8th Annual Cine+Mas Latino Film Festival


Cine+Más SF presents the San Francisco Latino Film Festival (September 16-October 1, 2016) in theaters and cultural centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, screening award winning and critically acclaimed documentary and feature films throughout Latin America, South America and the USA. The audience will have the opportunity to participate in discussions with local and visiting filmmakers after many of the screenings.

The Festival is excited to announce this year it will open at the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the Mission District and takes the program to cultural venues in the Bay Area including the Roxie Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, La Peña Cultural Center, the de Young Museum and the Eastside Cultural Center. Films are screened in their original language with English subtitles.

A short list of this year’s program includes:

H.O.M.E by Daniel Maldonado from New York City. Jeremy Ray Valdez (La Mission) plays a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome who finds respite in the subways of New York City. Filmmaker slated to attend.

SACRED SACRAMENT by Lionel Desai, a San Francisco filmmaker. Familiar sights and faces from the Mission. Boy coming to terms with separation from his mother who was deported as he prepares for his first communion while staying at adoptive family. Cast and crew attending.

SIEMBRA by Samuel Henriquez from Colombia. It’s a drama set in Colombia’s Pacific Coast about a fisherman displaced by the armed conflict yearning to return to his land.

LIBERTAD by Brenda Avila-Haan, a filmmaker from Santa Cruz. A short film profiling a transgender indigenous woman from Oaxaca whose life transcends borders. Part of the Made in Califas shorts program.

CRAVING CUBA by Zuzy Martin Lynch and Rick Lynch, San Francisco filmmakers. A documentary about Cuban-American’s nostalgia and yearning to travel and connect with Cuba. Subjects include Jessica Aguirre (NBC news anchor), George Gascon (San Francisco District Attorney), and singer/actor Carlos Ponce. Filmmaker in attendance.

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to promote this special film festival once again, we hope to see you at the movies!


Half Moon Bay Latina loves wearing Art thus Wear That Art is born!


We begin our series of highlighting and promoting Latina & Latino Entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and those who want to come to Silicon Valley  so that you can learn via their stories how they are making Silicon Valley click with each of their contributions.

We start with Wear That Art, a Half Moon Bay company, that has built a  niche market in the Fine Art and t-shirt industry.  We were able to get in touch with Maria Jose Mendillo founder of this rapidly growing online business and conducted this question and answer session.


What inspired you to come up with this idea? What problem are you trying to solve?

While traveling through Europe we found many places where new young artists were showing their creations outside traditional Museums.  We thought that the generations to come, the WEB Generations, those that were born and are growing up with the WEB, want to “interact” with the art.

Many think that this means we need to create Art that is interactive.  We believe that just by wearing ART, in limited Editions, from known and new artists is a way to express oneself in terms of ART and a way to interact with ART.

Amsterdam was our AHA! Moment… we sat and started drawing how it could work, what we will do, what could be the points that will create something that will become a movement in the future?  Wear That ART was born!!


What’s your business model and how do you plan to monetize?

The model is very simple.  We had to build a way to attain original ART and then be able to print this ART in limited numbered editions to give it the exclusivity.

Since we are an e-commerce site, we monetize from the get go.  We don’t use our inventory to promote ourselves (no free product ever comes from us). 

We do marketing by promoting our ARTISTS, then associate them to our brand as the “cool place” to find not just garments (T-shirts, Tote bags, Aprons, etc.) but also to appreciate very cool creations.  From the beginning we had very large amounts of traffic to our site that we didn’t understand. We did not understand why they were not buying so we did some research and found that they were actually using our site as a gallery to visit and appreciate ART.

 Second, we decided that our products will all be 100% cotton and all manufactured in the US, where we can control the quality.

Lastly, we have a sourcing system that prints on demand only so that our cost of raw materials is kept very low.  This allows us to not only keep very little inventory but also allows us to make sure that each product is totally unique (even if it is a numbered copy of the original).  We have a lot of pure Digital Artists that do not create in any physical medium.

Artists take a good piece of the profit, but we are able to operate scale at a very good margin, from one at a time, we are doing pretty good.  

Our difference is that we have currently more than 3,000 unique creations and we can deliver any amount of them (limited to no more than 200 copies of each) in less than 48 hours.  When a customer buys one of our ARTs on a garment, they know exactly what number is it and that there will be no more than 200 of each.  That makes each piece totally unique.


How are you different from your competition?

There is not really any other company that reproduces numbered limited editions of ART in garments.  Typically the companies that specialize in printing limited ART editions do that in paper or Canvas…

Creations in Garment are limited to T-Shirts or some other pieces and companies want to do this in large scale on very limited number of original creations ( it is a matter of keeping your inventory at the right level, economic success is in managing the finished product, since we don’t have that issue we can do much better).

