"OK, a word about Fiesta: What you're hearing is the official party line. Don't believe the hype. Fiesta is 10 days of San Antonio raza getting drunk, partying - all the while oblivious to the fact that they're actually celebrating Davy Crockett stealing Mexico from their ancestors.

Over 216 official events crowd the week-and-a-half calendar in almost every section of the city. Sounds egalitarian, I know, but highlights of Fiesta include these rich guys from an all-white, men's-only, so-called social club crowning one of their own King Antonio. All week long, King Antonio gets official police escorts, as they drive from place to place, handing out cheap medals. And sometime during the week, one of the rich white guy's daughters is crowned queen in a dress that costs over $30,000.

Again, no raza allowed. And did I mention all this in a city over 60 percent brown?" — Amalia in Speeder Kills

"Contains energy and enthusiasm to burn, brimming with attitude..." -- Variety

"Ortiz narrates a satiric yet ultimately fond tale of middle-class Latino culture, the politics of the art world and academia..." -- Santa Barbara Independent 

"Spirited and proud, Mendiola's movie-a-clef is a celebration of do-it-yourself ingenuity and community identity, and even makes room for a parade hijacking modeled on Ferris Bueller's Day Off." -- 2003 LA Film Festival


Speeder Kills

Starring Amalia Ortiz, Xelina Flores, Melissa Flores, Kat Perez, Brian Lieb

Written and Directed by Jim Mendiola (2005 LPA Fellow)
Produced by Faith Radle
Edited by Jim Mendiola and Spencer Parsons
A BadAss Pictures production, 2003
                  84 minutes


Winner of the "Visionary Spirit award" at the Sacramento Festival of Cinema
Selected by SiTV (Dish 159) for their Not So Foreign Filmmakers Showcase
Selected for the prestigious Narrative Competition at the LA Film Festival


Que Viva Rock and Roll: Speeder Kills

Reviewed by Alison Fraunhar

The Santa Barbara Independent, april 15 2004

Of the fascinating and rarely seen films featured in the Latino CineMedia Festival, [this] offer surprising and refreshing insights into the enduring power of rock and roll, and film, as media of communication, self- and cultural expression, rebellion, and activism.

Speeder Kills deftly blends documentary and fiction filmmaking as it relates the symbolic hijacking of the Fiesta (a San Antonio tradition honoring the conquest of the Alamo by Anglo settlers) by a local Chicano punk-metal band and their videographer, a young Chicana video artist named Amalia Ortiz (played by the real-life Amalia Ortiz). Ortiz narrates a satiric yet ultimately fond tale of middle-class Latino culture, the politics of the art world and academia, San Antonio civic boosterism, folk art, and MTV; the film reserves a sharper critique for the idea of Chicanos celebrating the mythology of the Alamo. It is a witty and delicious meditation on art, culture, and identity.


Reality Redefined

CineFestival explored not stereotypes, but complexities and nuances of Latino culture

By Gilbert Garcia

San Antonio Current, February 27 2003

Mendiola's new film, Speeder Kills, had just made its world premiere at the 26th annual CineFestival, only hours after he had finished editing it. The movie is a fictionalized documentary within a documentary, in which a local Chicano punk band called Speeder disrupts the annual Fiesta celebration by dressing as parade queens, hijacking a float and bashing out the Runaways' "Cherry Bomb" to confused parade watchers.

In the world of Speeder Kills, Fiesta is a bad joke, every bit as absurd as Miss Togar's disciplinary policies in Rock & Roll High School: a media hypefest in which moneyed Anglos convince Latinos to celebrate the fact that 19th-century, coonskin-capped frontiersmen took Texas away from Mexico. You could sense the conspiratorial exhilaration in the packed theater every time Speeder mercilessly mocked another Fiesta tradition.

So it wasn't a shock that the one post-screening comment from a Speeder audience member wasn't really a question, but a declaration. "Thank you," the viewer emphatically said, "for telling the truth about Fiesta."

The Speeder screening brought into focus one of the best things about CineFestival: the way it offers stories from the inside, for an audience that understands the references. While it shouldn't necessarily be such a remarkable thing to see Latinos depicted as complex and contadictory, it's still a novelty in 2003...

"CineFestival is important for Latino filmmakers because you get it," [Jesse] Borrego said. "The Raza in San Antonio always gets it. You're the sounding board for what we want to represent to the rest of the world"...