During the Austin Film Festival, I was able to view the documentary, Pepe Serna: Life is Art by first-time director Luis Reyes. I have known of Pepe Serna as an actor from films dating back to his career a few decades back. I was invited to meet him and conduct a brief interview in San Antonio right off the set of where he was working one evening. (I don’t have the details on hand, but it was a positive experience.) I have seen him in multiple roles in the films he has performed since then, so I was ready to view this documentary to learn more about Serna and his life. I found the documentary to be most informative as the filmmakers provide information from life in Corpus Christi, Texas (his birthplace) and the transition to life and work in California after he moved there. The film also includes several individuals who provide in depth knowledge of his life and work.
Someone may read the name Pepe Serna and have no idea who he is. But then, show them a list of films of varied genres and Pepe Serna’s name is included, and not just recently. A search done on his name resulted in rottentomates.com and under his photo is a listing of “Highest Rated Movies,” some photos and then the Filmography that lists a multitude of movies he has a role in, from one to be released in 2023, back to 1971 when he was in the film Red Sky at Morning. He was also in Car Wash (as Chuco), The Jerk, Scarface (buddy to Al Pacino’s character), American Me, Luminarias, The Black Dahlia, Man from Reno, Aguruphobia, Downsizing, and The Planters. This does not include the 24 television credits listed on their site. The bio on this site includes the statements “Serna made his acting debut in a Mexican production of “Hair” and it is not clear if this was done in Mexico, or in Texas. He was also a part of a theater group in the 1970s and “co-starred in the original production of the stage play “Zoot Suit.””
Among the individuals interviewed and share their knowledge of Serna are friends and associates including Luis Valdez, Edward James Olmos, Eva Longoria-Bastón, Cheech Marin, Gloria Calderón-Kellett and Robert Beltran.
Serna is an actor in director Eva Longoria Bastón’s film, Flamin’ Hot that is in post-production. Serna stars in the short film Abuelo (2022) directed by Kevin Derek and the feature film Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone. He also stars in the 2021 TV series, With Love.
The Pepe Serna: Life is Art documentary screened at the 2022 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and San Diego Latino Film Festival. As of this article, I do not have information on the release date on this documentary and will provide the details when notified. It is one not to miss when available.
Source: Austin Film Festival, Rotten Tomatoes, Fantastic Fest