Jornada Al Norte is a film that hits close to home. When I was growing up, my parents always told me how they tried numerous times to immigrate to the U.S.

They finally broke through in the summer of '82, a year before I was born. I often wonder what my life would've been like if my parents hadn't had the resiliency to make it to the U.S.

What compels someone to continue to get up after they keep falling down? I have the utmost respect for my parents, for their valor and the way that they raised me.

I knew I wanted to tell this story of bravery, but I also wanted it to be as realistic as possible, because for every family that makes it to the U.S. there are thousands more with heartbreak endings. This story had to be told, and I'm proud that I'm able to tell my family's side of it.

Originally, the story began in El Salvador with a backdrop of the civil war that plagued the nation for over a decade. My co-writer, Matthew Harding, and I tried to make the civil war come to life. Though I wanted to show the brutality of the war, I also felt this tactic would take the audience away from the point of the story.

There have been many versions of Jornada Al Norte , but in every one is the portrayal of courage and struggle for a better future. Finally, we chose to stick to what was going to make this film connect with the people, and that was the human aspects of the story.

Jornada Al Norte took us on an unforgettable journey, no pun intended. It was shot over five days in the wretched heat of July.

There were times when the film was very close to not being completed. Financial issues were of great concern and held the film back for quite some time.

We were finally able to start shooting, wrapping up principal photography only to get trapped in post-production. The fact is, no matter how many times we stumbled, we just kept fighting to complete this film.

Just like with any project, though it may seem like we went through hell, truthfully, these experiences are what make filmmaking such an adventure. These are the tales you tell years down the line. Making films wouldn't be half as exciting if things always went as planned.

Everyone worked very hard on this project and is currently helping to get the film out there. After nearly a year of blood, sweat and tears, we are very pleased to present, Jornada Al Norte .

Jornada Al Norte will screen at the Silver Lake Film Festival at 9:30 p.m. on May 8 at the Los Feliz 3 (1822 N. Vermont Ave.,?Los Angeles). For more information on the fest, visit . For more info on the film, visit