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Curator's Note:

In a part of America that rarely makes headlines, there is a small town with a group of teenagers who will captivate your ears and warm your heart.


Mariachi High presents a year in the life of the champion mariachi ensemble at Zapata High School on the Rio Grande in South Texas. As they compete and perform with musical virtuosity, these teens and the music they make will inspire, surprise, and

bring you to your feet. High school

never sounded so good.


For more information about future showtimes and screenings, please visit the official Mariachi High website.


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Mariachi High | About the Film

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MARIACHI HIGH presents a year in the life of top-ranked members of Zapata High School’s championship ensemble Mariachi Halcon in the South Texas border town. This is an exuberant coming-of-age documentary about the brightest, most driven and talented Mexican American teenagers never seen on screen.

At a time when the Latino dropout rate is the highest nationwide, intolerance towards immigrants is growing and public school funding is being cut, “Mariachi High" turns a much-needed affirmative lens on teens who are pursuing excellence through a connection to their cultural heritage.

Beginning with the beguiling awkwardness of high-stakes band auditions, through dramatic competitions like the San Antonio Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, and through graduation, viewers will see the students moving from school to stage in fierce contests filled with the fire of musical virtuosity and traditional trajes de charro dress. Before the cameras, the students discover their own unique voices and the richness of a heritage they are learning to embrace. High school never sounded so good.

MARIACHI HIGH is a co-production of RubyLake, LLC, Latino Public Broadcasting and the Independent Television Service, and produced in association with Chicken and Egg Pictures.



A film by Kim Connell & Ilana Trachtman & Kelly Sheehan

Directors: Ilana Trachtman & Kim Connell

Producers: Ilana Trachtman & Kelly Sheehan

Executive Producer: Kelly Sheehan

Executive Producers for LPB: Sandie Viquez Pedlow & Luis Ortiz

Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer

Senior Vice President of Content for ITVS: Jim Sommers

Senior Production Manager for ITVS: Cheryl Hirasa

Co-Producer: Carol DeVoe

Director of Photography: Guy Mossman

Associate Producer: Candice Broda

Field Producers: Beth Miranda Botshon, Derek Gildersleeve, Guy Mossman, Mary Recine

Camera: Lee Daniel Roberto M. Garza Derek Gildersleeve

Additional Camera: Abel Alvarado Ruwan Perera

Sound: Alejo Ramos-Ariansen Joel Sadler

Production Assistant: Abraham A. de Luna

Additional editing: E.A. Bishop Assistant

Editors: Catlin Dinoski, Laurie MacMillan, Candice Broda

Still Photographs Provided by Bruce Fisher Photography, Texas Senate Media Services, Humberto Perez, Ashley Guzman, Jennifer Santos

Additional Footage Provided by Rodd Simonsen, Ironrodd Productions

Colorist: Robbie Carman, Amigo Media

Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer: Cheryl Ottenritter, Ott House Audio

Motion Design: Ian Robinson, SoftBox Media

Music Advisor: Laura Sobrino

Traditional Folk Songs “Alma Llanera” “El Fuereño” “El Cascabel” “La Petenera” “La Morena” “La Malagueña” “Los Laureles” "El Tren" "El Gavilancillo" “El Fandanguito” “Bonito Tacalitlan” “El Pastor”

“La Negra” arranged and recorded by Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa

“Tata Dios” by Valeriano Trejo Olguin courtesy of Peer International Corp.

“Popurri Bicentenario” by Jose “Chabelo” Longoria

“Guadalajara!” by Pepe Guizar courtesy of Peer International Corp. (BMI)

“Veracruz Bonita” by Marcos Garcia courtesy of Mariachi Guru Publications

“Amores con Falsete” by Benjamin Sanchez Moto courtesy of Peer International Corp.

“Estamos en Algo” by Cornelio Reyna courtesy of EMI April Music Inc. (ASCAP)

“Las Copetonas” arranged and recorded by Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa

Production Legal Services: Beigelman, Feiner & Feldman, P.C. Jordan R. Beckerman, Esq. Ben Feldman, Esq.

Translation: Lisa Friedman Morales

Transcription: Bryan Boylen Post Production

Interns: Jacqueline Baires - Diener Masiel Rodriguez-Vars

Major Funding Provided By: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund, Yip Harburg Foundation, American Electric Power, Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation and National Geographic’s All Roads Film Program.

Additional Funding Provided By: Karl & Ilene Marquardt, Gustavo L. Garcia, John & Jean Sheehan, Adele Bowler & Paul Rosen, Richard Campbell, Liz Celotto, Hannah Deutsch, Aida C. Garza, Barry Herzog, Pamela Jacobson, Leslie Kameny, Todd Lieman, Kelly & Mary Michel, Gary & Dana Stein, Adam Tobin, Nela Wagman & Steve Wein, Julie Winokur, Carol Ambruster, Deborah Arcoleo, Barbara Attie, Wendy & David Basset, Keayr Braxton, Andrew Jacobs, Marcia Jarmel, Barbara Attie, Veronica Garza, Gina Gerzberg, Jennifer Holt, Nina Lavin, Annette Lee, Andrew Levy, Rebecca Martinez, Dana McClure, Karen Mintz, Cathy Paulsen, Walter Paulsen, Aaron Posner, Kristin Reimer, David Simpatico & Robert Strickstein, Janice Shaw, Stephanie Singer, Anne Smith, Kevin & Kathy Sheehan, Brendan Yi-Fu Tay

Special thanks: Zapata County Chamber of Commerce - Zapata High School - Zapata Independent School District - Jose Ramirez III - Richard Carranza - Daniel Sheehy - Juan Flores - Texas State Senator Judith Zaffarini - Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen - Will Krueger – Holiday Inn of Zapata - Cynthia Munoz - San Antonio’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza - Joe Munoz - Mexican American School Board Association - Ray Santisteban - Kelly, Maeve, and Beatriz O’Keefe - Jonathan, Noa, and Eila Friedan - Dave, Rose, and Eliza Silletto - Joe Soliz - T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay - The Mariachi programs at: Austin Academy Cotulla High School, Edinburg High School, Falfurrias High School, Fox Tech High School, Hebbronville High School, Irving Academy, La Gloria Elementary School, Paschall Elementary School, Rio Grande City High School, Roma High School, San Marcos Mariachi Academy, Veterans Middle School, and the families of the Zapata High School Mariachi Program.

This program is produced by Rubylake, LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

Copyright 2012, Rubylake LLC


Zapata Chamber of Commerce --

Mariachi Music –

Mexican American School Board Association –

National Association for Music Education -

Americans for the Arts -

Texas State Historical Assoc page about Zapata - articles/hgz01



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