September 19, 2008
By Luz Maria Castellanos
With several noteworthy films already in its arsenal, including Latin urban film “Ta-lento De Barrio” starring Daddy Yankee and the futuristic Sci-Fi feature “Sleep Dealer,” Maya Entertainment acquired the U.S. rights to the award-winning “Amexicano,” starring 2008 Grammy Nominee Jennifer Peña and veteran actor Manny Perez (“Bella”, “El Cantante”).
“Amexicano” made its world premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and most recently won the Grand Jury Prize (THX Award) for Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 Sonoma Valley Film Festival.
The acquisition was negotiated by Jose Martinez, Jr. head of acquisitions for Maya Entertainment and The Shutter Speed Group on behalf of director Matthew Bonifacio and Carmine Famiglietti, the film’s writer and co-lead actor. According to the agreement Maya Entertainment will release “Amexicano,” theatrically in major cities across the U.S. on September 19th.
“We are excited to release this film featuring two prominent Latino actors to further our mission to promote Latinos on the big screen,” stated Martinez.
“When I read Carmine’s script for the first time, I realized he had put a face to the undocumented day laborers I see every day on street corners, and it was clear to me that it was a story that needed to be told,” said Bonifacio.
“I wrote ‘Amexicano’ based on my own experiences hiring day laborers. I witnessed firsthand what life is like for those who come here illegally to seek a better life. With this being an election year, I think it’s important for people to see this movie and decide for themselves if our nation is making the right choices,” said Famiglietti.
Set in Queens, NY within working-class America, Bonifacio and Famiglietti, tell the story of the unlikely friendship between Ignacio (Raúl Castillo), a hardworking, undocumented Mexican immigrant and Bruno (Carmine Fami-glietti), a blue-collar Italian American from Queens. Bruno is down on his luck and out of work. When he is offered the opportunity to work in landscaping and construction Bru-no reluctantly takes the job because it involves hiring “fence-jumpers” on Northern Blvd. His worst fears are realized when the first man he hires, Diego (Manny Perez), turns out to be a fast-talking hustler with bad intentions. It’s not until Bruno hires Ignacio and meets his wife Gabriela (Jennifer Peña) that his prejudices begin to melt away and he is exposed to their world, which he realizes isn’t too different from his own situation. Their friendship is eventually tested when a dose of reality and misunderstandings hits them and Bruno is left to tend to Gabriela, who he’s increasingly drawn to. A rare story about two people from different cultures who share the need for a paycheck, “Amexicano” carefully explores the complex issues of immigration and working-class life in America.
“Amexicano” was executive produced by Cesar A. Baez and Stephen Ashkinos, Famiglietti and Bonifacio also served as producers through their production company, The Brooklyn-Queens Experiment, in association with Madison Park Pictures. Bonifacio and Famiglietti’s first film “Lbs.”, made its premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Maya Entertainment, headed by award winning producer Moctesuma Esparza and co-chaired by Jeff Valdez, is the only Latino owned and managed filmed entertainment company specifically focused on the growing U.S. Latino film-going audience.
Reprinted from LatinoLa.com