Author:Almanza, Lorenzo

Moctesuma Esparza, founder of Maya Cinemas, has a long history of activism. Starting at a young age, his parents instilled in him the responsibility to raise your voice. To this day, he continues committed to bringing to "transforming the image of Latinos".

"Lights, camera, action" are the most infamous words to have come out of any movie producer. Moctesuma Esparza's motto goes beyond the traditional elements of any movie director.

"What I'm committed to is making a difference in the lives of all the people in my life and having compassion for myself and other humans," Esparza said.

The grace and sympathetic attitude of the Latino movie director, was rooted into him at an early age. At a young age, Esparza became exposed to the harsh reality of life and the injustice that comes with it. "As I grew up, I became aware of the social inequity and particularly, clearly in education, which kept our community from making progress," Esparza said.

In March of 1968, the Hispanic leader took par in the powerful high school walkouts staged in Los Angeles, California. Soon after, a number of walkouts began to take place as change was begged from students. "How could I be free if everyone else in my community is not," Esparza said.

His determination to make a difference in society propelled him to become one of the most successful Latino movie directors. "My entire life was preparing me to be a movie producer," Esparza said. In high school, the Latino difference maker was an all-around student. He was a singer, musician, actor and part of his school's student government.

After high school Esparza enrolled at UCLA, having the mindset that he would become a political activist. "I was a history major," Esparza said. It wasn't until one of his professors convinced him to rethink his career. "He said I was looking at it completely wrong," Esparza said. "That I was a producer and producers get people to do things and organize."

Esparza's love for leadership and change helped him see things in a new perspective. He soon after, "ended up at film school at UCLA."

"Since I loved storytelling and I loved the arts I made a commitment then to use this new skill set," Esparza said. "A commitment of lifelong focus on transforming the image of Latinos and exploring of what it is to be human in storytelling."

The idea of everyday struggles and its connection with the Latino community was presented to him at a young age. Esparza's father played a significant role in the...

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