The Filmmakers

Valente Rodriguez - Executive Producer

Rodriguez was born in Edcouch, Texas. He attended the University of Texas-Pan American.  In 1988, Rodriguez moved to Los Angeles, California. He later landed his first leading role in the film Salsa. Other film credits include Impulse, Bound by Honor, Twenty Bucks, Ed, Volcano, Blood in Blood Out, Suckers, Erin Brockovich, Roosters, The Ugly Truth, The New Guy and the critically acclaimed Mi Familia or My Family.  He has also made television appearances as a regular on the Fox's comedy show the X-Files, Culture Clash, as well as Mad About You, Golden Girls, Growing Pains, Falcon Crest, Beverly Hills, 90210 , Dharma and Greg, Yes, Dear, The George Lopez Show, and he also makes a quick cameo appearance on the film The House Bunny and (500) Days of Summer.

Miguel Alvarez - Director

Miguel Alvarez is an engineer, writer, photographer, and award-winning filmmaker.  His work has screened throughout the United States, garnering prizes and gathering critical acclaim along the way.  A recent graduate of the University of Texas, he was the recipient of the Robert Rodriguez/Elizabeth Avellán Award and Warren Skaaren Fellowship.  He has also received awards from the Directors’ Guild of America, Panavision’s Emerging Filmmaker program, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund for his previous films, Tadpoles, Veterans, KID and Mnemosyne Rising.  He is currently writing his first feature, Atlantic City. 

Mauro Flores Jr. –Writer/Creator/Producer

Mauro Flores Jr., a Rio Grande Valley of Texas native, received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. While at NYU, he won the 2004 Dept of Dramatic Writing Screenplay Festival for Rachel’s Quinceañera. He also received a staged reading of his ten-minute play Dress of Stars at the 2004 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  In 2010 his short puppet play, Torso, was produced by the Vanguard Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood.  Since moving to Los Angeles, Mauro has been working in reality TV as a footage Logger and as an Associate Producer for MTV, VH1, Lifetime, Bravo and CBS.  Also an illustrator, Mauro’s artwork has been seen on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother (Slap Bet Board Game), and has designed graphics and posters for various theater and film companies. Most recently, Mauro redesigned the menu for “Fred 62”, a diner in LA.

Iskra Valtcheva - Cinematographer

A native of Bulgaria, Iskra Valtcheva is a versatile cinematographer with a unique perspective on visual storytelling and excellent work ethic. Her cinematography credits include a 2008 Student Academy Award nominee (Red Wednesday, dir. Nazanin Shirazi), and a semi-finalist (Love, Sadie, dir. Naiti Gámez). She has worked on award-winning projects that screened on PBS (Tattooed Under Fire, dir. Nancy Schiesari), KLRU (UT Performing Arts Centre Campaign, dir. Samuel Jørgensen), and at numerous festivals worldwide including Cannes (Love, Sadie) and SXSW (Fatakra, dir. Soham Mehta). Iskra holds a B.A. in Art from Williams College, MA, and an M.F.A. in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin. While at UT, Iskra was nominated for the 2007 John Alonzo, and the 2009 Bud Stone ASC Student Heritage Awards in Cinematography.


James Leche—Editor

James Leche is an Austin, Texas native and film editor. He's recently assisted on a feature documentary, Cool It, and edited a short documentary, Library of Dust. Cool It was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and Library of Dust went on to win Best Short Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival and Best Non-fiction Short Film at the Traverse City Film Festival. James works as both an assistant editor and editor in Los Angeles.

JoAnne Yarrow – Editor

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001, JoAnne moved to Los Angeles where she's been working in the editorial department for many feature films and television series for the last 9 years. Her editing credits include- Film: You Again (2010), Everything Must Go with Will Ferrell (2010), G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra (2009), National Treasure: Book of Secrets, TV: American Dreams (2003), The Twilight Zone (2003). Most recently, JoAnne served as an Assistant Editor on the smash hit Rise of the Apes.

