My Interview with Empanadas Sin Raisins Podcast

Last Friday evening, I had an interview with the Empanadas Sin Raisins podcast. I’ve been following the podcast from the beginning; they are currently in Season Three. I’m fortunate to be part of Season Three, Episode 26, their latest podcast episode. My friend Carlos Deschamps (co-creator of the podcast) reached out to me to discuss my filmmaking and acting career.

I met Carlos back at the 2017 Dominican Film Festival. I saw him taking pictures of the event since he was working for the festival. I decided to take some initiative and introduce myself to him. Networking is critical in this business. Carlos and I exchanged social media information, and we’ve been in contact ever since. We started getting to know one another well in the following year, in which my film Torn Feelings got selected by the festival. Carlos returned to work at the festival again. We ended up working on two projects: What If? and Where Did We Go Wrong?

It’s by far one of the best interviews I’ve ever had in my career so far. The interview is 52 minutes long. I had a chance to share with the audience about many things:

-My inspiration to become a Filmmaker

  • My early acting experiences in Theatre
  • My mistakes during the beginning of Directing
  • Advised anyone interested in becoming a filmmaker and tools to help them
  • My upcoming projects, such as my short film Mini Vacation and Sketch Comedy Series in the Fall

I’m looking forward to coming back to this podcast someday. You can find my interview on Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts.

Raising Victor Vargas

Raising Victor Vargas is a classic Romantic/Drama independent film. I can’t believe that it took me 18 years to learn about this film.

The 2002 film is about a Dominican teenager (Victor Vargas) played by Victor Rasuk, who has nothing but girls on his mind. He is very smooth-talking with the ladies, but he falls for a cute girl (Judy Jimenez) played by Judy Marte, who is out of his league. Victor tries to do everything to get her attention. He also has to deal with his grandmother’s strictness, raising him and his two other siblings. The setting takes place in the Lower East Side. One of the things I spotted in the movie is the Hamilton Fish Pool. I’ve been to that pool twice.

I enjoyed this film for many reasons:
1) The main characters are Dominicans in real life—great all-around performances.
2) It’s a natural coming of age story that is not stereotypical. Real and heartwarming.
3) The grandmother’s chemistry with the three teenagers reminds me of my grandmother raising me and my sisters. When my parents would go to work, she would take care of us. My grandmother was strict, but not overly strict, and she was very loving.

I first discovered who Victor Rasuk was when he appeared in the movie, Feel The Noise, starring Omarion. Seeing him in this film felt like I’m watching him backward because Raising Victor Vargas came out way before Feel The Noise. This also applies to Melonie Diaz.

Melonie Diaz is a supporting actress in this film. However, I first learned about Melonie in another independent film, and the movie I’m talking about is the heartbreaking Fruitvale Station, starring Michael B. Jordan.

Melonie is a talented actress, and she’s going to continue to be around for years to come.

Raising Victor Vargas is streaming on platforms such as Netflix, Tubi, and Amazon Prime. I highly recommend you should watch this coming of age film.

***I do not own the rights to the image