Andrés Useche

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Andrés Useche
Andres Useche.jpg
Andres Useche
Background information
Born (1977-11-07) November 7, 1977 (age 40)
Origin Manizales, Colombia

Andrés Useche is an award-winning Colombian American writer, film director, graphic artist, singer-songwriter and activist.

Early life[edit]

Andres Useche was born in Manizales, Colombia where he published his first political cartoon, "Soy Libre", at age 11. In high school, he won the Colombian Ministry of Culture Individual Creation Prize in Graphic Arts with his graphic novel Vana Espuma ("Idle Mist"). Upon high school graduation Useche composed "Azul de Noche", a quintet performed by members of the Manizales Chamber Orchestra.


In the late 1990s, Useche also scored documentaries and wrote, directed, edited, scored and starred in Vana Espuma (1998), a 25-minute film adaptation of his graphic novel.[1] The film had a minuscule $100 budget but won the Best Fiction Film, Best screenplay and Best actress César Awards,[2] along with other nominations for Useche for Best Actor and Best Music.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Useche

After graduating as a visual designer with emphasis on Film from the Universidad de Caldas, Useche moved to the Los Angeles, California to work as a screenwriter, eventually becoming a United States citizen.

Andres taught screenwriting, film directing and editing in the university and international festival contexts.[3]

Director Peter Jackson with Useche

In 2008, in support of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Useche wrote, performed and co-directed in the viral video "Si Se Puede Cambiar", a Spanish language music video also directed by Eric Byler and Warren Fu, which debuted on YouTube on February 22, from the group United For Obama. On April 8, 2008, "Si Se Puede Cambiar" was chosen by YouTube to represent Obama in the first ever "Trendsetter Tuesday". The video was featured on the main page of the site along with videos about the other remaining US presidential candidates. "Si Se Puede Cambiar" quickly reached over 400,000 views and maintained a rating of 4/5 stars, beating the scores for the Hillary Clinton and John McCain videos. The video had been watched in 193 countries. Versions of the video with subtitles in German, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Arabic have also been released. Subsequently, Andres directed another music video, this time singing in English, to support Barack Obama during the general elections. With United for Obama, he collaborated on several other voter-outreach videos aimed at different minorities.

Through 2008 Andrés gave television, radio and newspaper interviews in which he promoted Obama's campaign. [4]

Useche sings at Obama Inaugural Gala

On December 29, a live TV news program reported Andrés Useche had been tapped to sing at the Presidential Inaugural Ball and Gala "We The People" at Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2009.

Andres was also confirmed to perform at The Latino Inaugural Gala to be held at the Hall of the Americas / The Organization of American States (OAS) across the street from White House grounds on January 19, 2009.

On September 9, 2009, a 96.3 FM Colombian radio special featuring an Andres Useche career retrospective, mentioned Useche's stated intention to direct another film in Colombia.

In 2010 Andrés Useche directed The Cove:"My Friend is..." in which he joined forces with Oscar-winning producer Fisher Stevens, Lina Esco, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rudd, Naomi Watts, Courteney Cox, Mariska Hargitay, Woody Harrelson, Jason Mraz, James Gandolfini, John Leguizamo, Evan Handler, Rob Morrow, Tamlyn Tomita, Carrie Ann Inaba, Chris Tashima, Russell Simmons, James Kyson Lee and Richard Kind among other talented artists.

Useche with actress Jennifer Aniston

Andres also worked as composer, co-writer and co-editor on the project.[5]

In response to the passing of Arizona SB 1070, Andres Useche wrote and recorded the song "Marching into the Light". On May 19, 2010 he traveled to Phoenix, performing the song and joining marches protesting the law. Images from the rallies and subsequent travels around the country appear in the music video for "Marching into the Light",[6] also directed by Andres and dedicated to the memory of Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, two recently deceased DREAM Act activists from UCLA. Andres also took to the airways speaking on various TV news programs to denounce what he felt was racial profiling implicit in the law and called for compassion, unity and comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.[7] The Obama administration also opposed Arizona SB 1070 and the bill was blocked at the federal level. Republican Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, who had been the architect of the controversial senate bill, was voted out of office in a special recall election.

In 2010, Andres continued live performances of "Marching into the Light" supporting immigration reform efforts and the stand against SB1070.

Andres continued pushing for immigration reform in the United States and wrote the song "Dream to Belong" in direct support of the DREAM Act.[8] He first performed the song at the Dream Alliance State Wide Summit in Austin, TX on Saturday, January 28, 2012. A week later, a short clip of the song was broadcast for the first time during a lengthy interview Andres Useche gave to a radio station out of Denver, CO.[9] Useche defended the DREAMers throughout the interview and contrasted Barack Obama's support for the legislation with the Republican position against it.

Throughout 2012 Andres also aided DREAM Act organizations, sang in support of immigrants in the U.S. and backed efforts which culminated in the Obama administration's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) initiative which grants deportation relief and work permits to the undocumented youth.

The music video for Dream to Belong[10] shows Andres Useche, activists, DREAMers and politicians campaigning for the DREAM Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform around the country.

The video also includes cameos by immigration Reform allies such as President Barack Obama, Senator Dick Durbin, congressman Luis Gutiérrez, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, political satirist Stephen Colbert, golden globe award-winning actress Claire Danes, actress and activist Rosario Dawson, civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, singer Shakira, talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, Representative Raul Grijalva and many more.[11]

The video also documents Benita Veliz' participation at the Democratic convention, the first time in history that an undocumented person was invited to address a national political convention.

DREAMers and activists singing along with Useche can also be seen protesting the 2012 candidacy of Republican Mitt Romney who had vowed to veto the DREAM Act if elected President. The signs they are seen holding in the video read "Veto Romney, not the DREAM Act".

The video was released ahead of the first 2013 legislative session to support the push for Immigration Reform. Andres Useche was one of the "voices ranging from members of Congress to nationally recognized advocates" that participated in "Embracing Our American Values" a pro-Immigration Reform carnival celebrated on the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[12]

Useche speaks at the White House.

Andres Useche spoke at the White House in support of Immigrant Rights, DACA and immigration reform.

During Earth Day 2015, Useche wrote an environmental song called Lo Que Vamos a Dejar / What We Leave Behind, and directed the music video which was later released in support of #ActOnClimate and President Barack Obama's #CleanPowerPlan, an effort to protect the environment.[13]

In 2016, Still Here, a film written, directed, edited and scored by Andres Useche won an award for excellence at an Internacional Human Rights film festival. The award was given "for outstanding efforts in digital storytelling and for courageously fighting to increase equality, freedom of speech, eradicate discrimination, and to protect human rights to all people".[14]


External links[edit]