Mexican-American filmmaker Frank Aragon along with his company 1211 Entertainment who was hired by Por Vida Productions, LLC to specifically produce and target a Hispanic audience in the producing of the feature film "Down for Life," has been shut down from showing his film in the entire Rio Grande Valley by the New York Times.
"I am not the producer responsible for raising monies, I am the producer who takes dreams and makes them reality on the silver screen." says Aragon.
According to Aragon, the continual struggle to raise monies for independent films can be quite taxing. "It is much more difficult when you specifically target a Mexican-American audience. Most of my films have been financed through my own sacrifice and hard work."
Sitting outside the Border Theatre while interviewing the young filmmaker, "As a proud Hispanic living in this country and a third generation Mexican-American, I constantly encounter an uphill battle as a minority, I try to offer my community, a Mexican-American audience an accurate and realistic portrayals of themselves on the silver screen."
"The New York Times a Goliath of a company and their attempt to stop the theatrical release of "Down for Life" shows their indifference for our community and our people."
Aragon goes on and further explains what shut his film opening down in the Rio Grande Valley: "I am aware of the issues regarding the New York Times, and I was informed by my fellow producer and director that a wire transfer was delayed by one day in getting to the New York Times attorneys, because of this delay an additional dollar amount is now being sought from us, an already struggling indie film, because of this delay a cease and desist letter was sent to Carmike and Cinemark Theatre chains who have the only theaters in the entire Rio Grande Valley. An additional cease and desist letter was also sent to the only Independent art house theater "The Border Theatre" in Mission."
"This is what I as a Latino filmmaker face daily, I am determined to change the thinking of the large companies that don't understand and don't care about our Mexican-American heritage and culture" "It is my goal to produce movies that will show the rest of the world the true meaning of being raised Mexican-American. With a deep love for the country I call home and a deeper love for the culture who today makes me the man that I am."
"Having spent so little time in Texas I am truly touched by the response of the entire community in the Rio Grande Valley."
"For even though I was raised in California, a thousand miles away I come to South Texas and find what fences cannot come between, my heritage, my culture, MY BROTHERS". "I will do everything in my power to show the world what I have found in this community, the meaning of our Mexican roots and pride."
"I look forward to returning to the valley and starting the newest chapter in my life".
"I have found a fertile ground of enthusiasm, excitement, support and most importantly pride in our Mexican-American culture. I feel empowered by knowing that in "EL VALLE" I am the majority not the minority".
"I apologize to the people of the Rio Grande Valley who so whole heartedly embraced us and look forward to the continued support in my future endeavors in the Rio Grande Valley."
Frank Aragon in conjunction with a McAllen based production company is currently developing two projects in the Rio Grande Valley with a projected start date of January 1, 2011.
Willie Gracia writes as a freelance journalist for the Rio Grande Valley