About the Film
“Chilangos in the House” is part of a larger video biography of Leo Cervantes, a well-loved chef and restaurateur in Highlands, New Jersey. “Chilangos” are people from Mexico City, like Leo. Chilangos is also the name of Leo’s restaurant. I made this film to help Leo tell his remarkable life story. Leo wants to use his story of struggle and success to encourage his family, friends and fellow immigrants to persevere through hard times. With a background in independent documentary and international human rights, I make video biographies to help people capture and share their life stories.
An Interview with Carol Cassidy
I’m especially excited about the festival’s potential to reach an audience of local people who may already recognize Leo and love his food – without knowing his story of struggle and triumph. Leo is well-loved in our community for his generous spirit. For example, after hurricane Sandy, Leo brought his Chilangos team to the high school, and, day after day, created beautiful, nourishing food for all the storm refugees sheltering there. Because he is known as cheerful and energetic, people may not know that Leo has deep personal experience of poverty, homelessness and loss. Leo’s story plays well locally, and it is also a universal story about an immigrant’s dream of opportunity.
The one-minute film is a model for bringing passionate attention to our brief, finite, intense life.
In addition to being a great match for a summertime, outdoor, diverse crowd experience, One Minute Films are perfect for on-line viewing. They command intense attention – but only for a moment. They’re the right bite size for the way we live now: busy, distracted, overwhelmed with media bombardment, and in need of a splashing dash of spiritual refreshment.
I love helping people from all backgrounds capture and share their life stories. I love to discover the extraordinary courage, passion and grace in a so-called ordinary life.