Thousands of fans and film aficionados converged at Cal State LA on Jan. 20 for the 30th anniversary celebration of Hollywood Pictures’ epic crime drama Blood In Blood Out.
The celebration featured the release of a limited-edition book from independent publisher Hat & Beard Press on the making of the film. The film, which was screened during the event for the first time since its 1993 release, focused on three young men and their different life paths.
“The Blood In Blood Out 30th anniversary book ties into so many things we do in my department and in the College of Arts and Letters: poetry, prison education, photography, art, and of course cinema,” said Kristiina Hackel, chair of Cal State LA’s Department of Television, Film and Media Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. “We were thrilled to host the event, to celebrate Chicanx culture and to recognize the importance of this classic film, here in the heart of East L.A. with our students and our community.”
Coauthored by Academy-Award winning director Taylor Hackford, screenwriter Jimmy Santiago Baca, on-set photographer Merrick Morton, and the late Chicano artist Adan Hernández, the book chronicles their deeply personal journey to bring Blood In Blood Out to the screen. It features a forward by groundbreaking Chicano writer and director Luis Valdez.
“After producing La Bamba, I became obsessed by a passion for Chicano culture and Blood In Blood Out became my epic filmmaking journey into that world,” said Hackford. “I could never have managed without the close collaboration and friendship of Jimmy Santiago Baca, who had actually lived this story. Together we forged a creative partnership which became one of the strongest of my career.”
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Baca, who spent five years in prison as a young man, taught himself to read and became a poet while he was incarcerated. Widely published today, he is the recipient of the American Book Award and the Pushcart Prize among many other honors. He said, “I learned how to write to praise the beauty of my people.” Inspired by the film, Baca’s new poems are featured throughout the new book.
During the Saturday event at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on the Cal State LA campus, attendees had the opportunity to listen to a poetry reading from Baca, meet members of the cast, participate in a book signing, and enjoy watching the film on the big screen.
The day’s program included remarks by Cal State LA President Berenecea Johnson Eanes and Stephen Trzaskoma, dean of the university’s College of Arts and Letters.
In addition, there was a special presentation by Hackford and members of the original cast on the making of the film and the story behind the book.
Cast in attendance included Benjamin Bratt (Poker Face; Miss Congeniality), Jesse Borrego (Fame; Con Air), Danny Trejo (Machete; Heat), Raymond Cruz (Training Day; The Closer), Enrique Castillo (Weeds; Déjà Vu), Daniel Vasquez (who served as warden of San Quentin State Prison from 1983 to 1993), and many others.
Also at the milestone event were members from the filmmaking team: composer Bill Conti, costume designer Shay Cunliffe, stunt coordinator Gary Davis, one of the lead make-up/tattoo artists Freddy Negrete, and associate producer Gina Blumenfeld.
Photo: A limited-edition book on the making of “Blood In Blood Out” was released during the film’s 30th anniversary celebration at Cal State LA. (Credit: Xavier Zamora)
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.