Alcaraz’ feature only Chi-made entry in Latino fest

Yunuen Pardo and Eddie Martinez

Filmmaker Alonzo Alcaraz’ first feature, a romantic comedy made for a micro-budget of $20,000 will be the only Chicago-made film screening at the Chicago Latino Film, Festival April 8-21.

Alcaraz’ locally-produced “One Night Stand,” will screen among 100 films from Spanish-speaking countries and the US, at the AMC River East Theatres.

The story, described as “Two unlikely people and unlucky in love, find themselves and each other in a single night,” was written, directed, co-produced and edited by mostly self-taught filmmaker Alcaraz.

The lead couple are theatre/film rising star and producer Yunuen Pardo as Paulie, a successful, strong-minded woman, and busy TV and movie actor Eddie Martinez as Mo, shy and insecure around women. 

Co-starring are theatre and film actors Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo as Paulie’s BFFs, while Mo’s carefree buddies are Juan Villa and Ivan Vega.

Casting was quick and easy, says Alcaraz, who worked on casting with Stephanie Diaz, who is an artistic associate of Berwyn’s 16th Street Theatre, among her many accomplishments.

 “There’s an absolutely great, very talented Latino acting community here. A lot of these actors come from theatre but also have been cast in non-stereotypical Latino roles in some of the shows and national commercials filming here,” says Alcaraz, whose day job is an insurance claims inspector.

He also acts and says he learned production by talking to the pros who wor on film sets.  He has been producing short films since 2009.

They filmed in spring and fall of 2014 in Humboldt Park and Wicker Park middle-class neighborhoods that are seldom locales for Latino films, Alcaraz notes.

DP was Charlie Garcia, also working on his first feature, who Alcaraz calls “an up—and-coming cinematographer.” Co-producers were Tadeo Garcia and Rosalia Rivera.

Alcaraz says he is “very honored” that his film was selected for entry in what has become the largest festival of its kind in the US, growing from 500 attendees in 1985 to more than 35,000 last year. 

He is also hoping “One Night Stand” might be a repeat success of his raunchy comedy short, “Alfred,” which won the festival’s Audience Award for Best Short Film in 2014.