Filmmaker Visits Redlands

Bratt's film explores controversial issues

San Francisco-based film director Peter Bratt shared his insights on controversial social issues and how his own upbringing has influenced the lens through which he examines such topics at a free public screening of his 2009 award-winning independent film, "La Mission," Feb. 22 at the University's Orton Center.

Through the main character, Che, and his struggles with identity and exposure, the film explores masculinity, violence, dignity, and above all, transformation within a Chicano community in the Mission District of San Francisco.

When asked if this was a “coming out story,” Bratt shook his head. “A coming out story? No, it’s a ‘going within’ story.”

Bratt connected Che’s challenges with those faced by society at large, suggesting that the world itself is on a threshold of great change, and its citizens are challenged and encouraged to seek deeper intention and understanding.

“I took a traditional figure with a ‘get business done by kicking ass’ mentality and presented the character with a conflict he can’t fight his way out of,” Bratt said.

Filmed over just 24 days during the summer, "La Mission" was originally campaigned by word of mouth. The success of the movie was both striking and flattering, Bratt said, considering that 90 percent of independent films never make it out to the world.

Bratt’s brother, Benjamin Bratt, played the lead character and the youth featured in the film are first-time actors from the Mission District.

Peter Bratt studied political science, originally wanting to teach, until he took a film theory class his senior year of college that made him question his world. The class was taught by a feminist Marxist who explored gender, class, race, and other classifications of differences, which helped steer his interest in analyzing his people, his culture and that ultimately led to the production of this film.

“You start with the theme, and then everything builds from that,” Bratt said.

Story by Simone Larson '12
Video by Brent Hannify '10

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