The Filmmakers

Sergio Arau (Director)

Celebrated artist and musician, Sergio Arau was born in Mexico City. He received his MFA in Film Studies at the National School of Film (CUEC), Mexico City. A highly recognized visual artist and political cartoonist, Arau won the Coral De Plata award at the Havana Film Festival with his animated short “El Muro”/”The Wall” (2001). An accomplished musician as well, Arau formed Botellita De Jerez (1983) a group that fused humor and Mexican traditional music with the contemporary sounds of rock’n’roll. In 1998 he won the MTV Award for Café Tacuba’s ‘Alarmal’ (a song Botellita had made famous ten years before). Arau’s group is considered the precursor of the “Rock-en’ Español” movement.

Among his many awards, his comic strip, “El Muro”, received first prize at the XVIII International Salon of Cartoons (Montreal, Canada) and his cartoon, “El Preso”, received first honor at the Bi-annual House of Humor in Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Arau coined the phrase “ART-NACO”, which is still a style emulated by many of today’s most popular artists. His paintings adorn the homes of some of Mexico’s elite artists and politicians. In 1985 Arau opened “Rockotitlan,” Mexico’s first “Rock-en’ Español” club. In 1990, his book “La Netafisica” (a collection of his cartoons and illustrations) was published and in 1992, he founded his “Heavy-Mex” group “La Venganza De Moctezuma.”

In 1994 Arau produced and directed the video for his own hit song, “Viajo Sin Brujula” and gained a reputation as a film director/producer. He went on to create videos for such diverse groups as Café Tacuba, El Gran Silencio, Banda Maguey, Grupo Mojado, Jose Manuel Figueroa, among others.

In 1998 he wrote, produced and directed (along with his wife, Yareli Arizmendi) the mockumentary “A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN,” a project commissioned by the Fine Arts Museum of Chicago. The same year he also won the MTV Award– Best Rock Video, for directing Café Tacuba’s “Alarmala De Tos” (A song composed by Arau).

In 1999, “Casas y Gente” Magazine stated that Arau was “destined to be the painter of the next millennium.” The CONGA ROOM in Los Angeles, California commissioned two of Arau’s pieces as decor for their facility.

Yareli Arizmendi: (Co-Writer, Actress)

Yareli has resided in California since 1983. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and her MFA in Theater Arts from the same institution.

During her college career she worked at The Old Globe Theater's bilingual wing Teatro Meta translating and staging Latin American plays, as well as developing the bilingual In-Schools Program. Other theatres she worked with as a dramturg include La Jolla Playhouse, the San Diego Rep, and South Coast Rep.

Committed to social change she worked with Luis Valdez and Teatro Campesino, toured with Teatro de la Esperanza to Nicaragua and participated with the Border Art Workshop. She developed the Watcha! Stage Café, a social satire cabaret, at the Centro Cultural De La Raza in San Diego.

In 1990 Yareli translated the screenplay version of Like Water For Chocolate so Alfonso Arau, director and producer, could travel the world finding money to make the film. She later landed the role of "Rosaura".

During the shoot of Like Water for Chocolate in Northern Mexico, Yareli was working on her Master’s thesis “Whatever Happened to the Sleepy Mexican: Four Ways to Be a Contemporary Mexican Artist. She graduated in 1992 and became a professor at Cal State San Marcos. She was a founding member of the Theater Arts component of the Inter-Disciplinary Arts Program.

Eckehardt Von Damm Montes (Executive Producer)

He was born in Munich, Germany and studied Accountant and Finance in the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. (ITAM) México City.

In 1983 he was a General Director and Share Holder of Compañía Exhibidora Circuito Montes. “Family Business”. After that, in 1984 produced and co-produced Mexican films, such as: “El Rey de la Vecindad” “Gaby, The True Story” and “El Trailer Asesino”. From 1989 to 1994 he was the General Director of Artecinema and responsible for launching succesfull films like: “Dance with Wolves”, “Driving For Ms. Daisy” and “The Name of the Rose”. Since 1995 he’s the General Director of TELEVISA CINE, International Movie Distributor, part of GRUPO TELEVISA, in México, which released titles like: “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings”. He also Produced Mexican movies such as: “La Segunda Noche””El Tigre de Santa Julia”, “Amarte Duele” and “Nicotina”. In 2003 Eckehardt opened Televisa Cine USA which began operations with the release, on May 14th , of “A Day Without a Mexican”, movie that he also produced.

Isaac Artenstein (Producer)

Artenstein studied painting and photography at UCLA and received his BFA in Film and Video production from Cal Arts . He produced the romantic comedy “Love Always” which aired on the Lifetime Channel, the thriller “Bloody Proof” (aka “El Grito”) and was production supervisor in Mexico on Universal's “The Fast and the Furious." Artenstein wrote and directed the feature film "Break of Dawn" which premiered at Sundance and aired on Telemundo and the BBC among others. He's produced and directed a number of award-winning documentaries including "Diana Kennedy: Cuisines of Mexico" and "Ballad of an Unsung Hero" which won the Emmy. He produced and directed Yareli Arizmendi's one-woman show “Nostalgia Maldita” which aired on PBS and was a producer on the Academy Award nominated documentary "In the Name of the People," narrated by Martin Sheen. He's taught film production and directing courses at USC and UCSD and was a founding member of the Border Arts Workshop. He's currently developing the feature film, “Tina and Edward” based on his play "Under a Brilliant Sky" and is in post-production on "The Jews of Revolution Street" a documentary about the Jewish Community of Tijuana.

