From Scarface, Car Wash, and Downsizing, Pepe Serna has been in over 100 movies, 300 television shows, and now he is telling his own story in the documentary Pepe Serna: Life is Art.
Premiered on the opening night of the 29th San Diego Latino Film Festival, the one-hour documentary about the life and career of the veteran supporting actor was told through his own words.
“This is the story of my life. I've been an actor since I was three, and it's a 74-year journey getting here,” Serna said.
The film was directed by Luis Reyes, who wanted to tell a Latino story that wasn't submerged in stereotypes.
“We wanted to do his life story because we don't all come from the barrio. We come from nice families, beautiful families. The Latino experience is very diverse, and it's not synthesized into drugs or anything like that. Pepe comes from a good family, and he's somebody who decided to pursue his dreams,” Reyes said.
The documentary featured Eva Longoria, Edward James Olmos, among others who spoke about Serna, and his contribution as a trailblazer for Latino actors.
“Pepe is a registered bonafide artist and people collect his artwork as well. The way he dresses the way everything that he does, the way he talks, is all about art. We can all learn a lot from him,” Executive Producer David Damian Figueroa said.
The documentary is part of a three-day tribute to Serna that will include screenings of Raíces de Sangre and Man from Reno.
Serna was an activist in the Chicano movement in his earlier days, has been acting in a wide variety of roles since the 70s and ’70s. With his documentary aired at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, Serna acknowledged the need for Latino representation on the big screen.
“We need to know every one of your stories because every story is important,” Serna said. “We are 18 percent of the population and only 5 percent are in film or television. That is just not right. I don't know what it is that way, but it is. Our public needs to make a lot of noise and show us that they want to see our stories,” Serna said.