That said, of course traditional companies like Society6, ART.com, are more likely to see us as competition.


Where do you see your business in one (to three) year(s)?

We are growing at a very fast pace which requires us to keep bringing new artists to the scene.  We are attracting many known Artists like Monica Warhol, along with up and coming new young artists.

We keep scouting for new valued artists around the world.  As of today we have artists from more than 25 countries.

Sales has been the challenge, in trying to explain to the Artists why this is different and that we respect them and their work. We look to share a good piece of the sales with them and at the same time promote them in many ways.  We do marketing and exposure for them to build their presence.  We do not bring their art in a cheap way to market. We follow a formula meant to enhance the value of their work.

Currently our site represents the majority of our sales.  We just launched another outlet at Amazon.com and the response has been much better than expected (even after the challenge of working with them as a small entrepreneur has proven to be so tough that it crossed our minds to give up but we didn’t and we finally mastered their formula now!!)

Part of our mid term plans include the launch of our expositions in key cities around the world.  We have been in conversations with great people that have different ways of thinking about how ART has to be exposed to the public, how to make it interactive, etc. and we are excited to be considered one of those points to that stage.


Who are your socios (business partners, co-founders, etc)?

We are a private corporation, self funded.


Have you received any investments? From whom? For how much?

Not yet, we are working on what will be our first round pre-series A for mid 2014.

We have had conversations with several VC’s and Private Equity funds and some non-profit organizations that now have “entrepreneur programs” who have expressed interest in our model. 


What is your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is to be able to understand the change in ART appreciation and keep the pace with what consumers are willing to accept and move to.

Another big challenge is that our site functionality has to be unique and working with developers in the US tends to be too expensive, and working with developers outside our country tends to pose a challenge when you need unique features that have to be built.   You need to understand what you are building and how to express that vision especially with developers  outside of the USA.  



What advice would you provide to other emerging Latino tech entrepreneurs?

Listen to the end user, the consumer, not just your friends and family.

There is no easy way!  Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of sacrifices that you do without even thinking about it.

Network! Social Media!  Use social media to learn and talk to your consumers.

If you can close your eyes and see it, you can do it.

Have fun while doing all the heavy work.


You can find her online store via the link attached!






QL Latin American Chamber Music Festival 3 events in 1 Day.

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QL Latin American Chamber Music Festival Event 2 San Jose

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The Art of Scape

“I used to have this habit when I was a kid … I would to look at the sun. I would tilt my face to the sky, and in a test of wills, it would be me versus the sun,” shares Edward Martinez. “So with my retinas on fire, my eyes squinting, I’d dance my eyes around the edges of the sun, trying to see what I shouldn’t. They would burn and I would have beads of sweat forming on my forehead before I would quit. In the end I didn’t see the sun as much as I felt the warmth of the sun on my face, on my skin, and would receive a certain type of confirmation. I would breathe deeply and think, “I am … here!’.”

Originally from Newark, N.J. raised in San Jose, Calif. by parents of Puerto Rican descent, Martinez or also is known as “SCAPE” in the artist community, shares his passion one brush stroke at a time.

Like other first generation immigrants, his parents came here in pursuit of the American dream; theirs’ was a home where basic living was the norm, so any art school was out of the question. After moving to the west coast, as a teenager, SCAPE immersed himself in academics. He was a prolific writer and avid reader, but learned that his only means of expression would be drawing and painting. He began to paint on just about any surface, and fell in love with graffiti, that he insists is an art form that has been around as long as the Egyptians.

Now, as an established artist, writer, and arts advocate for children, he is here.

SCAPE describes himself as a self-taught, inquisitive, and quiet soul, dating back to when painting was his means to escape. Early on graffiti art became his passion, “his calling,” and wanted to make others understand that it was and is a respectable art form.

SCAPE's art at the Roosevelt Community Center in San Jose, Calif. | Photo By Patricia Ruiz

His work is well known and respected not only in the bay area but at an international level ranging from the San Jose Roosevelt Community Center where he was commissioned to adorn the walls and the outside of the neighborhood center; to Stanford’s School of Law, to New Mexico and China where he was invited as a guest artist, and most recently to the UK where he was commissioned as the opener for the Brighton Arts Fringe Festival in May. He is the author of two books titles Graff: The Art and Technique of Graffiti and Graff 2: Next Level of Graffiti Techniques.

