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El Campo actor makes "Homebound" movie

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
July 27, 2011 at 2:27 a.m.
Updated July 29, 2011 at 2:29 a.m.

With only a few minutes of sunlight remaining, a film crew shoots the independent film "Homebound" in a field of sunflowers in Danevang on Wednesday. Writer-director Fanny Veliz, left, calls out "action," while the director of photography Amza Mughal and grip Jesse Maldonado aim a camera and reflector at actor Enrique Castillo.

EL CAMPO - Jeremiah Ocanas returned to his Texas roots to film the movie "Homebound."

And just like his character, "Richard Lynn," he has come full circle.

"In all great stories you have, you end up at home somehow," he said.

The concept hit the El Campo native while he was stuck in a Los Angeles traffic jam.

The film's protagonist, Richard, leaves his thriving corporate lifestyle upon his estranged father's request. Gilberto wants his son to take over the family bar. However, Sunnyside Saloon brings gloomy memories to the lead character. It is the same place where his mother was killed.

During his journey, Richard mends relationships and rediscovers his childhood hometown.

Ocanas met with screenwriter Fanny Veliz for almost a year to work on the script.

The true-to-life movie has a universal theme, but with a Latino cast. Veliz wanted to break away from stereotypical roles.

The Venezuelan director said roles for minorities have been limited, historically.

"Instead of waiting for roles, I created them," she said.

Veliz's big dream was challenged by small funds. However, she used social media to receive individual donations through crowd funding.

The budget for the motion picture is $150,000. Criolla Films still needs financial assistance for the film's post-production costs.

Enrique Castillo heard about the film from the hills of Hollywood. He lent his time and talent to the project.

The Screen Actors Guild nominated actor said the quality of his role as Gilberto surpasses the compensation.

Castillo, who had a recurring role in the television show "Weeds" and starred with Denzel Washington in "Deja Vu," said he appreciated the Texas-sized hospitality. "It's like a family affair."

The cast comes from California and even Venezuela. But the El Campo community made the dream of "Homebound" become a reality.

"If I wanted to do it in L.A., I wouldn't be able to. The community has been so supportive and excited," Veliz said.

People have donated their time, food, lodging and transportation.

Ocanas' life has been enriched by the community support. And being able to serve his hometown is its own reward.

The father of two wants to expose local children to the arts because there is no community theater.

Ocanas has lived in Los Angeles for the last seven years, but he misses everything about El Campo. For him, each visit home just gets better.

"A lot of people go that full circle. They've brought back what they've learned. And I feel like I'm on that journey as well."



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