Private Project

Alta California

Inspired by a spring-break trip south of the border, a young Mexican immigrant looks for a better life in the one place he knows he will find it: back in México.

  • Andrés Taboada
  • Andrés Taboada
  • Israel Vasquez
    Mufasa: The Lion King, The Underground Railroad, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Andrés Taboada
  • Patricio Amerena
    Buddy Thunderstruck, Robot Chicken
  • Alejandro de la Torre
    Key Cast
    "Carlos Villaseñor"
    La Rosa de Guadalupe, Mi Corazón es Tuyo
  • Corbin Dean Porter
    Key Cast
    "Austin Mitchell"
  • Ashley Crenshaw
    Key Cast
    America Votes, Santa Clause Is Coming to Town
  • Abram Cervantes
    Key Cast
  • Aida Kohn
    Key Cast
  • Andrés Taboada
    Key Cast
  • Colin Devane
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Dramedy
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 3 minutes
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Mexico, United States
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    United States
    November 10, 2023
    Florida Premiere
    Winner: Male Directorial Debut
  • SModcastle Film Festival
    Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
    United States
    October 15, 2023
    World Premiere
    Nominated: Best Drama Feature, Best Dramatic Actor (Alejandro de la Torre)
  • Saint Augustine Film Festival
    Saint Augustine, Florida
    United States
    January 11, 2024
    Winner: Spotlight Film
  • Chandler International Film Festival
    Chandler, Arizona
    United States
    January 21, 2024
    Southwest Premiere
    Nominated: Best Latin Feature, Best Actor (Alejandro de la Torre)
Director Biography - Andrés Taboada

Andrés Taboada was born in Perú, where he stayed until a scholarship sent him off to finish high school in Germany. After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Biology in California, and working as a teacher in Southeast Asia, he eventually came back to the States, and Miami is where he performed stand-up comedy for the very first time while pursuing a Master's in Education. Andrés now lives in Los Angeles, where he won the Funny and Foreign-Born Showcase at the Glendale Comedy Festival. He also won the award for Best Comedic Actor at Miami WebFest and was a finalist at the World Series of Comedy. He has since turned his focus towards his first feature film, a bilingual dramedy called "Alta California," which he wrote, produced, and directed.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Back in the early 2000s, while I was living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant, a relative offered me a job in Mazatlán, Mexico. I didn’t take that job, but I always wondered what it would have been like to leave my family behind to pursue that opportunity. Carlos, the protagonist of "Alta California," gets to go on that journey.

I often describe Alta California as a “backwards immigrant story.” Carlos is a former Mexican aristocrat, now-undocumented college student living in Orange County. He longs for the privileged life he once had in Guadalajara and keeps his immigrant status a secret in fear of being grouped with “those other Mexicans,” as his relatives would put it. A spring-break trip to Rosarito with Austin, his politically-incorrect American sidekick, provides the perfect opportunity to head south of the border, go out with a bang, and bid farewell to the struggles of a life he never wanted.

As with many microbudget films, the making of this movie was as eventful as the movie itself. From the production crew being held up at gunpoint, to our only mode of transportation breaking down in the middle of the desert during an unexpected flash flood, getting this movie to the finish line is something we are very proud of.

Shot all over California and the Northern Baja Peninsula, Alta California is a bilingual dramedy primarily about privilege. Latinos in the United States are often portrayed as the victims of discrimination, but this movie explores the social divide within the Latin community itself. Carlos goes back to a more modest, rural Mexico he’s never known before, meets the people he has looked down on all his life, and rediscovers his own culture and sense of self in a treacherous journey he never saw coming.