Feature Length Trini Lopez Documentary Premieres This Week At AmDocs2021
(The Hollywood Times) 3/22/21 – The life of Trini Lopez, a groundbreaking Mexican American recording artist, guitarist, and actor, is chronicled in the film My Name Is Lopez. The feature-length documentary is world premiering as the opening night gala at the 2021 American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (AmDocs2021) in Palm Springs, CA this Thursday, March 25. The film, directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (House of Cardin; Mansfield 66/67; Dear Mom, Love Cher), was produced by Joan and Gary Gand whose Gand Band backed Lopez during the latter part of his life in Palm Springs, his adopted hometown.
Link to view My Name Is Lopez trailer:https://youtu.be/AwAJF0cg_8s
My Name is Lopez includes never-before-seen archival performance footage of the singer whose biggest hits including “If I Had A Hammer,” “Lemon Tree,” “La Bamba,” “Michael (Row Your Boat Ashore)” melded folk music with rock and Latin elements, paving the way for the folk-rock movement of the 1960s. Ebersole and Hughes conducted a series of extensive interviews with Lopez, significant portions of which are seen in the film, a fortuitous circumstance in light of his tragically succumbing to COVID-19 this past summer at the age of 83.
My Name Is Lopez features new interviews with fellow Texan and ZZ Top founder Billy F Gibbons, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, Dionne Warwick, NFL legend Jim Brown, who is portrayed in the current hit film One Night In Miami, as well as actor Donald Sutherland, singer Tony Orlando and others. The film includes excerpts from Trini’s last ever live concert performance with Billy Gibbons lending a musical hand and backing from The Gand Band. The concert was introduced with a candid on-stage Q&A hosted by Vintage LA and Spectrum TV’s Alison Martino that is also part of My Name Is Lopez.
The first son of undocumented Mexican immigrants, Trinidad Lopez III grew up in Little Mexico, a black and Mexican ghetto in Dallas, TX. Early in life he picked up a $12 guitar and started on the path that would lead him to international stardom. Undaunted by the endemic prejudice of the time, Trini Lopez refused to change his name to “pass” and landed at PJ’s, a hip Hollywood nightery where word spread of his phenomenal talent. Ultimately, Frank Sinatra, a PJ’s regular, was so taken with Trini’s crowd-pleasing abilities that he signed him on the spot to Reprise Records, his fledgling record label.
In 1963 Reprise released the live album, Trini Lopez, at PJ’s that included a rocking adaptation of Pete Seger’s folk song “If I Had a Hammer.” The “Hammer” single reached #1 on record charts in 36 countries bringing stardom to the kid from the Dallas barrio.
Trini Lopez went on to score 13 U.S.chart singles and became one of the country’s top nightclub performers, taking folk music electric a year before Bob Dylan plugged in. Trini performed for a month in Paris on a bill with the Beatles and regularly headlined in Las Vegas, where performers of color were not allowed to sit and drink in the very places they played. An honorary member of the Rat Pack during a time of insidious racism in America, he shared a complicated relationship with Sinatra, his lifelong friend, and mentor. Sinatra secured him a co-starring role in the WWII adventure film The Dirty Dozen. The big break into acting was nipped in the bud when Sinatra used his influence to have Trini’s character “killed off” in the second act to get him back on the concert circuit to rescue his failing record label.
The world premiere of My Name Is Lopez on March 25 at the Mary Pickford Drive-In marks the opening night of AmDocs2021 which includes two encore screenings of the film on March 26 and March 27 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center Drive-In. The film is also available to view at home any time through the Docs Now+ platform as well as over 200 other films for the 10-day virtual festival for $35.88, including a 12-month subscription to Docs Now. Click https://docsnowplus.com
About Ebersole Hughes Company
Filmmakers P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes producing and writing efforts have been featured on HBO, Showtime, IFC, and VH1. The duo’s directing credits have been seen on Fox Television, Sundance Channel, Lifetime and indie features, shorts, and music videos. Features include the documentary Hit So Hard, about drummer Patty Schemel of Courtney Love’s seminal grunge band Hole. They are Executive Producers of the IDA award-winning Room 237 that premiered at Sundance and was an official Director’s Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival. They created Lifetime’s award-winning Dear Mom, Love Cher about Georgia Holt, mother of international superstar Cher and Mansfield 66/67, the legendary story of Jayne Mansfield’s fateful last two years. House of Cardin, their critically acclaimed authorized feature documentary on the life and career of design icon Pierre Cardin, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and swept the CineFashion Film Awards, taking trophies for Best Directing, Best Feature Fashion Film, Best Cinematography, and the Life Achievement Award for its subject. Transcending the pandemic with a bonafide space-age release, it played theatrically worldwide and can be found on premium streaming services.