Echo Park Film Center: Empowering Community through Affordable Filmmaking

Story and Photos by Oscar Bautista

We all have stories to tell, no matter what our backgrounds are or what experiences we have had. It’s what makes us individuals and brings us together as people. Though we live in this world of constant social traffic, it doesn’t mean every voice has that platform and it especially doesn’t mean that every story is heard.

That’s why when I recently visited the Echo Park Film Center (EPFC) I was relieved to find a space and community dedicated to changing this state of communication. Walking through the busy cross street of N. Alvarado and Sunset, you may not even see it, but this hidden space is where individuals give back to the communities they call home.
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Film crew tweet slanders East LA community center upset about Eva Longoria’s Low Rider film

by Tom Nguyen

What is it with film crews working in our downtown and East LA communities lately? I live in Boyle Heights where there have been film notices taped outside my building and late night filming multiple times this past month. On Thursday night, while I was helping a woman spread the word on Twitter regarding a security guard who harassed her on a downtown location for Hand of God, I came across this tweet from Film Crew L.A., a film crew union:


Now, full disclosure, I know many people at Eastside Café, an autonomous, progressive community space in El Sereno, which is very committed and invested in the community, offering classes, workshops and socially conscious events. It’s where one of my favorite East LA bands, Las Cafeteras, got their start (and so named after the center) and I was last there on May 14th for a Free West Papua event. Since that time, I hadn’t known about this sign nor the movie, Low Rider, being filmed in the area. I forwarded the tweet to Eastside Café’s Facebook page, which quickly replied that they would write a response to this. I then tweeted some East LA media and community members for their thoughts: Continue Reading →

Forget Halloween…Here’s our Guide to Dia de los Muertos 2014 in LA & SoCal!

by Tom Nguyen

October means a popular holiday is creeping up fast: the one time of the year the living and the dead mingle, and children and adults alike dress up. No, I’m not talking about Halloween. I’m referring to the culturally rich celebrations of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and there is no shortage of where to celebrate in our beautifully diverse Los Angeles and nearby areas! Especially with Halloween Oct. 31 falling on Friday, there are going to be multiple opportunities to celebrate Day of the Dead on both Saturday Nov. 1 and Sunday Nov. 2, as well as the weekends before and after!

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Fed Up about our Food: Interview with Stephanie Soechtig

Fed Up
, a documentary which opened May 9 and is currently playing nationally, makes a provocative statement: everything we’ve been told about food and exercise is dead wrong. It’s a pretty bold statement and not made lightly. The film is the result of years of investigative research by director Stephanie Soechtig, who blew the lid open on the bottled water industry with her last documentary, Tapped, and the producers, journalist Katie Couric and Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth.

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Youth Over Violence Graduation Ceremony with Quetzal and Las Cafeteras

Peace Over Violence (formerly Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women) is a nonprofit that has was one of the first of its kind in the country formed in 1971 to prevent violence against women. In their 42 years, they’ve expanded their mission to preventing all forms of violence and protecting all victims of violence, and this Friday, August 9, Peace Over Violence will graduate a class of 21 youth leaders dedicated towards violence prevention in our communities. The event is at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center) and is free to the public (RSVP to [email protected]). Come celebrate and support positive grass-roots action in our community and enjoy performances by 2 of LA’s most socially conscious bands, Grammy-winning band Quetzal and Las Cafeteras.

10 Years of Long Beach Park Jam! Help Keep It Going Strong!

I moved to Long Beach 2 years ago and one of the things that really personifies Long Beach is it’s diversity and community-driven events. We’ve got the great eats in Cambodia Town, free yoga on the bluff overlooking the ocean every morning, an annual funk fest and many other great events in the revitalized downtown area, the Retro Row with its independent stores, dive bars and Art Deco theater, and a great sense of community that has spawned groups like the Long Beach Time Exchange and Green Long Beach. My favorite yearly event in Long Beach is the one that attracted me to move to Long Beach in the first place: the Long Beach Park Jam. It’s a free community picnic, potluck and party every first Sunday during the summer months, that brings people together in the spirit of music, dance and art, and fun for the whole family. Continue Reading →