Graff | Photo by Patricia Ruiz

Although he has been in the graffiti scene since the 1980s, he has refined and acquired a deeper sense of self as an artist in more recent times through his large scale pieces that have acquired him wall space in several art galleries in San Jose and San Francisco. Yet, SCAPE is low key, lives in San Jose and grabs lunch at local spots.

“Kids come up asking me to sign their tag books and look up to me; it was just yesterday that I was running around just like them.”

SCAPE recalls going out to neighborhood tunnels at midnight where deep in the night he would claim his piece of immortality by tagging neighborhood walls. His pieces were (and still are) larger than life, capricious, and extremely loud. Even with spray paint, as a tag boy, he pushed the boundaries by adding in new styles and bold colors that challenged the conventional block style cholo writing at that time which was highly recognized as street graffiti.

“I always knew I was gifted, and so did my parents, but they didn’t know what to do with my talent.” He got into graffiti because it was free it didn’t require attending art school, fees or a tuition. He is a self-taught artist. His parents didn’t have the means to enroll him in an art program and were busy making ends meet. “So I see the kids I work with (He teaches art to youth in East Palo Alto) and I validate their stories, and the potential they have.”

He has come a long way since those days of tagging tunnels, train stops, and alleys, now placing himself in the world of fine art, with the mastery of multiple disciplines with graffiti as the foundation. With this he has made many believers that graffiti really is a respectable form of art.

SCAPE’s fine art paintings combine elements of graffiti art and abstract expressionism to create large scale, rhythmic and expressive compositions that transcend mere technique.

SCAPE paints The Shape of Things to Come | Photo by Patricia Ruiz

He adds, “My hope is that my work will be inspiring, motivating, and equally meditative. I can make my artwork, my art of graffiti accessible to anyone and everyone.”

His work embraces the experience of growing up in a society that did not revere graffiti as a form of artistic production and fusses elements of fine art, expressionism, and adheres to his relentless love of color; SCAPE has made this art form his own. Now, decades later, he continues to push these norms by incorporating these styles into large scale pieces that have granted him wall space in San Jose at City Hall, San Jose Center for Latino Arts, MACLA, and Galeria de la Raza, also in San Francisco at The Punch Gallery, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Los Gatos Museum of Art in Los Gatos, Calif. Moreover, it has granted his access to travel overseas to the United Kingdom, and China where he has been commissioned for large scale pieces and to speak of his journey as an artist.

His work is large and bold. It “Screams Positive And Creative Energy,” hence, his artist name.

Written and Photos by Patricia Ruiz | SVL Intern

Unfinished Spaces Movie Review

In this photo Architect Ricardo Porro | Photo courtesy of Cinequest

After the downfall of the dictatorship in Cuba during 1959, one day in April Fidel Castro and Che Guevara decided to play golf at a country club in Havana. Fidel decided that the landscape was perfect for a grand art campus. Recruitment of architects for Cuba’s National Schools of Art started immediately.

Alysa Nahmias

Benjamin Murray

Unfinished Spaces, a film by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray (English and Spanish with English subtitles) truly captures the beauty of the landscape and amazing architecture in the documentary of a modern day landmark in ruins, whose designing architects are still living.

Architects of the campus, Selma Díaz, Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, and Roberto Gottardi retell their creative journey.

Fidel asked Diaz to head the design project of the School. She offered Porro the architect position but because it was for five schools, he recruited two Italian architects living in Cuba at the time, Garatti and Gottardi.

“I helped to make revolution but in a very soft way. I never fought, I don’t think I am a man to fight with guns, I am a man with ideas, that’s all,” Porro states.

The School of Dramatic Arts, The school of Ballet, The School of Music, The school of Plastic Arts and The School of Modern Dance were designed within a two months deadline and building began immediately. Even the Unites States embargo, which could have been an obstacle for construction because there were no materials being imported.

The School of Ballet designed by Vittorio Garatti | Photo courtesy of Cinequest

Construction was possible by using the islands natural resources of in creating bricks and terra cotta, along with 80 masons trained by an older man who possessed Catalan Vaulting skills.

Filled with pride, delight, and dreams Cuban youths, after a successful revolution, started classes as classrooms were completed, yet the campus was not complete. Students not only serenaded workers with musical drum circles, poetry, and song, they helped with the masonry and construction.

Artists who attended the art schools in the 1960s also share their stories about their comradery, female sexual liberation, and the creative freedom during that time. Alum and artist Fonseca says “Eso no lo había antes de la revolución.” It truly would not have been possible prior to the revolution.

They did not view it as a job and they were a family.