Luis Fernandez (Executive Producer)

Luis Fernandez is Managing Director of Plural Entertainment where he oversees content development and co-production initiatives. Prior to joining Plural, Fernandez served as News Director at Cadena SER, Spain’s number one radio broadcaster. He also led the news divisions at Canal Plus and Telecinco, where he successfully increased their ratings and audience share. His strong reputation in the industry earned him several prestigious awards. Fernandez received the Premio Ondas in 1999 for his accomplishments in Spanish television and earned the 1998 Nuevos Lenguajes prize for launching the first digital newsroom in Spain.

Sergio Guerrero (Co-writer, Second unit director)

Sergio came to the U.S. in 1980 to attend film school at the USC. His thesis film “The Promised” won first prize in the short films category at the FILMEX film festival in Los Angeles in 1984. Upon graduating, he co-founded a production company specializing in music videos and TV programs. Although successful, after three years he decided to return to his hometown of Mexico City. For four years in Mexico City, Sergio resumed his role as director/producer, making music videos, commercials and television specials for artists like Miguel Bose and Luis Miguel. In 1992, he founded Manifiesto Films, a production company of commercials, TV programs and films, and his career skyrocketed. He has directed over 500 commercials for global clients, such as Pacific Bell, Bud Light and Corona. He also wrote and directed several TV shows and short films among them the award wining “Wash and Wear.” His production company grew to become one of the top producers in Latin America. Today, he is one of the world’s top directors of Spanish-language television commercials. Sergio then returned to the U.S. and in 2003 he was selected for the Sundance writing workshop for his script “The Matador’s Tailor.” He also directed two very important documentaries: “Lupo around the world in 80 days” for VW Germany and “Operation AAA”). Guerrero currently resides lin Santa Monica, California working as a commercial director and developing his own projects.

Alan Caudillo (Director of Photography)

Alan Caudillo’s previous credits as Director of Photography include the thriller “Fait Accompli” starring Michael Madsen and Rosanna Arquette, “Backroads to Vegas” (1997) and the Shot (1994). He also has an extensive career as a cinematographer in television working on many National Geographic and Discovery Channel programmes. His recent feature film projects include Barry Levinson’s “Envy” (2004) and Adam Carl’s “Pieces of Eight.”

Anthony Rivero Stabley (Production Designer)

Anthony Rivero Stabley was born in La Paz, Bolivia. He is the grandson of movie theater owner Beatriz Rivero. He was raised in Argentina, Colombia and the U.S. After Cinema Studies at Florida State University, he moved west and began working for Designers Bill Creber and Michael Novotny. Some of his early Decoration credits include "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie", David Twohy's
"The Grand Tour" and HBO's "By Dawn's Early Light". In 1991, he joined L.A. based 4-Ward Productions in the SFX Miniature Department and worked on Martin Campbell's "Cast a Deadly Spell" and Jim Cameron's "Terminator 2", which under the guise of Supervisor Robert Skotak won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. In 1995, he began Art Directing music videos and feature films, including Sony Picture Classics' "Safe", where he worked with acclaimed Director Todd Haynes and Independent Producer Christine Vachon. This led to several other films of merit including MGM's visually rich "Stigmata", Takeshi Kitano's "Brother"(for Producer - Jeremy Thomas) as well as John Irvin's "City of Industry" and Warner Bros. "White Oleander" starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rene Zellweger.

In addition to "A Day Without A Mexican", other Production Design credits include "Primary Suspect", HBO's "Route 9","Desperate Measures", Universal's "K-911", and the upcoming Latin comedy - "Tortilla Heaven". Mr. Stabley resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Art Director's Guild.

Daniel Fort (Editor)

Daniel Fort worked with Sergio Arau on the original short mockumentary film “A Day Without a Mexican.” He has worked on over 20 studio and independent features including “Desperado,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “El Grito” (2002) and “Tango Flush.” He was also Assistant Editor on the features “Scary Movie 2,” (2001), “Stuart Little” (1999), and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.” (1998). In 2000 he was awarded best editing for a short film at the New York Film and Video Festival. Fort has played a major role in the development of Apple Cinema Tools and has taught the use of Final Cut Pro with Cinema Tools at DigitalFilmTree.

Juan J. Colomer (Composer)

Juan J. Colomer was born in Valencia, Spain and studied music at the Conservatory of Valencia, where he graduated in Trumpet and Composition.

At age sixteen he became a founding member of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain and performed throughout Europe. In 1990, he moved to Boston to study Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music and first started composing for documentaries. He moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and continued his composing career winning several awards. As an orchestrator, he has worked with many top artists including Plácido Domingo. Colomer released his own CD with Alternative Pop-Rock songs written in 2001 and he became a columnist for the Magazine “Al Borde” which deals with the Latin Alternative Music scene in Los Angeles.

Carlos Brown (Costume Designer)

Carlos Brown was the costume designer on the award-winning feature “Like Water For Chocolate.” His earlier film credits include: “The Whole Wide World” (1996) and “A Walk in the Clouds” (1995) and his television credits include “Six Feet Under.”

Matias Lanzi (Sound Designer)

Matias Lanzi began his music studies at the age of 7 playing piano and conducting studies in composition, harmony and orchestration. He attended Berklee College of Music earning a degree in Music Production and Engineering. After working in Mexico as an arranger, he moved to Los Angeles into pursue an engineering career. He produced more than 100 Spanish albums, some reaching platinum and quadruple platinum awards. In the postproduction realm he sound designed, engineered and mixed various TV and radio commercials for the General and Latin Markets, two of which where recipients of Belding and Promax awards. He also designed and consulted for several studios, analyzing needs and creating solutions. In pursuit of new technologies he turned to multimedia CD ROM design, production and programming, and worked on several training programs for major communications and internet companies. He also co- developed EVA (Encoded Video and Audio), a digital audio and video transmission system for Multimedia approval and viewing purposes. Lanzi currently works as a freelance sound designer, engineer, mixer for commercials, movies and records.