News Column

'In Search of the American Dream' to premiere at Harbor Playhouse on Friday

May 23, 2014

By Erica Quiroz, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas



May 23--CORPUS CHRISTI -- Baldemar Rodriguez's directorial debut defies conventional movie making wisdom -- don't work with animals, children and keep the sets minimal.

"I broke all those rules," Rodriguez said. "I worked with animals, children and took the movie all over Texas to be filmed."

Hosted by the Minority Advancement Project of Texas,(MAP) "In Search of the American Dream," will premiere at the Harbor Playhouse on Friday and attendees can walk a red carpet and meet cast members before a 7 p.m. screening.

"Dream" centers on the Martinez family who is torn apart after their undocumented immigrant parents are taken into Border Patrol custody in Pasadena.

Rodriguez portrays eldest son David, who works to keep his siblings together despite separation attempts by law enforcement.

In 2006 Rodriguez began to write the script after reading an article about a family who faced a similar situation.

"It was my first time I witnessed something like that, and I thought could this be true?" Rodriguez said. "Seeing them crying and concerned, I said I'm going to make this my basis for the movie."

Rodriguez maintained a full-time job in Houston, slowly putting together a final version of the film.

"There basically was no budget for this film, and everything was done one step at a time," Rodriguez said. "It's been challenging and a blessing to dedicate eight years to this film, and validate myself as an actor, writer and director."

He brought the film to Corpus Christi at the suggestion of actress Ronnette Ramirez.

Ramirez, 39, graduated from Tuloso-Midway High School and plays a state trooper in the film.

"I play one of the bad guys and have about a minute and a half of screen time, but it was fun to be in the film," Ramirez said.

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Ramirez moved to Houston 15 years ago, but has family in the Coastal Bend, she said. She hopes the film will inspire more Hispanics to pursue filmmaking.

"Baldemar is an example of success, and it feels good to be a part of something like this and for it to be shown in my hometown," Ramirez said. "There is so much potential in the Hispanic community, and if people will support it, more would get involved. We need to be telling these stories. If we don't who will?"

A portion of ticket sales will benefit MAP of Texas, Rodriguez said.

Joseph Ramirez, who works with MAP, wants the film to raise awareness about immigration issues.

"We felt it important to bring this film here to put a face on a real story that's happening day to day," Joseph Ramirez said. "There's a lot of misunderstanding between pro and anti-immigration groups. If they see it's more than a political football and deals with real families, we hope it might change sentiment or move their heartstring to see what we're fighting for."

Ultimately, Rodriguez said, he wants the film to start a conversation.

"Whatever opinion people had about undocumented immigrants before they saw the film, I want people to know this isn't a political issue, it's a human issue," Rodriguez said. "I want them to see more than just a blurb or a headline in a news story, I want them to see the whole process of how this situation can impact a family."

IF YOU GO

What: "In Search of the American Dream" movie premiere

Where: Harbor Playhouse, 1 Bayfront Park

When: 5:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. film screening

Cost: Tickets range from $10-$25; VIP/Sponsorship packages available

Information: 879-0500; info@themapoftexas.org

Twitter: @CallerEricaQ

___

(c)2014 the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, Texas)

Visit the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, Texas) at www.caller.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, TX)


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