Private Project


After being rescued by a stern vaquero on the streets of East LA, gay goth skater Fernando must put an end to closeted young love, leading to personal transformation and a newfound connection to familia. A coming-of-age drama, EL PAISA bridges disparate Latine subcultures to celebrate unifying notions of family, heartache and Queer identity.

  • Daniel Eduvijes Carrera
  • Daniel Eduvijes Carrera
  • Miguel Angel Caballero
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    El Paisa
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 5, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    60,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • OUTFEST Film Festival Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    July 15, 2023
    World Premiere
  • Long Beach Q Film Festival
    Long Beach, CA
    United States
    September 16, 2023
    Audience Award, Jury Special Mention
Director Biography - Daniel Eduvijes Carrera

Daniel Eduvijes Carrera is an accomplished voice in American Latine filmmaking. His work has screened at the Tribeca, Guadalajara, Morelia, Huesca and Los Angeles Film Festivals, at numerous art museums and on international television broadcasts. He is the winner of the Imagen Foundation Award, Top Prize winner in Ovation TV’s “Search for the Next Revolutionary Filmmaker” and was recognized as Best Latino Film Director by the Directors Guild of America Student Film Awards.

Daniel received the National Hispanic Foundation for Arts and National Association of Latino Arts and Culture film grants, won the Djerassi Artist Residency Award for screenwriting, is a fellow of the Produire au Sud Program in France and a fellow of Film Independent’s Project: Involve. Daniel belongs to the elite group of Fulbright Scholars in Film (Mexico/USA) and was honored with the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute Media Arts Fellowship. His latest films, THE FIRES OF SOLEDAD and EL PAISA were granted the Latino Public Broadcasting Media Content Fund and will be featured on PBS channels. Daniel’s debut feature screenplay, INVOKING JUAN ANGEL was awarded the SFFILM/Westridge Screenwriting Grant and is currently in development.

On top of his directing work, Daniel was Creative Producer and Casting Director on the multiple award-winning documentary WILDNESS (Outfest, SXSW), which explores the Latine Transgender community in Los Angeles. He also serves as a screenplay analyst for clients including ABC/Disney, Starz, NBC/Universal and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for whom he has read and evaluated nearly 3,000 feature length scripts with an emphasis on Latine, Queer and Horror genre films. Daniel has taught film courses at Columbia University, has led workshops for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and also mentored new generations of minority filmmakers as a Teaching Artist in Residence through the Tribeca Film Institute.

Driven by stories that reflect his Queer and Mexican immigrant identity, Daniel achieved highest honors in Film Studies and English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, studied Cinema and Mexican Culture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship for an MFA in Filmmaking from Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts.

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Director Statement

I will never forget entering a gay vaquero bar for the very first time and seeing my Tio Luis––a macho cowboy from the sierras of Durango––dancing arm-in-arm with another man. I had never seen anything like it. I had never even pondered the possibility of it. I will never forget entering that gay vaquero bar and seeing what I saw because frankly, after that moment, I would never be the same again.

As the youngest son from a farm-and-factory-laboring immigrant family of nine, I grew up in the United States always coming home to rural Mexico––a bucolic land of memory, Catholicism and gendered traditions in which homosexuality simply did not and could not exist. I arrived at adolescence dancing cumbia and quebradita, wearing cowboy boots and learning to master the guitar so I could perform at Sunday mass. I arrived at adolescence overcome by Cholo culture, barrio gang violence and the constant concern of so many relatives landing in prison. But I also arrived at adolescence burdened by a shameful secret I couldn’t quite make sense of and which, as the time went by, forced me further and further into a lonely place of fear, shame and vigorous introspection.

It has been noted that homosexuality is the only minority group one isn’t born into. As a Mexicano, I could turn to my father, mother and numerous siblings to gauge how I might overcome the cultural difficulties of living in an unfamiliar country. Queerness, on the other hand, meant complete and utter isolation. There was nobody I could turn to with my anxious questions, no built-in community, so my burgeoning homosexuality became antithetical to my Latine culture. Queerness and Latinidad were mutually exclusive, it seemed, thrusting me into a crisis of identity at a woefully young age.

You can imagine, then, my complete shock when I entered my first gay vaquero bar only to find my beloved Tio Luis in the arms of another man. But as I approached the dance floor, I came to realize that, despite the same tejana, the same handlebar mustache and the very same portly build, this wasn’t my Tio Luis after all. No, as I drew closer and the gay vaqueros spun upon the dance floor, they were also mi padre, mi primo, mi padrino. For the very first time in my life I witnessed vaqueros––the veritable embodiment of masculinity to which I was always taught to strive–– participating in queer culture. They were all so strikingly familiar, so much like the men I knew and loved that being at that bar suddenly felt like home.

My mind spun with swift jubilation, ushering in a truly transformative moment. Unexpectedly, I found myself encouraged to embrace both my queerness and my Latine heritage as equally integral parts of myself. EL PAISA examines this singular experience and how it empowered me to finally claim my own intersectional and multicultural Queer identity––an identity that continues evolving to this very day and which enables me to thrive in an increasingly complex world.