Gary King – Composer

LA-based singer-songwriter and producer Gary King’s music has been featured in two feature films, Prom Night and All About Us. The American Samoan-born artist attended the Berklee College of Music and released his first solo album, Songs from the Black Book, in 2006. King has performed at well-known venues throughout LA and Las Vegas and worked as a session vocalist on indie and major label projects, most recently with the renowned Andrae Crouch choir. He was a member of the backing gospel choir led by Andrae Crouch at Michael Jackson’s memorial service in 2009. He is currently working on a second album. “The Trainee” represents the first time he’s ever scored for film. Visit for more information.

Sasha Smith—Theme Song

Born on a hippie commune in Sebastopol, California surrounded by artists, Sasha began playing different instruments as soon as he could. After studying music at CalArts, Sasha moved to the Echo Park neighborhood in Los Angeles and played locally with his own band and various artists including Jesca Hoop, Everclear, The Winter Flowers, Sara Lov, New Tokyo Terror and many others. An independent film he scored, "Surgeons of Hope", won an Emmy award. He also wrote a hit song with his wife, Vivian, for Taiwanese pop star Yoga Lin. The song, "Fly My Way" peaked and held at #1 on the radio charts for over 3 weeks straight in China.  Sasha is currently recording keyboards for various artists in Los Angeles, writing music for TV and Film, and is performing with his new band "Thank You, Goodbye".

David Barrera – Actor

David Barrera (Shadow Knight) is familiar to television audiences from his numerous appearances on hit shows including Heroes, CSI: Miami, Boston Legal, Medium, Nip/Tuck, Without a Trace, The West Wing, Wizards of Waverly Place and 24 for which he received an ALMA Award nomination. Most recently David was honored to be part of the critically acclaimed Generation Kill, a seven part HBO Miniseries with executive producers David Simon and Ed Burns, creators of the critically acclaimed The Wire. On film, David has been most recently seen in Evan Almighty starring Steve Carrell . Other film credits include Cruzando (shot in his home town of San Juan, Texas), Infinity with Matthew Broderick, The United States of Leeland with Don Cheadle and No way Back with Russell Crowe.  David received his BFA from the prestigious acting conservatory at Southern Methodist University and was awarded his MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program at The University of California, San Diego. While at U.C.S.D he was awarded the Princess Grace Award in acting.

Raúl Castillo – Actor

Raúl Castillo (Henry Howell… The Trainee) was born and raised in McAllen, TX with family roots in neighboring border city Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.  Film credits include: Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima (dir. Carl Franklin, Grande Via Films), Aaron Katz's Cold Weather (IFC, Official SXSW Selection 2010), Cruz Angeles's Don't Let Me Drown (Official Sundance Selection 2009), Amexicano (Maya Entertainment, Official Tribeca Selection 2007), and Simon Brand’s Paraíso Travel (Paramount Pictures).  Theater credits include: Cusi Cram’s A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages, dir. Pam McKinnon), References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot (Abroad Stage Co., dir. Pippin Parker), School of the Americas (LAByrinth/Public Theater, dir. Mark Wing-Davey), Open House (Foundry Theatre, dir. Melanie Joseph), a four-city tour of ­Throat (dir. Michael Escamilla), Flowers (Ensemble Studio Theater), Camino/Montaña (Intar), and Minotaur (LAB's Barn Series).  TV credits include: Nurse Jackie, Law and Order, Damages, All My Children.  He is a graduate of Boston University’s School for the Arts and a proud member of NYC’s LAByrinth Theater Company.  He is the author of the play Knives and Other Sharp Objects which premiered in April 2009 as part of the Public Theater’s Public Lab in a co-production with LAByrinth directed by Felix Solis. 

