Alba Roland Mejia - Writer|Director|Producer
The film takes place in East Salinas--a predominantly Hispanic community located within Salinas, California. Salinas was once a big dust bowl town, home to famous American novelist John Steinbeck. In the 1980s, the town experienced a growing influx of Mexican immigrants. Many of these immigrants settled in the east side of town (known today as “The East Side”), with both cultural and economic forces further splitting up the city. In recent times, the East Side has garnered a negative perception due to its poverty and rampant gang violence. In a 2016 expose, Vice Media named it “The Youth Murder Capital of California”.
The film follows Oscar, Jacob, and Ivan-- 3 men who were born and raised in East Salinas and attended Alisal High School together. In the past, a lack of resources, experience, and players had made Alisal a laughingstock of a football team. That was until Coach Sunil Smith arrived and turned the culture around. In 2010, the boys’ junior year at Alisal was documented by three filmmakers who wanted to capture the recent winning tradition of Alisal’s football program.