ANECDOTE: Amexicano Protagonist is a McAllen Native

39
L-R: Carmine Famiglietti, writer and actor of Amexicano with Raul Castillo. Blue-collar, Italian-American from New York meets Mexican immigrant in this tale of friendship, race and contemporary working-class life. Desperate for a job, good-natured Bruno (Carmine Famiglietti) lands a gig in construction and landscaping. At first, he looks down on the Mexican day laborers “working the corners” on Northern Boulevard. But then he gets to know Ignacio (Raul Castillo) and his wife Gabriela. Despite language barriers and prejudice, a friendship slowly blossoms between the two. Exploring the complex issues of economic anxiety, racism and culture in a way that is at once insightful yet charming, Amexicano manages to both embrace the human condition and cast a powerful eye on what can divide us.
L-R: Carmine Famiglietti, writer and actor of Amexicano with Raul Castillo. Blue-collar, Italian-American from New York meets Mexican immigrant in this tale of friendship, race and contemporary working-class life. Desperate for a job, good-natured Bruno (Carmine Famiglietti) lands a gig in construction and landscaping. At first, he looks down on the Mexican day laborers “working the corners” on Northern Boulevard. But then he gets to know Ignacio (Raul Castillo) and his wife Gabriela. Despite language barriers and prejudice, a friendship slowly blossoms between the two. Exploring the complex issues of economic anxiety, racism and culture in a way that is at once insightful yet charming, Amexicano manages to both embrace the human condition and cast a powerful eye on what can divide us.

By Roberto Hugo González

As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition July 2018

On December 2008, Texas Border Business ran this article about a movie premiere. The participation of one McAllenite made the film more important. Raul Castillo a McAllen native was one of the protagonists of the film, needless to say, the whole town attended. Castillo has continued his actor’s career with much success.

Castillo was born in 1977 in McAllen, Texas. He is an actor, known for We the Animals (2018) and his latest film Seven Seconds video streaming since February 2018 on NETFLIX.

Original article starts here:

The Rio Grande Valley is a very lucky area, this weekend the acclaimed independent film Amexicano premieres at Cinemark movie 17 in McAllen. Director Matthew Bonifacio and writer Carmine Famiglietti’s “Amexicano” is the story of an Italian-American and a Mexican illegal immigrant form an unlikely friendship in Queens, New York.

- Click on this ad for a new STC offer -

Bruno (Carmine Famiglietti), is lazy, out of work and late with his rent. When an opportunity for work comes along Bruno is hesitant because it involves hiring undocumented day laborers on street corners.

He is convinced it is not safe and sure enough the first guy he hires is Diego (Manny Perez), a fast-talking hustler who could be dangerous. It’s not until Bruno hires Ignacio (Raul Castillo) and meets his wife Gabriela (Jennifer Pena) that his attitude changes despite language barriers and racial prejudices.

Raul Castillo was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. His parents Raúl Humberto Castillo, Sr. and Adela Rodriguez de Castillo, they own and run Castillo Customs Broker in Hidalgo, Texas. He attended Our Lady of sorrows elementary and graduated from McAllen High School.

Castillo decided to be an actor at an early age. “I acted throughout my high school years in McHi’s Drama Department and played in several local punk bands,” he told Texas Border Business. He was accepted into Boston University’s School for the Arts to study theater as an undergraduate and that solidified his future.

He said that he moved to New York City in 2002 and quickly was immersed into the world of professional theater and film.

Carmine Famiglietti and Matthew Bonifacio, the filmmakers of Amexicano called Castillo from Miami. At which time, they were auditioning Jennifer Peña and offered him a role in the movie.

Castillo recalls that this was after 4 or 5 callback auditions. At one point in the process, he had already resigned from the idea of getting the part.  “It was a true surprise,” he stated.

After he got the part he said, “I remember, after I hung up with them, running around in public screaming at the top of my lungs like a madman – I knew my life was going to change for sure!”

Which parts of the movie do you like the most?  “I am child of immigrants and the byproduct of a true American Dream, so I am partial to the element of the film that treats immigrants with compassion and exposes us as the hardworking, family-oriented people that we really are,” he stated.

He pointed out that the film is incredibly funny, his co-star and the writer of the film, Carmine Famiglietti, is a pure comic genius and enjoys listening to audiences laugh with them.

Castillo recognizes that acting is his life. By this point, he has a manager and has worked with several agents already.  “I am constantly looking for new roles and opportunities, whether in film or theater,” he said. He knows the business is competitive; however, he feels that he has a unique talent and will continue to foster it.

Amexicano was his first feature film and proved to be a huge boost for his career.  “I feel proud and lucky to be part of it – it has already opened so many doors for me,” Castillo stated to Texas Border Business.

Texas Border Business is republishing important articles written in the past. Raul Castillo’s article is one that we need to preserve. A native is making it big in the movie industry. Congratulations!