The passions and dreams of the artists and architects dwindled after terrorists and fear spread through Cuba. Then the 1961 Bay of Pigs occurrence along with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 added economic and political strain on funding the completion of the School. Two additional significant obstacles were that Cuba’s Ministry of Construction embraced The Soviet Union’s technique to pre-manufacture buildings and Che Guevara’s wrote an article titled the Socialism of the Cuban Man where he criticized the concept of the freedoms practiced at the school, so the schools were militarized.

Not only did war and the politics years stop the construction, but time and nature began to devour the campus, and after the fall of the Soviet Union Cuba’s leader approved restoration of the National School of Arts.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t know about architecture you know that you are in a special place and you can feel that and … you can feel that energy. I think that is what the architects wanted to do and understood,” Theater School alum Felipe Dulzaides sums it up.

The designers’ passions are unimaginable captured and undeniably felt by the audience.

On the Right Side of the Tracks

Carlos Rodriguez works on a painting at The Tracks located inside San Jose's T Citadel | Photo By Jose Posadas

The path toward being an artist can take many forms. For some it starts with nothing more than a number 2 pencil and plain sheet of paper. For others it may be a box of crayons, colored markers or a water color paint set.

For 11-year-old Carlos Rodriguez, newly arrived to San Jose from Mexico in 1988, his path to being an artist was through creating graffiti on walls throughout San Jose in Latino neighborhoods that allowed spaces for public murals.

Twenty three years later Rodriguez opens a studio called The Tracks, located south of downtown San Jose in the Spartan-Keyes Neighborhood, he and co-owner/founder Helene Ehrlich hope to create a space where other aspiring artists can learn and grow, a place where, as Rodriguez elaborates, “Artists can express their passion and create things people will enjoy, create things that people can like or hate at the same time.”

“Graffiti helped me to make friends, I was no longer a stranger, I learned at an early age how powerful art was,” Rodiguez said. As a young artist and new immigrant, his work on graffiti murals served as a means to connect to other kids his ageand he soon found that other kids admired his work.

In graffiti culture the railroad and boxcars are considered the ultimate canvas. That is where a graffiti artist can display his/her talent and showcase art that will eventually be seen throughout the state if not the entire country as the train travels across the landscape day and night. It becomes in essence a moving exhibit, thus his choice to name his studio The Tracks.

But prior to opening The Tracks Rodriguez first cultivated his skills and developed his style, when at 18 years-old, he started spending time at MACLA Arte, a gallery serving the Latino community. He would then go on to work at a youth center in Mountain View where he began to teach art to other Latino youth, and he introduced art programs at the Alum Rock Counseling Center and worked for the City of San Jose’s gang prevention program.

It was only a matter of time for his hunger to start his own business led him to opening a vinyl business and later a silk screening business which he still currently runs.

Like most new business startups, it has not been easy but he learned that having a business is very liberating. “We still struggle as young artists but still we sell our art whether it’s murals, paintings, T-shirts, our own clothing line or photography services” he says.

Today his company New Edge Creative Studios consists of T-shirt printing, design work, murals and photography by co-founder Ehrlich. She is a third generation photographer, has 15 years of experience as a photographer and credits a Kodak Instamatic camera she once had as a child, for her love of photography.

When not working at their studio Ehrlich works as a teacher at ACE Charter school in San Jose where she takes pride in bringing art and culture to the classroom. She takes T-shirts designed by Rodriguez or other Latino artists bearing cultural images of Mexico like Dia de los Muertos or Zapata to share with the children in her classroom, one of many ways to teach art and history as well as instill pride in Latino culture.

“Education is power!”

Ehrlich adds, “I especially enjoy empowering young girls as artists and showing them that they can make a living as an artist. I want people to feel empowered, to live their dreams, to not be scared and I hope that Carlos and I can inspire others by what we are doing with a little blood, sweat and tears as working artists.”

When asked what he wants to be remembered for Rodriguez added, “I want people to view me as a staple in the art community, that the San Jose art community grew because of what we are trying to do at The Tracks studio, that I want to inspire the City to have faith in our youth, not to demonize the graffiti artist, and that people walk away with a sense of what San Jose art is and represents.”

The Tracks had a Grand Opening & Customer Appreciation on Thursday, Jan. 26th, from noon to 7pm which included a raffle, refreshments and prizes.

The Tracks Studio is Located at The Citadel: 855 5th Street #407, San Jose, CA 95122
Feel free to contact Carlos Rodriguez and Helene Ehrlichvia email newedge.admin@gmail.com with inquiries and to visit the studio.

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NECreativeServices?sk=info

Written By Jose Posadas | Photos By Jose Posadas