ATM: Why do you feel it was time to establish your production company Alta California Pictures?
Alejandro: People in the Latino community are always talking about how Latinos are not hired for television or movies. One time I spoke to some of my fellow actors and they complained about this, so I said: “Why don’t we just do our own projects?” Going on what they said, I asked, “Why are we waiting for white people to hire us? Let’s do our movies and T.V.”. This became the reason why I decided to open my production company, Alta California Pictures, and do El Contratista.
I have always enjoyed doing production. When I was younger, I was hired to Manage Magic Circus, the largest private Night Club in Mexico City. I produced many live and televised Kickboxing competitions, including a heavyweight world title. I also produced a lot of live shows of the popular singers of the time such as Disco sensation Sylvester, José José, Lupita D’Alessio and Alberto Cortez.
ATM: Why do you believe it is hard for some Latin Americans to receive acting roles?
Alejandro: It is about opinions. I can only go by what I hear at these auditions. They say, “White people are the guys with the money, the ones creating all the shows and the ones making all of the decisions.” Maybe this is the case. They feel producers want to have more white people, but I think it is getting better with Latinos and different minorities in the industry. If we Latinos have good scripts, even if we do not have the money to produce them, then we can talk to other Latinos or minorities who would be interested in helping us produce our own shows.
am a businessman. I have been doing business for so many years in different entities. I have always felt that you should not wait for anyone to hire you. Go open your company. Do what you need to do. Be independent.
Obviously, if I get hired by a big company to do a film, then of course I am going to be more successful than if I do my little film, but at least I am doing something. In a couple of years, El Contratista, or the others films I will produce in this business will have more recognition.
ATM: In your film, El Contratista, there is a lot of elements that deal with being good and bad. What are traits that makes a person good or bad? Do you feel the two can intertwine at any point?
Alejandro: Of course. It is all about the circumstances of where you put yourself in situations that will make you act or react a certain way. We always talk about this example where if your kids became threatened, then you become mama bear, destroying anyone that is in front of you. Could you kill in that situation? Yes, you could to protect your family. Yet “Is killing good?” becomes the moral question and a question of society. If you need to protect your daughter, for example, then you are going to say it is okay.
Cano, my character in El Contratista, is dealing with a lot of issues because he believes in what he is doing as a military man. He has seen a lot of stuff happen. Just like we have seen in real life, soldiers have experienced going to war and witnessed things that should not happen such as killing innocent people, and things like these. My character does not necessarily like what he sees. It gets to the point where he says enough is enough.
ATM: Based on this film, how could a lie destroy someone’s rationale about life?
Alejandro: It can get a little complicated. Let’s say you believe in a specific person and in the government. You are a patriotic and you are doing everything you can to help them. Then you find out they had no interest in doing what they were supposed to do, and it was all about the money. Then you would say, why did I do all this and sacrificed all for this? For what? So, people could make money or benefit from this. It becomes a lot deeper than just being good or bad.
ATM: Based on the lie your character in the film deals with, do you think this lie creates a rebel or a warrior?
Alejandro: It depends. I would say both. A warrior because you want to do something about it. You are a rebel now because you are going against them and that power you feel you were trusting and not trusting anymore. So, both. A rebel-warrior. I like this.
Alejandro: My character is like a father to all the soldiers that have helped him with this. Once the character decided to create his own security company, as he leaves they go with him to be a part of his new endeavor. This is why they go to Mexico. To help a little boy whose parents were killed, and they do not know who killed them. Was it a cartel? These days everything is about a cartel… Or was the murder connected to a small group? Or money? The boy’s father was a very rich man. These are all the questions you have to figure out throughout the movie.
ATM: Express the moral of this movie. What can an audience member take away?
Alejandro: We are patriots. We believe in our country, religion, and people. Sometimes these beliefs are shattered when finding out that the people who led us to believe something were actually lying. In the movie, once the boy’s parents are killed and he gets more involved into violent video games, he gets desensitized. This is a question that many parents have. Is my child becoming desensitized by playing these killing and war games? To be honest I do not know. It would be very controversial if someone said kids are violent because of these video games. It could be a release.
El Contratista will screen on October 27, 2018 at 8:00 PM Block Day 1 of Panamanian Film Festival. The closing night film will be A Night of Calypso on October 28, for more information about the program visit PIFFLA.com. This event is taking place in the Lupe Ontiveros Theater at the Los Angeles Center in Downtown Los Angeles, 514 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles CA, 90013