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Jillian Morse’s theater class at Los Alamos High School got an up-close and personal view of the movie industry Monday morning, when actors from the movie, “Blaze You Out” visited with them.
Veronica Diaz-Carranza, Mark Adair Rios and Jeremy Ray Valdez took time from shooting the movie to speak with the class about their experiences in the movie industry and to explain how the industry works. Sandia Productions has been shooting “Blaze You Out,” a dramatic thriller, in Rio Arriba County for the past three weeks. Production wraps up this week.
This is the first feature for the producer, former Disney executive, Alicia Keyes Touche. The film is co-written and directed by Mateo Frazier and Diego Joaquin Lopez, an Española native.
Diaz-Carranza, Rios and Valdez all talked about how they got started in the film industry and how difficult it was to land roles sometimes. Valdez told students that the importance of having an agent is “epic” when it comes to auditioning for roles.
Rios talked about the importance of having a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card and “really amazing” headshots, explaining that traditional headshots printed on photographic paper are no longer used. Instead, electronic versions are used, which limits what a viewer can see on the screen, until the photo is enlarged.
The actors touched on everything from styling and publicity to typecasting and how decisions on choosing actors are made. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and the trio answered each one in detail.
According to a press release, “Blaze You Out” stars breakout talents Diaz-Carranza (“Mamitas,” “Taco Shop”), and Melissa Cordero (“Language of a Broken Heart’), alongside award-winning Elizabeth Peña (“Jacob’s Ladder,” “The Incredibles,” “Tortilla Soup”) and Valdez (“Constantine,” “La Mission” and “Walkout”), as well as industry veterans Raoul Trujillo (“Cowboys and Aliens”), Rios (“Along Came Polly”) and Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World,” “Princess Kaiulani”).
The film tells the story of Lupe (Diaz-Carranza), an aspiring DJ and her sister Alicia, two young women struggling to make a living in the Esperanza Valley, a community that has been suffocated by generations of heroin use. Ever since the death of their parents, Lupe has looked out for her rebellious sister and kept her on track. When Alicia suddenly disappears, Lupe is forced into the heart of the town’s dark underworld. She quickly discovers that in order to survive and save the person that matters most, she must not only harness the power that exists within her, but that also surrounds her.
The trio of filmmakers, Touche, Frazier and Lopez, is leading the way by putting together a locally developed, produced and directed project in New Mexico. “Blaze You Out” will utilize the 25 percent tax credit the state offers. This is Lopez’s second film, the first one, “Torcida,” was released in 2009.