Michael Ray Escamilla – Actor

Michael Ray Escamilla (The Macaw) is an award winning writer, director, actor, producer based in Los Angeles. In New York City he has worked in Off - Broadway theaters such as Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater, Labyrinth Theater Company, Second Stage Theater, Classic Stage Company, Theater for a New Audience, Cherry Lane Theater, Soho Repertory Theater, INTAR, P.S. 122, Lucille Lortel, ATL (Humana Festival), and Woolly Mammoth Theater. He has collaborated with award winning playwrights and screenwriters such as Jose Rivera (Motorcycle Diaries), Craig Wright (Six Feet Under, LOST, Dirty Sexy Money), Naomi Iizuka (36 Views, Polaroid Stories). Television credits include: Law and Order: Criminal Intent and SVU, The Job (Dennis Leary), Dexter, Chase, Dark Blue, Cold Case and Conviction. Michael also co-wrote/co-directed CRUZANDO, his first feature film, which has been selected for several film festivals this year and won Mexico International Film Festival’s Silver Palm Award (the award is given to films that demonstrate standout filmmaking), Best Foreign Film by the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, and Best Narrative Award from Athens International Film Festival. Cruzando has been picked up by Vanguard Entertainment and is set for release in 2011. He is the recipient of the prestigious OBIE Award, Helen Hayes Award, and The Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor Award (SA Film Festival). 

Letty Valladares – Actor/Producer

Letty Valladares (Madame Snowblood / Lucy Ramirez) is a recent graduate of UCLA’s MFA Acting Program, Letty grew up in the Rio Grande Valley where her passion for acting and performance began. Three years ago, Letty moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and is now actively auditioning for both stage and screen, as well as experimenting with dramatic writing and film production. She recently was awarded a full scholarship to attend the British American Dramatic Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford program this past summer taking master classes with Julian Glover (Indian Jones Temple of Doom), Fiona Shaw (My Left Foot, Big Fish, Harry Potter film series), Brian Cox (Red, Bourne Supremacy, Braveheart) and Alan Rickman (Harry Potter film series, Die Hard, Love Actually). As an actor – Film credits: Harold’s Latte, Kandors, Infrared, Game of Death, Six and Ten, and Conversations.  Professional theater credits include: Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Measure for Measure, Camino Real, Julius Caesar, Scapin) Theatricum Botanicum (Three Musketeers), Los Angeles Theater Center (Three Penny Opera) and The Ark Theatre (Barrage). Other theater credits:  The Housekeeper, Il Sogno d’Arrlechino, Our Town, Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Big Love, Baltimore Waltz, Rhinoceros, Latina, MacBeth, She Stoops to Conquer. Previous to attending grad school, Letty received her BA from UTPA in Edinburg, Texas.  This is her first venture at producing.

 James Gallo – Actor

James Gallo (Ninja #3) received his BFA from the University of Connecticut and is a recent graduate from UCLA’s MFA Acting Program, where he performed in such roles as the Stage Manager in Our Town, Ippolitto in The Housekeeper, Butch Honeywell in the Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Giuliano in Big Love, Noah in Freedomland. Other theater credits: Hamlet (Theatricum Botanicum), The Gut Girls, US Drag, Julius Caesar, Crimes of the Heart (Connecticut Rep. Theatre).  FILM/TV: Infrared

 Carolyn Wright – Actor

Carolyn Wright (Ninja #2) is finishing her last year in the MFA Acting Program at UCLA, where she recently received the George Burnes & Gracie Allen Comedy Award (2010).  MOVEMENT EXPERIENCE:  NCAA Division I Gymnast (Yale University), Motion Capture for Bio Shock Video Game.  FILM: Colombian Drywall (, Hollywood (NOS), 20somethings, Lives Out, Earthen Vessels.  SELECTED THEATER: Cinderella, Our Town, You Can't Take it With You, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, The Tempest, Richard III, A Christmas Carol, Fire Island.  Carolyn also holds her M.A. in Educational Theater from NYU.

 Dash You – Actor/Stunt Choreographer

Born in Seoul, Korea, Dash (Ninja #1) is in his 2nd year of the MFA Acting program at UCLA, where he recently received Ralph Freud Award (2010). Theater credits: Lear in an adaptation of King Lear, Our Town, The Housekeeper, Fuddy Meers,  Hamlet, Is There Life After High School?  Film credits: Guns & Cigarettes, The Tale of Heewun. Dash also holds a BA in Media Arts from Royal Holloway College, University of London.