Juan Garza knew that it was only a matter of time before he would direct his first feature film. After having produced several award-winning short films, documentaries and live performances, he felt he was more than ready.
But what story would he tell in this first film? Not one to follow the established road of folksy, feel good Latino storytelling or bio-pics, Garza decided to create a contemporary drama/comedy about an adventurous pair of Chicanos out to capture a notorious serial killer.
"Never Trust a Serial Killer" tells the fictional story of quixotic Leroy de La Luna and his quest to capture Satan's Hand, a ruthless serial killer that has the city of Los Angeles in a grip of fear. Along the way de La Luna involves almost everyone he encounters: homeboys, clowns, the local Pizza Loca girl and even his own friend's mother.
Of course funding such an offbeat film is not something that film studios are lining up to do, so Garza felt the only way to see his vision come to life was to finance it himself. This is not the wisest way to make a movie, but then again this is not a conventional film.
To get the ball rolling Garza had a sale of his own paintings and drawings to get some seed money. A Getty fellowship helped keep things going and the rest came from savings, credit cards and personal loans.
The film's production was strictly a "by the seat of your pants" effort. Garza made coffee for the crew every morning and his mother provided meals for the cast and crew during the entire three-week shoot. As with any true independent film, it was shot without any permits and the production schedule changed daily according to the actor's availability. Shooting locations were often scouted the morning of filming.
Overall the making of "Never Trust A Serial Killer" became a true community effort. Neighbors and local businesses gladly provided their locations and when it came time to shoot in the streets, dozens of neighbors (including a local lowrider bike club) volunteered to appear as extras.
"Never Trust a Serial Killer" is Garza's debut feature and its presentation at LALIFF is the completed film's World Premiere. The movie is a true crowd-pleaser and you certainly don't have to be Latino to enjoy it.
7/20 - 7:00PM to 9:15PM - Movie
Never Trust A Serial Killer - An off beat comedy/crime/drama set in Los Angeles about two friends who are guided by 'visions' to capture a serial killer who has the city in the grip of fear. Starring Del Zamora & Cris Franco as two college friends who haven't seen each other in 15 yrs., the film also examines friendship and following your heart.
Venue: Los Angeles Film School (as part of LALIFF)
Address: 6363 Sunset Blvd. , Los Angeles,90017
Ages: all ages
Discount: buy 4 or more at $5 each
For more information call: 323-780-0313
Or visit: www.latinofilm.org
Gerard Meraz teaches Chicano/a Studies at Cal. State Northridge, produces the radio show "Power Tools" on 105.9 FM (2-4 am Sat. nights), DJs and writes about DJs and filmmakers.