My Family: Mi Familia


2h 1m 1995

Brief Synopsis

Three generations of immigrants fight to make their way in the U.S.

Film Details

Also Known As
My Family, Mi Familia
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Period
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
NEW LINE CINEMA (NEW LINE)
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m

Synopsis

The story of three generations of the Sanchez family. From their adventurous journey from Mexico to California in the 1920's through the turbulent 1950's, to the stark realities of modern day, their struggle to live the American dream is sometimes darkened but never diminished.

Crew

Richard Alatorre

Special Thanks To

Laura Albert

Stunt Man

Marc Alexandre

Other

Aram Allan

Construction Coordinator

Marie Eugenia Alma

Special Thanks To

Adalberto Alvarez

Production Assistant

Rick Andres

Set Production Assistant

Jose Araujo

Sound Mixer

Kim Aubry

Post-Production Supervisor

Pepe Avila

Music

William R Bain

Transportation Co-Captain

Chris J. Ball

Special Thanks To

Carrol Ballard

Cinematographer

Rick Barker

Stunt Coordinator

Steve Barnett

Post-Production Supervisor

Saudhi Batalia

Production Assistant

Carrie Bauer

Set Costumer

Jeff Behlendorf

Production Auditor

Guy Belegaud

Carpenter

Kevin Benson

Music Supervisor

Fahey Benton

Medic

Ute Berthold

Assistant Editor

Sister Karen Boccalero

Special Thanks To

Rob Bonz

Other

Martin Bosworth

Best Boy

Greg Boyle

Special Thanks To

Dan Bradley

Stunt Coordinator

Ben Bray

Stunts

Craig Bray

Stunts

Robert A Bress

Driver

Vickie Brinkkord

Set Costumer

Mark Brown

Driver

Thom Calderon

Assistant Editor

Candice Campos

Assistant Production Coordinator

John Cann

Stunts

Tina Canny

Other

Christine Cantella

Costumes

Lou Carlucci

Special Effects Coordinator

Joel Castro

Special Thanks To

Hector Chavez

Grip

Pablo Chavez

Key Grip

Craig Cisco

Carpenter

Francis Ford Coppola

Producer

Francis Ford Coppola

Executive Producer

Chickie Corral

Special Thanks To

Joe Corral

Special Thanks To

David Corrick

Carpenter

Tangi Crawford

Wardrobe Supervisor

Jaime Cruz

Special Thanks To

Mary Pina Cruz

Special Thanks To

Jeanine Davis

Costumes

José De Jesús Macías

Assistant Production Coordinator

Nancy De Los Santos

Associate Producer

John Deblau

Lighting

John Deblau

Electrician

Glen Deitell

Assistant Camera Operator

Miguel Delgado

Choreographer

Humberto Deluna

Assistant Camera Operator

Lisa Campbell Demaine

Assistant Director

Beth Depatie

Production Manager

Ken Deubel

Other

Terry Deubel

Other

Ken Diaz

Makeup

Anthony N Dicovitsky

Dailies

Rudy Dillon

Assistant

Thomas Dominguez

Grip

Corina Duran

Hair

Guy East

Executive Producer

Tony Eckert

Foley Mixer

Kathy Edwards

Accounting Assistant

John A Escobar

Stunts

Robert Fernandez

Other

Anthony Figueroa

Production Assistant

Linda Folk

Adr Supervisor

Nick Frangakis

Special Thanks To

David Frederick

Screenplay

David Frederick

Writer (Dialogue)

