silverado V8—it’s fast.

Danny Collins is Just the Latest in a Long Line of Musical Movies that Aren’t Musicals at All

Danny CollinsAl Pacino is Danny Collins, an aging 70s rocker Danny Collins who can’t give up his hard-living ways in the film of the same name that’s just premiered. The story? Danny’s manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40-year-old undelivered letter written to Danny by John Lennon, so he decides to change course and embark on a journey to rediscover his family and begin a second act. An impressive cast here, including Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, and Jennifer Garner. Take a look:

Danny Collins is the latest in a long, long line of movies about modern musicians, where the music itself takes a back seat to the biography. You can go all the way back to Danny Kaye as “Red” Nichols in The Five Pennies, way back in 1959, and follow the bouncing ball through the films below:







Get On Up (2014): A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Crazy Heart (2009): A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007): Singer Dewey Cox overcomes adversity to become a musical legend. (Okay, he wasn’t real, but he should have been!)

Walk the Line (2005): A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

Something Fun Coming your Way, Home

HomeWe are always looking for something fun for the family, especially the younger ones. Here’s a little about the film…in search of a new place to call home, the Earth is taken over by an overly confident alien race called the Boov, all humans are promptly relocated while all Boov get busy reorganizing the planet. But a resourceful girl, Tip, manages to avoid capture and accidently becomes an accomplice of a banished Boov named Oh. And that’s where the adventure of a lifetime begins.

Oh (Jim-Parsons) and Tip (Rihanna)

Oh (Jim Parsons) and Tip (Rihanna)

Now you can watch the Home trailer and a few extra for your enjoyment. The new DreamWorks animated film is directed by Tim Johnson and voiced by Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Matt Jones and a few others.

The original soundtrack to feature Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Coffee, Kiesza, Charli XCX and Jacob Plant will be released on March 24 and the film in theaters on March 27.

More Trailers of Upcoming Films

The Avengers150This is a mixed bag of some interesting and exciting films that we’ll see this coming spring, summer and fall.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
Director: Joss Whedon. Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Mark Ruffalo.

Ridetomorrowland-poster-hi-resRide (May 1)
Director, writer, and star Helen Hunt. Cast David Zayas, Luke Wilson, and Brenton Thwaites.

Tomorrowland (May 22)
Director: Brad Bird. Cast: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, and Thomas Robinson.

Hotel Transylvania 2


Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5)
Director: Leigh Whannell. Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Elise Rainier, Stefanie Scott, and Angus Sampson.

Hotel Transylvania 2 (September 25)
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky. Cast (voices): Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, and Mel Brooks.

David Zayas Gives His Version of Dexter, One Year Later

David Zayas

David Zayas

Lt. Angel Batista in Dexter

Lt. Angel Batista in Dexter

David Zayas has starred in two series since Dexter closed up shop a year ago, but that phenomenal show and its controversial finale is still fresh in his mind. Here he re-inhabits his Dexter persona, Lt. Angel Batista, and imagines where all the characters are now…including Dexter himself.

This video first appeared in The Scene, Vanity Fair’s entertaining online publication. Illustrations are by Dan Meth.

Something for Everyone in Theaters Now

The Wrecking CrewThe Wrecking Crew
If you love music from the 1960s to the early 70s you need to watch this one. It’s about the studio musicians that were part of some great music most of us grew-up with. Like the likes of Cher, Brian Wilson, Nancy Sinatra, Hal Blaine, Don Randi, Herb Alpert, Roger McGuinn, Earl Palmer and more.

CINDERELLA150Run All NightCinderella
There are so many Cinderella-themed movies that have been made, I didn’t know what to expect with this newest version.

To my surprise, I enjoyed it. Good direction, well acted and even the sad moments didn’t overpower the film; it balance out with some nice unexpected humor. Cate Blanchett is wickedly good.

Kenneth Branagh directs the film with a screenplay by Chris Weitz and a cast that includes Helena Bonham Carter, Stellan Skarsgård, Derek Jacobi, Nonso Anozie, Holliday Grainger, Lily James, Richard Madden, and Sophie McShera.



Liam Neeson in another one of director Jaume Collett-Sera’s action film about childhood Irish mob friends who collide after Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) kills Shawn Maguire’s (Ed Harris) son. Also in the film, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joel Kinnaman, Patricia Kalember, Genesis Rodriguez, Nick Nolte, and Boyd Holbrook.

Cymbeline (Shakespeare)
We have Ed Harris again, he plays a drug kingpin in this film about dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. Also starring John Leguizamo, Anton Yelchin, Ethan Hawke, Milla Jovovich, Penn Badgley, Dakota Johnson, and Delroy Lindo.

Treading WaterEvaThe Cobbler
In this comedy/fantasy starring Adam Sandler as a shoe repairs man that stumbles upon a magical heirloom. And that’s where all the adventure begins. The rest of the cast includes Ellen Barkin, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buscemi, Method Man, Melonie Diaz, Yul Vázquez, Dan Stevens, and Greta Lee. Good luck Adam!

Treading Water (aka The Boy Who Smells Like Fish)
The film is a quirky coming of age love story, told through the eyes of a sensitive young-man who is dealing with a rare condition that leaves him smelling like a fish. Directed and written by Analeine Cal y Mayor. And starring Carrie-Anne Moss, Douglas Smith, Don McKellar, Ariadna Gil, Zoë Kravitz, and Gonzalo Vega.

A Fantasy/Sci-Fi foreign film which takes place in 2014 where humans live along with machines. “A renowned cybernetic engineer, returns to Santa Irene to carry out a very specific mission for the Robotic Faculty: the creation of a child robot.” During his decade absence, life has moved on for his love ones. Starring Daniel Brühl, Marta Etura, Alberto Ammann, Claudia Vega, and Anne Canovas.

History Museum Fun, Night at the Museum 3 Out on Blu-ray/DVD!

NATM3-400To celebrate the release of Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb being available on Blu-ray/DVD, we got a fun afternoon with family and friends at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum learning about Iberoamerican art and of course, Dinosaurs. A dinosaur expert, Gustavo, delighted our curiosity with dino fun facts!

Fun with the familia

Fun with the familia

For fans of this franchised, you can now add the third in the series, Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb to your collection. It stars Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson and two great talents who are no longer with us, Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney. Buy it now on Amazon.

And if you are in the Los Angeles area, please support the Natural History Museum.

Photos: Courtesy of Angela María Ortíz S.

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