Film News: “Taco Shop” Producer Moctesuma Esparza Talks about the Battle for Taco Supremacy and Latinos in Film

By Liz Lopez

Tyler Posey (“Teen Wolf,” TV series, “Maid in Manhattan”), Felipe Esparza (“Superstore,” and “Last Comic Standing” TV series), and Paula Jai-Parker (“Ray Donovan,” “NCIS Los Angeles” TV series) team up together for a comedy of epic proportions in “Taco Shop” available on DVD and Digital from GVN Releasing via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Synopsis:

When a gourmet taco truck threatens the existence of Taco Dollar, an angered employee named Smokes unites co-workers and a hilarious all-out war ensues.

Interview with Moctesuma Esparza, Producer

Mr. Esparza stated he has produced twenty – five movies and executive produced more for a total of forty films to date. He is very well known as being a producer for the 1997 “Selena” feature film that is often screened to date in remembrance and celebration of the slain musical artist and entrepreneur. The filmmaker is very supportive of having more Latinos in films, either as writers, producers and stars. Esparza became involved in this film project when he was approached by Joaquin Perea (director) and producer Robert A. Parada. “I decided to work on the script and look forward to the next generation of filmmakers.”

“Taco Shop” is made and financed independently,” stated the producer.

With today’s technology, there are many filmmakers who are creative and have ideas for both short and feature films. They also look for people to support their projects. How are you approached or how did you meet Joaquin and Robert? “I met Joaquin when he was in film school (CA). I am a founder of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and met him (through there). I saw his first film as a student and I kept my eye on him.”

I understand from that you are looking for new talent. Can you say how? “I stay in touch with the film schools (listing various ones across the nation). I look for who is trained – this is a profession! This is not rocket science; the tools are out there.” He added that some filmmakers don’t have this education, and finish a film, but they don’t crossover. “They are still building their skill set.” Additionally, they are making a film, but have no economic support. “We need to help them with this.”

Mr. Esparza added that Rick Najera and Oskar Toruno wrote the screenplay. “I thought it was really funny and I laughed a lot. It’s a silly comedy that will appeal to the 14 year old boy and it appealed to the 14 year old boy in me!” He further added, “It will appeal to a broad audience – it is rated PG 13, as it does have double entendres and is fun. I hope people go out and support it and help these careers. He went on to say the film has a great cast, among the various names he listed are Tyler Posey, Eric Roberts, Felipe Esparza, Veronica Diaz Carranza (“Fear the Walking Dead”) and highlighted Rafael Agustin, saying “He is really funny here!” Rick/Oscar [the screenwriters] are also in the film. He expressed his satisfaction with the special effects and that it has a great soundtrack; adding he is “proud to have it completed. It has a Hollywood polish.”

I shared that I really enjoy the music in films and asked to discuss the selection for the soundtrack. “It has “oldies but goodies” music, 60s, and a modern score written” (for various scenes). He added it has more than 25 cuts, with a full score. “Cannibal and the Headhunters songs and many others that fans will recognize are in the film. It is “cruising music” or “lowrider.”

I understand that it will be released on DVD and inquired about a theatrical release. “Yes, it will have a theatrical release in my various Maya Cinemas in California (among the cities named: Fresno, Salinas, Delano).”  He mentioned that there are plans to bring theaters to Texas (Dallas), with a consideration of Austin as well. For now, “Sony (the distributor) is taking it to home video everywhere.”

I could not resist my last question to the producer to talk about the “Selena” film. What can you say about this film that continues to be so popular today with celebrations and a tribute band based here in Austin?

“This speaks to the hunger our community has for heroes – she was one for Latinas and others – how she was…a beautiful ‘morena’ that young girls of any background look up to. We have so few (heroes) – we need to support our own. We are the largest audience in theaters and it also needs to be on the screen. Jennifer Lopez would not be who she is, had she not been cast in this role.”

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In this slapstick comedy, Smokes (Posey) plays a young man who fights to keep his job at Taco Dollar after a gourmet taco truck parks across the street and threatens its survival. An all-out war ensues as Bruce (Brian Huskey) and his band of “cholos” challenge the crew of Taco Dollar for taco supremacy. “Taco Shop” also stars Carlos Alazraqui (“Elena of Avalor”), Dan Bakkedahl (“VEEP”), Eric Roberts (“The Expendables”), and Brian Huskey (“Bob’s Burgers”).

“Taco Shop” is directed by Joaquin Perea, from a story by Oskar Toruno (“Primos”) and a screenplay he and Rick Najera (“East Los High,” TV series, “Nothing Like the Holidays”) wrote. It was produced by Robert A. Parada (“The Raw Word” TV Series) and Moctesuma Esparza (“Selena”) and executive produced by Oskar Toruno and Martin Torres.

“Taco Shop” has a run of approximately 84 minutes and is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, and some innuendo and drug material.

Source: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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