David Frederick

Adr Editor

Clare Freeman

Adr Supervisor

Karen Frischmann

Assistant Director

Jim Fulmis

Other

Maria Elena Gaitan

Special Thanks To

Octavio Gaitan-diaz

Production Assistant

Mark Gantt

On-Set Dresser

David M. Garber

Visual Effects

Angelina Garcia

Special Thanks To

Luis Garcia

Makeup

Kirk Gardener

Steadicam Operator

Dennis Hugh Goble

Driver

A P Gonzales

Special Thanks To

Pat Gonzalez

Craft Service

Laura Greenlee

Line Producer

Linda Griego

Special Thanks To

Bernard Grisez

Carpenter

Wesley Groves

Video Playback

Randy Guiting

Stunts

Jill Gurr

Script Supervisor

John Hamilton

Other

Julie Hansen

Production Accountant

Robert F Hartman

Driver

Anton A Herbert

Boom Operator

Irene Hernandez

Production Assistant

Jan M Heyneker

Key Grip

Randi Hiller

Casting Associate

Janet Hirshenson

Casting

Evelyn Hokanson

Adr

Cory Huber

Driver

Diane Huffman

Special Thanks To

Fred Huffman

Special Thanks To

Heather Hughes

Assistant Editor

Julie Huntsinger

Assistant

Andreas Hutter

Assistant Camera Operator

Kevin Hyman

Other

David Inman

Grip

Judy Irola

Cinematographer

Kevin Jackson

Driver

Roman Jakobi

Electrician

Jane Jenkins

Casting

Barbara Jitner Martinez

Assistant

Rolf Johnson

Music Editor

Thomas Johnson

Other

Tom Johnson

Rerecording

Jim Kallett

Other

Lisa Keller

Other

Sabine Kelling

Set Costumer

Francis Kenny

Camera Operator

Melissa Kent

Editor

Jim Ketcham

Consultant

Bill Kinder

Facilities Supervisor

Mark Knightley

Carpenter

Teusa Koiwai

On-Set Dresser

Rick Kopenheffer

Special Thanks To

Kris Kringle

Assistant Director

Rick Kusnier

Set Production Assistant

Edward Lachman

Director Of Photography

Jeffrey M Landis

Driver

Ralph Lardizabal

Special Thanks To

Darryl Legendre

Driver

Samuel Lehmer

Rerecording

Robert J Lemos

Post-Production Assistant

Douglas C Lewis

Property Master

Matthew Libatique

Other

Stephen Lighthill

Camera Operator

Peter Loncto

Special Thanks To

Pearl A Lucero

Production Coordinator

David Luckenbach

Steadicam Operator

Tom Luddy

Executive Producer

Adam Lustig

Art Director

Brent Mannon

Props Assistant

Diane Marin

Special Thanks To

Bill Martinez

Special Thanks To

Denise Martinez

Costumes

Jacklin Masteran

Hairdresser

Patricia Mata

Production Coordinator

Pedro Mata

Assistant Location Manager

George Maxwell

Production Assistant

Michella Mayorga

Special Thanks To

Mike Mcduffee

Driver

Mark Mckenzie

Music

Gabriel Medina

Security

Leticia Mercado

Production Assistant

Maria Elena Mercado

Production Manager

Rona Michele

Assistant Sound Editor

Antonio Molina

Transportation Coordinator

Gloria Molina

Special Thanks To

Sergio Molina

Executive Producer

Luis Monreal

Other

Sandra Montiel

Assistant Editor

Marnie Moore

Foley Artist

Ellen Moranski

Special Thanks To

Isis Mussenden

Costumes

Roger Mussenden

Casting

Troy Myers

Art Director

Dominic Napolitano

Assistant Camera Operator

Cheryl Nardi

Assistant Sound Editor

Gregory Nava

Screenplay

Gregg Nestor

Music

Alex Nogales

Special Thanks To

Hugo Noriega

Boom Operator

Consuelo F Norte

Other

Lorenzo O'brien

Interpreter

Kathleen Ann O'loughlin

Other

Jaime Ortiz

Costumes

Valerie Ozeta

Production Assistant

Eliza Parkerson

Grip

Eddie Perez

Stunts

Martha Claire Pilcher

Location Manager

Adam Pinkstaff

On-Set Dresser

Osman Posada

Video Assist/Playback

Osman Posada

Other

Paul Prokop

Auditor

Cesar Quiroza

Other

Nick Radell

Carpenter

Thomas Real

Hair Assistant

Marie Regan

Other

Michael Joseph Reyes

Grip

Nancy Richardson

Editor

Barbara Riley

Negative Cutting

Raquella Rios

Special Thanks To

Barry Robison

Production Designer

Film Details

Also Known As
My Family, Mi Familia
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Period
Release Date
1995
Distribution Company
NEW LINE CINEMA (NEW LINE)
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m

Award Nominations

Best Makeup

1995

Articles

My Family/Mi Familia


The 1995 film My Family (aka My Family, Mi Familia) tells the sweeping saga of the Mexican-American Sanchez family across three generations with humor and sensitivity. Beginning with patriarch José's year-long journey on foot from Mexico to California and subsequent marriage to local girl Maria, the Sanchez family plants its roots in East Los Angeles during the 1920s. Narrated by their son Paco (Edward James Olmos), an aspiring writer, My Family moves through each decade chronicling the triumphs and tragedies of an immigrant family trying to make it in America.

