THE STORY | la historia




On the night her father goes missing, Maria and her little brother Juan embark on a journey across the U.S./Mexico border in hopes of bringing him back home, but not without the guidance of three curious, yet meddling desert creatures.



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OUR VISION | nuestra visión


Para Ellos is an immigration story told with a dash of magic realism and live-action puppetry. Though our film embraces a use of fantasy, the core of the story was inspired by real events happening on and around the U.S./Mexico border today. We set out to tell a story about immigration to the United States, about this journey that many have taken before, but this time told through the eyes of a child.


We have always had a love for children's stories and bedtime tales. Peter Pan. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Jungle Book. All of these are stories about growing up and are centered around a child's adventure into the unknown. We really connected to the feelings of struggle and the lessons that these young characters learn along the way; we wanted to incorporate many of these same themes into our film. 

The story of Para Ellos is one that is very close to us both. When deciding what to focus our graduate thesis film on, we looked no further than to experiences of our own Latino culture. Growing up on the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, TX, I was very much interested, and in many ways familiar, with stories of immigration into the United States and about the struggle for the American dream. 


Our hope for this film is to generate attention to the human and societal issue of child immigration from Mexico and Central America into the United States. We, as a society, tend to see illegal immigration as just another 'political matter' and often think only about lost jobs, drugs, and violence. However, what we forget to think about are the people at the core of this issue, families and children alike. Para Ellos is our way of shedding light onto the somewhat unknown chapter of child immigration.

We are very fortunate and grateful for the support we have received from the San Antonio Film Commission/San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development, the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, the Irving Lerner Endowment Fund, and Skywalker Sound. Without them, we truly couldn't have made this film. We are also very thankful to all of our cast, crew, and our friends and family who donated their time and resources to help us make this film.


                                                       We hope you enjoy our bedtime tale.

Para Ellos | A USC Thesis Film

   AWARDS | premios


  • 2013 Student Film Project Grant, funded in part by the San Antonio Film Commission and the San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development. (2013)

  • Supported by a grant from the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, with additional support from the Sundance Institute/Time Warner Foundation Fellowship Program. (2014)

  • Recipient of the Irving Lerner Endowment Fund. (2014)


SCREENINGS presentaciones



Saturday, August 8th - SHORTS 1 Program, 7:30pm


El Paso Community Foundation Room

333 N. Oregon St, El Paso, TX 79901



Para Ellos will be screening at the Plaza Classic Film Festival as part of the festival's Local Flavors series. Admission is FREE. 





FILMMAKERS | los cineastas

Christian Contreras | writer, director, producer
Victoria De La Torre | writer, director, producer
Dustin Jacobs | producer
Will Jobe | cinematographer
Heidi Diederich | production designer
Erik Howell | editor
Jongnic Bontemps | composer
Andrew Peat | sound designer

CAST | los actores

Ingrid Rodriguez | Maria
Paco Flores | Juan
Andres Miranda | Papa
Maxine Greco | Abuela
Ray L. Perez | Tall Man
Oscar Garza | Agent Lucas
Sheila Korsi | Owl (voice)
Sean Burgos | Coyote (voice)
Sergio Rafael | Gila Monster (voice)
Art Vega | puppeteer
Amber Reeder | puppeteer

'Magical Flight' was composed by our amazing film composer, Jongnic Bontemps, and recorded in April 2014 with an exceptional 36-piece orchestra. 


We would like to thank Jongnic, the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, and the Sundance Institute/Time Warner Foundation Fellowship Program for their support through a grant that made our music possible.


You can learn more about Jongnic Bontemps at his website, www.bontempsmusic.net


Click on the SoundCloud link to the left to listen. Enjoy! 

MUSIC |  la música
GALLERY | la galería
Waiting for a Take
Making Footprints
Checking the Light Levels
Best of Friends
Rehearsal in the Desert
Treating the Canvas
Constructing the Set
Pick Ups
Video Village
Sound Break
Green Screen Flight
Discussing the Shot
ADRing a Line
Molding the Coyote
Framing the Shot
Paint Job
Redressing the Set
Placing the Puppet
Molding the Owl
Laying the Tile
Blocking the Scene
On the Flying Rig
Painting a Rock
Block Rehearsal
Shaping the Set
Creating the Desert
Adding the Color
Lighting the Scene
Recording the Voice
Framing the Scene
Clay Monster
Break Time

CONTACT | contacto

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Student produced at the University of Southern California - School of Cinematic Arts.