High school junior Alma Pantaleon arrives at her after-school work shift at a local South Los Angeles taqueria. Instead of tacos-and-burritos-as-usual, things get complicated when she finds herself stuck baby-sitting a former boyfriend’s younger brother, who’s no longer the “sweet little boy” she remembers.
Steve Bachrach was born in San Diego, CA, near the international border. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (Political Science) and later an Interdisciplinary Masters in Film and Fine Art from California Institute of the Arts. Steve’s subsequent trajectory as a writer-director took an unexpected turn soon after, when he was approached by Virginia Preciado, Principal of South-Central Los Angeles’ Jefferson High School, to establish a filmmaking program at the school. What he’d thought of originally as a short-term experience evolved into 17 years of inner-city art instruction and community activism, graduation rates double the rate of the school at large, 20 student films exhibited at The Sundance Festival, a few thousand quality relationships, and numerous awards. Steve also maintains a residence in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, where he founded an after-school program, “La Chozita”, for indigenous Mayan elementary and secondary school students in 1997.
“Dogs & Tacos”, a collaboration with former students Abraham Osuna, Ceindy Mata, and Carmela Perez, marks his return to full-time filmmaking. Steve is a Feature Film Program Fellow of the Sundance Institute with the upcoming feature project “Pueblo Venenoso”, also in partnership with Carmela, Abraham, and Ceindy. “Pueblo Venenoso” shares both protagonist and setting with “Dogs & Tacos”.
Several years ago, Carmela, Ceindy, Abraham and I began envisioning a comprehensive project aimed at depicting South-Central Los Angeles and its inhabitants in ways that defied existing stereotypes and depicted the vibrancy, resilience and creativity of one of Southern California’s most complex and historic neighborhoods.
Dogs and Tacos presents a fiery, ambitious, and responsible high school Junior, Alma Pantaleon, working at her after-school job, a process quickly interrupted by a visit from an ex-boyfriend, the after-effects of which radically alter the rest of her evening.