My Family was written by husband and wife team Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, who received an Oscar® nomination for their highly acclaimed 1983 screenplay collaboration El Norte. Nava, who also directed both films, had always wanted to make a movie that centered on the family. "What I want to tell in the film," said Nava in a 1995 interview, "is the story of a family. I don't think you understand Latino culture unless you understand the family." While Nava drew on his own Mexican heritage and family for the script, he was also influenced by stories of other immigrant families. "The inspiration for the film is obviously based on my family," said Nava, "but I would say that the influence is more inspirational rather than specific. A lot of specifics came from other families when I was doing research for the film in East Los Angeles."

With its many vivid characters, director Gregory Nava had a chance to cast some of the best Latino actors in My Family including Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Constance Marie and Eduardo Lopez Rojas, one of Mexico's most respected actors. Jennifer Lopez, in her first major role in a feature film, also makes a memorable impression as the young matriarch of the family, Maria, who must fight her way back to her family after being illegally deported to Mexico.

Jimmy Smits, who plays troubled son Jimmy, loved making My Family. "From the beginning, My Family was a movie I knew I had to make," said Smits in 1995. "My Family is one of the very few films with an entirely Latino cast and Latino director, and all of us working on it felt it would be a real breakthrough." His attraction to the story had to do with its epic quality. "I like the span of the piece in terms of going from the early times of when California was part of Mexico and really seeing the family go through the 50s and the 80s," he said. "This is a multi-generational piece. In that respect the piece to me is like a jewel."

Co-star Edward James Olmos was also pleased to be a part of My Family. "Each culture has its own definitive understanding of...where they come from, where they evolved from, what their mythology is," said Olmos in 1995. "The core feeling of what this story brings to us as Americans is a look at the backbone of what it is to be a Mexican in America."

One of the challenges some of the actors had to endure due to the scope of the film included extensive aging makeup, which could take many hours. Actress Jenny Gago, who plays the older Maria, had to age 30 years throughout the course of the film. "I had no idea what I was getting myself into," she said. "I knew it would be a challenge. I didn't know that seven and a half hours later I would be ready for camera." Makeup artists Ken Diaz and Mark Sanchez received an Academy Award nomination for their remarkable work in My Family.

Gregory Nava also wanted to visually capture the changing look of the Sanchez family home over the course of multiple decades. Nava was inspired by the vibrant paintings of Chicana artist Patssi Valdez and wanted the interiors of the Sanchez house to reflect a similar warmth and energy that he saw in Valdez's work. Valdez understood what an authentic Mexican-American home should look like and was brought on board to do some of the set design on My Family herself. "My research was just to look inside myself," she said in 1995. "I was born and raised in East L.A. and my paintings tend to be very brilliant and colorful, and Greg thought that really reflected the Chicano spirit. And that's what we captured in the interior of the house I hope."

My Family was released in May 1995 to wide acclaim. The Los Angeles Times said, "Your head may insist you resist the unashamed sentimentality of My Family, but your heart will encourage you to give in, and for once your heart will be right." Roger Ebert in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times said, "Their story is told in images of startling beauty and great overflowing energy; it is rare to hear so much laughter from an audience that is also sometimes moved to tears. Few movies like this get made because few filmmakers have the ambition to open their arms wide and embrace so much life. This is the great American story, told again and again, of how our families came to this land and tried to make it better for their children...Through all the beauty, laughter and tears, the strong heart of the family beats...Rarely have I felt at the movies such a sense of time and history, of stories and lessons passing down the generations, of a family living in its memories."

Reviews particularly singled out Jimmy Smits for his powerful, nuanced performance as the angry and withdrawn Sanchez son, Jimmy. "With a deft touch that lightens the story, and the charismatic presence this film has needed all along, Mr. Smits almost singlehandedly makes My Family more engaging," said the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times said, "...Smits as the smoldering, exasperated loner Jimmy finally gives the kind of movie star performance that has been expected of him for years, personally invigorating the entire second half of the film."

My Family may focus on a Mexican-American family, but its themes are universal. "It's always been my dream to do a big family saga, so I think that My Family will appeal very strongly to Latinos because they all love and relate to their families in a very profound way," said Nava in 1995. "But it's also the greatest crossover point, because everybody comes from a family." My Family is a film that bridges the gap between cultures and can appeal to anyone. "I'm constantly asked, 'Will this change the way Latino films are perceived?'" said Jimmy Smits in a 1995 article he wrote for Entertainment Weekly. "I know this film alone is not going to do it, but I hope that industry people will now see there is a large market for movies that both are true to the Latino experience and use Latino actors. That way maybe an accomplished director like Greg Nava won't have to wait six years before he gets his next picture made. After all, My Family is just the tip of the iceberg of Latino stories that we have to tell."

