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Roberto Sanchez Star Shines at Los Angeles Film Festival in “Lake Los Angeles” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elia Esparza, Special for the San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 19 June 2014 02:10

Small Form Films.

A Poignant Tale of Two Lost Souls Forced to Survive in the Unlikeliest of Places

Director Michael Ott’s “Lake Los Angeles” recently made its World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival to a packed Regal Cinema theater at LA Live to glowing reviews. Vying for Best Film in the Narrative Category, “Lake Los Angeles” so far is an audience favorite.

A touching and powerful story, “Lake Los Angeles” stars Roberto Sanchez as Francisco, and the young Johanna Trujillo as Cecilia – both who deliver exceptional performances. Eloy Mendez also stands out as the coyote whose primary job is to transport undocumented immigrants to a holding house.

After crossing into the U.S., 10-year old Cecilia (Trujillo) finds herself in the charge of Francisco (Sanchez) who operates a way station for border crossers on the outskirts of Lake Los Angeles, a surreal, desiccated lakebed in the California desert.

“Lake Los Angeles” examines the true value of the sacrifices made by many of those who make the North America trek in search of a better life. Little Cecilia and Francisco form a common bond as they both cope with the alienation of living alone in a foreign land among strangers.

Francisco, a middle-aged man, struggles with loneliness without his wife and sons whom he left behind in Cuba. His only salvation is the taped recordings he sends to his wife and anxiously awaits the arrival of her letters. Francisco desperately searches for self-forgiveness.

Cecilia survives because of her attachment to an imaginary friend, her companion being the “old man” in her treasured snow shaker—a metaphor to the desolate desert lake. Cecilia searches for a father who never comes for her and yearns for a safe and loving home.

For Sanchez playing the part of Francisco brought back many childhood memories.

“Unfortunately, working on this film brought back more pain than joy,” said Sanchez. “Although I have been truly blessed in my life journey, I see Francisco through my mother’s eyes. The separation of families is a sad, common reality. I witnessed my mother struggle trying to raise two boys in a new country and a new language. And, I watched as my father, who helped us obtain our Visas legally only to be held back by the Cuban government. I didn’t see him for 16 years. There were times during the shoot that were difficult for me. However, as with every painful tragedy in life, one can always find a silver lining.”

Director John Singleton discovered Sanchez in 2002 when he cast him as a co-star in “2 Fast 2 Furious.” Without any acting experience, he suddenly found himself working along side of Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and Eva Mendez. Fast forward 80+ projects to 2014 and Sanchez finds himself as the lead in “Lake Los Angeles.” He’s come full circle.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Sanchez grew up stateside in Miami’s well-known Cuban community “Little Havana.” He distinguished himself in the Navy as a Desert Storm veteran, was a Virginia Beach military police officer who eventually became a successful print model and eventually an actor.

“Lake Los Angeles” completes the trilogy of the director’s “Antelope Trilogy” films, which includes “Littlerock” (2010) and “Pearblossom Hwy” (2012). The L.A. Film Festival added a screening on June 19th, at 4:30pm at Regal Cinema, LA Live, Theater 13. For more info on "Lake Los Angeles," visit:

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 02:14