Strike One is breakout artist Johnny Ortiz’s first feature film shot before his performances in Disney’s McFarland USA and ABC’s drama American Crime, which premiered on March 5th. “It was important to us, “ said Llauger-Meiselman. “Once Danny Trejo and veteran actress Alma Martinez were on board. So we cast the best, new and untapped Latino talent we could find. And we’re thrilled that many came directly from the urban community that is the setting for Strike One.
At the same time, the director went on to say how important it was for the cast to be balanced with veteran actors: James Russo,. Billy Gallo,. French Stewart and Reginald VelJohnson. Rounding out the cast is Zahn McClarnon,. Felipe Alejandro Ramirez,. and Lawrence Smilgys who is also the film’s screenwriter.
The coming-of-age crime drama, Strike One (phim hanh dong) takes place in the L.A. community of Boyle Heights. So it illuminates the injustice of California’s controversial Three Strike Law and how it unfairly targets our youth. This is where ex-convict turned actor, Manny Garcia (Trejo) lives. And he is determined to steer his nephew Juan (Ortiz) away from falling victim to the temptations of living in a gang-controlled neighborhood and a prejudiced juvenile criminal system.
“With Latinos becoming less of a niche audience and more a part of the mainstream,” said Steven Isock. President of California Pictures Inc.. “I’m not surprised by the positive responses we’ve had at all of our screenings. So we’re filling the theater seats including the larger venues.”
Isock went on to say that he was drawn to Strike One, because it is a great American story. “It hits home to the reality of the challenges faced by Latino families raising children living in underprivileged neighborhoods, where the criminal juvenile system can work against them.”
Strike One (Cuoc Chien Ngoai Bang Dang) has all the box-office components to appeal to both mainstream and Latino audiences: compelling story with a great moral argument and a soundtrack of original hip-hop and Latin beat music. “Johnny Wilson did a phenomenal job with composing the music,” said Llauger-Meiselman.
“What’s not to like,” said Felipe Alejandro Ramirez, producer/actor. “Our movie has cultural significance and at the same time brings to light how vulnerable our kids are living in neighborhoods where the law is not applied equally.”
“Strike One could easily be my real life story were it not for my acting career”. Said Johnny Ortiz, who plays the teenager Juan Garcia. “I’m humbled and honored to be a positive role model and help all the ‘Juan’ teens, who happen to be at the wrong place, wrong time and get arrested for crimes they did not commit.”
Strike One has the basic elements that appeal to all moviegoers: Strong American Latino story in English. So a beloved and charismatic star named Danny Trejo, and an outstanding soundtrack.”
With all the current civil unrest going on. Audiences need to see Strike One, to witness one many’s determination to save his nephew from a faulty juvenile criminal system.
Director: David Llauger Meiselman (as David Llauger-Meiselman)
Writers: Howard Cohen, Lawrence Smilgys (screenplay)
Stars: Alan Corral, Danny Trejo, James Russo