Gregory Nava sums up this theme of crossing over in the film's use of bridges as a metaphor. "...the film is very much about bridges," he said in 1995, "the bridges that bridge Los Angeles with East Los Angeles. The people from East Los Angeles cross the bridge, but the people on the western side don't cross into East Los Angeles. And the bridges need to be crossed in both directions. But the image of the bridge extends beyond that. It is the bridges that exist between us and our past, as Latinos, our roots, and the bridges that then, understanding that, lead us to our future. The bridges that we have to build between people and members of the family, between fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters, and brothers and sisters."

Producer: Anna Thomas
Director: Gregory Nava
Screenplay: Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas
Cinematography: Edward Lachman
Art Direction: Tony Myers; Adam Lustig (co-art director)
Music: Mark McKenzie
Film Editing: Nancy Richardson
Cast: Edward James Olmos (Paco), Rafael Cortes (Roberto), Ivette Reina (Trini), Amelia Zapata (Roberto's girlfriend), Jacob Vargas (Young Jose), Emilio Del Haro (oxcart driver), Abel Woolrich (oxcart driver), Leon Singer (El Californio), Rosalee Mayeux (Maria's employer), Jennifer Lopez (young Maria), Alicia del Lago (Maria's aunt), Thomas Rosales (The Boatman), Esai Morales (Chucho), Constance Marie (Toni).
C-125m. Letterboxed.

