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The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘Blood In Blood Out’

Event brings campus and Eastside community together
Xavier Zamora
The Television, Film and Media Studies department hosted a celebration of the 30th anniversary of ‘Blood In Blood Out.’

The Television, Film, and Media Studies department hosted the “Blood In Blood Out” book release published by Hat & Beard Press, along with a film screening to celebrate the 30th anniversary. 

TVFM students at Cal State LA had the opportunity to sign up to volunteer to experience a movie industry event and explore the industry, giving students the chance to network. Not only did current students attend the event but many alumni as well.  

“The movie shows a great representation of the different life choices someone can make. It depends on what actions and choices you make that lead to a domino effect of the rest of your life,” said Genevie Sanchez, a third-year TVFM major.  

Sanchez was one of many TVFM students who signed up to volunteer during the event. Her peers, first-year Serena Tapia and Adelaide Cruz joined her. 

“I grew up watching this movie. I can relate a lot to the film, especially with my guy cousins,” said Karina Arriaga, a Cal State LA alumna.

Fans from all around came together to observe, some even traveling from Texas like Toni Gurra who said that she flew to Sacramento and drove down to Los Angeles. 

“It was the first movie that I saw where I could actually relate to certain things in certain situations, the neighborhoods and the gangs,” Gurra said. 

Dedicated fans waited in the rain to meet the cast. Fans stood in the rain for almost an hour and a half to be able to get posters signed, VHS tapes and pictures with their favorite cast member. 

The Blood In Blood Out Day festivities included: meet and greets, signing autographs, a line reading contest for fans and a screening of the film with a bonus poem reading by Jimmy Santiago Bacca whose true life experience influenced the film. 

People standing in a room with other people sitting at two tables, with actors signing autographs.
Premiere attendees wait in-line to get autographs from ‘Blood In Blood Out’ cast members. (Xavier Zamora)

“Cal State LA had 2,543 registered tickets. All attendees registered through Eventbrite,” said Public Relations Consultant  Katherine Moore. 

Blood In Blood Out was initially released as “Bound by Honor” on April 28, 1993. 

“At the time[of its release], not that many people saw [the movie] but it’s sort of interesting through the years that I was surprised [by] the reaction to it. It really talks about family, and it talks about heritage, and it talks about sort of the cultural history of East L.A.,” said Merrick Morton, Set Photographer of “Blood In Blood Out”.

The film follows three family members, Miklo Velka (Damian Chapa), Paco Aguilar (Benjamin Bratt) and Cruz Candelaria (Jesse Borrego), over the ‘70s and ‘80s in East L.A. Miklo, Cruz and Paco are part of a fictional street gang, the Vatos Locos. After disputes with a rival gang, Tres Puntos, the cousins’ lives take different directions.

“It’s like a cult classic, and especially with the culture here in L.A.,” Ivan Toribio said. 

Ten people posed together in front of a step and repeat.
Cal State LA faculty pose with members of the ‘Blood In Blood Out’ cast at the university’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex. (Xavier Zamora)

His sister, Lisette Toribio, who is a Cal State L.A. alumna, added that their father works at Los Cinco Puntos—a restaurant located at 3300 E Cesar E Chavez Ave in Boyle Heights. The restaurant can be seen in the film where Miklo has his first tamale in Los Angeles and always gets asked about it all the time. That is one of many iconic locations seen on film on the Eastside. The siblings said they used the film to relate to students and discuss life decisions. 

The Toribio siblings are not the only siblings that attended, Robert Alcala and Raymond Gonzales cheered the film for its representation of an authentic Chicano experience and gang life. 

Alcala applauded the film and said he would put the film “up there” with “The Godfather” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, adding that if there were a four or five-hour version of “Blood In Blood Out,” he would watch. 

“I was like 5 years old when it came out,” Robert Alcala said. “When I saw it with him [Robert’s brother], they were doing drugs. I didn’t know what it was until he told me about it. I was like, okay, now I know to stay away from that.”

“Blood In Blood Out” is acclaimed for its representation of the Chicano community on the Eastside. In 1993, Director Taylor Hackford won a Best Director Award at the Toyko International Film Festival for the film.

Danny Trejo, a well-known Chicano actor who plays Geronimo in “Blood In Blood Out,” served five years in jail for drug-related crimes. 

“We have to do more movies like ‘Blood In Blood Out’ that show the negative side [of gang life],” he said. I won’t work on a film that doesn’t have Latinos, period. You look at my films, you always see Latino. That’s just part of my deal.” 

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About the Contributors
Leslie Magaña Arias
Leslie Magaña Arias, Senior Multimedia Reporter & Magazine Editor-In-Chief
Leslie Magaña Arias is a reporter for the UT and Editor in Chief of the UT Community Magazine. She is a vegan and a human rights activist who enjoys doing investigation pieces and features on underrepresented communities.
Xavier Zamora
Xavier Zamora, Production Manager & Senior Multimedia Reporter
Xavier Zamora is a fourth-year TV, Film, & Media and Journalism double major. When he's not writing a bio for himself, he enjoys getting dark-humor memes from his kids and attending concerts. He still hasn't discovered the ever-elusive nap.

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