By Jared Solis
Papi’s life just got a little more complicated.
Aside from being an undocumented farm worker from Mexico, he just impregnated a woman who happens to be Anglo and whose family happens to not be happy about it at all.
While this drama of racism in South Texas is relegated to a fictional character in an upcoming film, radio-television-film sophomore Carlos Elizondo has the charge of bringing the character of Papi to life as a first-time actor.
“It’s gotten a little bit easier with every rehearsal,” Elizondo said. “I was a little bit nervous at the time, when I first jumped into it.”
The independent film, being shot in San Antonio and surrounding areas, is titled, “No Dogs or Mezcans Allowed,” an allusion to signs placed on establishments during the civil rights movement.
“Last year, during the marches in Los Angeles about immigration, I heard some of the politicians talking bad about Mexicans,” David Peña, co-writer and director of the film, said. “They were just blatantly racist, I thought … and what came to mind was this old slogan that I remember as a kid that people talked about that said, ‘no dogs or Mexicans allowed,’ and I said, ‘wow, what a great title for a movie.’”
The 55-year-old director, whose filmography includes two films as director of photography, describes “No Dogs or Mezcans Allowed” as a modern Western.
“Before I’ve compared it to ‘Monster’s Ball’ because it’s kind of brutal and honest with a lot of racism, and it’s got a lot of sexuality,” Peña said.
Peña hopes to shop the film to HBO after completing a few more scenes for them to review.
Elizondo originally worked as a crew member on the film through an internship he heard about from radio-television-film Professor Fred Weiss.
Although most of Elizondo’s background had been in music and radio production, Peña asked him to read for Papi, the last role to be cast.
“I liked the way he looked with the other actors, so I said, ‘you can have the part, go ahead, man. Let’s go for it. Just bring up the heavy accent,’” Peña said.
The role of Papi is a substantially large part in the film that requires a heavy Mexican accent, but Elizondo believed he could take on the part, he said.
“I told David, ‘Man, I grew up on the west side of town, some of that stuff is second nature to me,’” Elizondo said.
Aside from his classes at this college, his job with the district at the East Side Community Education Center and his duties as a single parent, 35-year-old Elizondo will be shooting scenes in San Antonio, Lytle and possibly on singer Willie Nelson’s ranch for the next two months.
“For me, it’s just fun and a part of school,” Elizondo said. “It’s been great. It’s been a good learning experience.”
Although he wants to continue to pursue his goals of working in radio production, Elizondo wants to leave the door open for further opportunities in film.
“This is my first experience, so who knows what’s in store for me down the road,” Elizondo said. “I went from having one scene to having about nine now.”