by Andrea Passafiume
My Family/mi Familia

My Family/Mi Familia

The 1995 film My Family (aka My Family, Mi Familia) tells the sweeping saga of the Mexican-American Sanchez family across three generations with humor and sensitivity. Beginning with patriarch José's year-long journey on foot from Mexico to California and subsequent marriage to local girl Maria, the Sanchez family plants its roots in East Los Angeles during the 1920s. Narrated by their son Paco (Edward James Olmos), an aspiring writer, My Family moves through each decade chronicling the triumphs and tragedies of an immigrant family trying to make it in America. My Family was written by husband and wife team Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, who received an Oscar® nomination for their highly acclaimed 1983 screenplay collaboration El Norte. Nava, who also directed both films, had always wanted to make a movie that centered on the family. "What I want to tell in the film," said Nava in a 1995 interview, "is the story of a family. I don't think you understand Latino culture unless you understand the family." While Nava drew on his own Mexican heritage and family for the script, he was also influenced by stories of other immigrant families. "The inspiration for the film is obviously based on my family," said Nava, "but I would say that the influence is more inspirational rather than specific. A lot of specifics came from other families when I was doing research for the film in East Los Angeles." With its many vivid characters, director Gregory Nava had a chance to cast some of the best Latino actors in My Family including Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, Constance Marie and Eduardo Lopez Rojas, one of Mexico's most respected actors. Jennifer Lopez, in her first major role in a feature film, also makes a memorable impression as the young matriarch of the family, Maria, who must fight her way back to her family after being illegally deported to Mexico. Jimmy Smits, who plays troubled son Jimmy, loved making My Family. "From the beginning, My Family was a movie I knew I had to make," said Smits in 1995. "My Family is one of the very few films with an entirely Latino cast and Latino director, and all of us working on it felt it would be a real breakthrough." His attraction to the story had to do with its epic quality. "I like the span of the piece in terms of going from the early times of when California was part of Mexico and really seeing the family go through the 50s and the 80s," he said. "This is a multi-generational piece. In that respect the piece to me is like a jewel." Co-star Edward James Olmos was also pleased to be a part of My Family. "Each culture has its own definitive understanding of...where they come from, where they evolved from, what their mythology is," said Olmos in 1995. "The core feeling of what this story brings to us as Americans is a look at the backbone of what it is to be a Mexican in America." One of the challenges some of the actors had to endure due to the scope of the film included extensive aging makeup, which could take many hours. Actress Jenny Gago, who plays the older Maria, had to age 30 years throughout the course of the film. "I had no idea what I was getting myself into," she said. "I knew it would be a challenge. I didn't know that seven and a half hours later I would be ready for camera." Makeup artists Ken Diaz and Mark Sanchez received an Academy Award nomination for their remarkable work in My Family. Gregory Nava also wanted to visually capture the changing look of the Sanchez family home over the course of multiple decades. Nava was inspired by the vibrant paintings of Chicana artist Patssi Valdez and wanted the interiors of the Sanchez house to reflect a similar warmth and energy that he saw in Valdez's work. Valdez understood what an authentic Mexican-American home should look like and was brought on board to do some of the set design on My Family herself. "My research was just to look inside myself," she said in 1995. "I was born and raised in East L.A. and my paintings tend to be very brilliant and colorful, and Greg thought that really reflected the Chicano spirit. And that's what we captured in the interior of the house I hope." My Family was released in May 1995 to wide acclaim. The Los Angeles Times said, "Your head may insist you resist the unashamed sentimentality of My Family, but your heart will encourage you to give in, and for once your heart will be right." Roger Ebert in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times said, "Their story is told in images of startling beauty and great overflowing energy; it is rare to hear so much laughter from an audience that is also sometimes moved to tears. Few movies like this get made because few filmmakers have the ambition to open their arms wide and embrace so much life. This is the great American story, told again and again, of how our families came to this land and tried to make it better for their children...Through all the beauty, laughter and tears, the strong heart of the family beats...Rarely have I felt at the movies such a sense of time and history, of stories and lessons passing down the generations, of a family living in its memories." Reviews particularly singled out Jimmy Smits for his powerful, nuanced performance as the angry and withdrawn Sanchez son, Jimmy. "With a deft touch that lightens the story, and the charismatic presence this film has needed all along, Mr. Smits almost singlehandedly makes My Family more engaging," said the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times said, "...Smits as the smoldering, exasperated loner Jimmy finally gives the kind of movie star performance that has been expected of him for years, personally invigorating the entire second half of the film." My Family may focus on a Mexican-American family, but its themes are universal. "It's always been my dream to do a big family saga, so I think that My Family will appeal very strongly to Latinos because they all love and relate to their families in a very profound way," said Nava in 1995. "But it's also the greatest crossover point, because everybody comes from a family." My Family is a film that bridges the gap between cultures and can appeal to anyone. "I'm constantly asked, 'Will this change the way Latino films are perceived?'" said Jimmy Smits in a 1995 article he wrote for Entertainment Weekly. "I know this film alone is not going to do it, but I hope that industry people will now see there is a large market for movies that both are true to the Latino experience and use Latino actors. That way maybe an accomplished director like Greg Nava won't have to wait six years before he gets his next picture made. After all, My Family is just the tip of the iceberg of Latino stories that we have to tell." Gregory Nava sums up this theme of crossing over in the film's use of bridges as a metaphor. "...the film is very much about bridges," he said in 1995, "the bridges that bridge Los Angeles with East Los Angeles. The people from East Los Angeles cross the bridge, but the people on the western side don't cross into East Los Angeles. And the bridges need to be crossed in both directions. But the image of the bridge extends beyond that. It is the bridges that exist between us and our past, as Latinos, our roots, and the bridges that then, understanding that, lead us to our future. The bridges that we have to build between people and members of the family, between fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters, and brothers and sisters." Producer: Anna Thomas Director: Gregory Nava Screenplay: Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas Cinematography: Edward Lachman Art Direction: Tony Myers; Adam Lustig (co-art director) Music: Mark McKenzie Film Editing: Nancy Richardson Cast: Edward James Olmos (Paco), Rafael Cortes (Roberto), Ivette Reina (Trini), Amelia Zapata (Roberto's girlfriend), Jacob Vargas (Young Jose), Emilio Del Haro (oxcart driver), Abel Woolrich (oxcart driver), Leon Singer (El Californio), Rosalee Mayeux (Maria's employer), Jennifer Lopez (young Maria), Alicia del Lago (Maria's aunt), Thomas Rosales (The Boatman), Esai Morales (Chucho), Constance Marie (Toni). C-125m. Letterboxed. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of a nonofficial award from the Catholic Organization for Cinema (OCIC) at the 1995 San Sebastian Film Festival.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature at the 1995 WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival.

Released in United States 1995

Released in United States April 1995

Released in United States April 27, 1995

Released in United States January 1995

Released in United States on Video November 7, 1995

Released in United States September 1995

Released in United States Spring May 3, 1995

Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 20 - May 4, 1995.

Shown at San Sebastian Film Festival (in competition) September 14-23, 1995.

Shown at Seattle International Film Festival May 18 - June 11, 1995.

Shown at WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival (in competition) April 21-30, 1995.

Began shooting May 9, 1994.

Completed shooting June 30, 1994.

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 20 - May 4, 1995.)

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at Seattle International Film Festival May 18 - June 11, 1995.)

Released in United States April 1995 (Shown at WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival (in competition) April 21-30, 1995.)

Released in United States April 27, 1995 (Benefit premiere at the Cinemrama Dome in Los Angeles for the National Latino Communications Center April 27, 1995.)

Released in United States January 1995 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres) in Park City, Utah January 19-29, 1995.)

Released in United States Spring May 3, 1995

Released in United States September 1995 (Shown at San Sebastian Film Festival (in competition) September 14-23, 1995.)

Released in United States on Video November 7, 1995