La Mission (film)

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La Mission
Film poster
Directed byPeter Bratt
Written byPeter Bratt
Produced byBenjamin Bratt
Peter Bratt
Alpita Patel
StarringBenjamin Bratt
Jeremy Ray Valdez
Max Rosenak
Erika Alexander
Jesse Borrego
CinematographyHiro Narita
Edited byStan Webb
Music byMark Kilian
Distributed byGlobal Cinema Distribution
Release dates
  • January 19, 2009 (2009-01-19) (Sundance)
  • April 9, 2010 (2010-04-09) (United States)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryUnited States

La Mission is a 2009 drama film starring Benjamin Bratt and Jeremy Ray Valdez. It is written and directed by Peter Bratt (Benjamin's brother).[1] The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and screened at various festivals, including the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It received a limited release beginning April 9, 2010.


Che Rivera is a reformed inmate living in the Mission District of San Francisco. A recovering alcoholic and bus driver by day, Che is respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and toughness. His hobby of building beautiful lowrider cars also makes him a beloved figure in the community. Che has raised his only son Jesse, a studious teenager, on his own since the death of his wife. Che faces challenges to his personal values when he discovers Jesse is gay.


  • Benjamin Bratt as Che Rivera
  • Jeremy Ray Valdez as Jesse Rivera
  • Erika Alexander as Lena
  • Jesse Borrego as Rene Rivera
  • Talisa Soto as Ana Rivera
  • Alex Hernandez as Smoke
  • Max Rosenak as Jordan
  • Cesar Gomez as Gummy Bear
  • Chris Borgzinner as Nacho
  • Gustavo Gus Gonzalez as Primo
  • Neo Veavea as Kenny
  • Cathleen Riddley as Shell
  • Marcus Serralta as Chuy
  • Tatiana Rivas as Nadine


Writer-director Peter Bratt said among the challenging aspects of the film's production was raising financing, as he and brother Benjamin were told "more than a few times that 'the gay thing' had already been done and was now passe," referring to films and TV shows like Brokeback Mountain and Will & Grace.[2] "In short order, what these people were saying was that the white experience is the universal one. When we tried to explain how much of a social taboo homosexuality remains in many communities of color, the reaction was often one of disbelief," said Bratt.[2] The brothers could also not get support from the Latino and Native American communities, where homosexuality is also still considered taboo.[2]

Bratt considered filming the movie in New Mexico, where tax rebates allow for productions to be filmed relatively inexpensively. He ultimately settled on San Francisco's Mission District, saying, "In my mind it's one of the most unique American neighborhoods in the country and it has a dynamic that I don't think you can duplicate anywhere else. And the character of the neighborhood kind of informs the story."[3]

The film was shot in 26 days.[2]

Environmental impact[edit]

Several scenes in the movie make subtle hints at environmentally friendly themes, such as converting lowriders to run on biodiesel.[4] The film was also shot on an eco-friendly movie set, one of the first of its kind in San Francisco.[4] The cast and crew eliminated the use of water bottles and used composting on set, while the art department allowed for green product placement in the film.[4] La Mission subsequently earned an Environmental Media Association (EMA) Green Seal Award in 2009 as the result of their production practices.[4]


Film festivals[edit]

The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[5] It went on to play the festival circuit and was the opening night film at Outfest LA,[6][7] the New York International Latino Film Festival,[8] San Francisco International Film Festival,[9] and the Artivist Film Festival.[10] It also screened at the Independent Film Festival Boston,[11] Austin Film Festival,[12] Philadelphia QFest,[13] American Indian Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.[14]


The film opened on April 9, 2010, in New York City and Los Angeles and on April 16 in San Francisco.[4] The DVD was released on August 10, 2010.[1] A soundtrack, Songs of La Mission, was released by Round Whirled Records.[15]


Critic Roger Ebert gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, writing the "story is told earnestly and with some force" and the filmmakers' "hearts are in the right place, but the film tries to say too many things for its running time."[16] Ebert noted "La Mission is forthright in avoiding easy answers", but he also felt the screenplay needed to give the characters more complexity.[16] In contrast, James Greenberg of The Hollywood Reporter opined the Bratt brothers "capture the conflicts of the Latino community in which they were raised."[17] Greenberg added the film is "an honest attempt to portray the destructiveness of violence in the Latino community."[17]

In a positive review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten wrote the "film oozes with location detail and a knowing sense of Latino culture."[12] Baumgarten praised Benjamin Bratt's acting and added, "Peter Bratt’s script occasionally wallows in its melodramatic aspects but is, on the whole, an empathetic portrait of a man who struggles to work past his gut reactions."[12] Latino media credited the film as being both authentic and genuine to various aspects of Latino American cultures.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2010, La Mission received three Imagen Awards in the categories of Best Feature Film, Best Actor for Benjamin Bratt, and Best Supporting Actor for Jeremy Ray Valdez.[18]

At the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards, La Mission was nominated for Outstanding Film - Limited Release.[19] It was also nominated for a Dorian Award for LGBTQ Film of the Year.[20]

La Mission also received the award for International Human Rights - Best Feature at the Artivist Film Festival,[21] and the Audience Award at the OUT Film Festival Connecticut.[22] It received an Estela Award from the National Association of Latino Producers.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "La Mission Movie Review & Trailer". Archived from the original on January 27, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Peter Bratt, "La Mission": Patriarch, Homosexual and Change". IndieWire. January 4, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  3. ^ Moore, Omar P.L. (January 12, 2009). "The Mission of Peter Bratt". The Popcorn Reel. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Selman, Lauren (June 9, 2010). "La Mission Opening Weekend". HuffPost. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  5. ^ Stein, Ruthe (January 16, 2009). "'La Mission' directed, acted by Bay Area Bratts". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  6. ^ Kay, Jeremy (June 2, 2009). "La Mission, Dare bookend LA Outfest 2009". Screen Daily. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  7. ^ King, Susan (July 9, 2009). "Outfest lands at the Orpheum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  8. ^ "Dolores". USC Cinematic Arts | School of Cinematic Arts Events. September 7, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  9. ^ "La Mission (2009) Awards & Festivals". MUBI. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  10. ^ "La Mission Opens the 6th Artivist Film Festival Dec. 1, Festival Dates and Program Announced". PR Web. October 22, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  11. ^ "Independent Film Festival Boston 2009". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c Baumgarten, Marjorie (October 29, 2009). "Austin Film Festival: 'La MISSION'". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  13. ^ "QFest Films For Guys". July 8, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  14. ^ "Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Unveils its 2009 Lineup". October 5, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  15. ^ "la Mission". Round Whirled Records. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  16. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (July 7, 2010). "He loves his son less than his prejudices". Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  17. ^ a b Greenberg, James (January 26, 2009). "Film Review: La Mission". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  18. ^ "Winners of 25th Annual Imagen Awards Announced". Imagen Foundation. August 15, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  19. ^ "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees 2011". GLAAD. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  20. ^ "Award Watch 2011 :: the Dorians revealed". Edge Media Network. January 20, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  21. ^ "6th Artivist Film Festival Announces Artivist Award Winning Films for 2009". PR Web. November 24, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  22. ^ "Winners of 23rd Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Awards Announced" (PDF). OUT Film CT. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  23. ^ "Director Peter Bratt and Sundance Film, 'La Mission,' Come to Campus". May 19, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2022.

External links[edit]