Filmmaker Tim Viola’s short film AMERICANO to compete as part of this year’s Oscar-qualifying short Dances With Films Festival

Jesus Figueroa

Film confronts immigration issues when a refugee stands up for justice risking deportation

Filmmaker Tim Viola will show his most recent narrative short film "AMERICANO" at the 22nd Annual Dances With Films at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood on June 16 in the 5 p.m. screening block.

"Americano" follows Isaac, a Syrian refugee and hacker, on the eve of deportation as he finishes a job in exchange for promised citizenship by a firebrand politician.

After discovering the true motive behind the offer, Isaac must decide either to run or take a stand.

Exploring themes around patriotism and equal rights of immigrants, the film is inspired by F.D.R.’s quote: “Remember always that all of us ... are descended from immigrants and revolutionists” and the rising nationalism across the U.S., Viola asked himself “What if the immigrant and the revolutionist were the same person? I set out to explore what it could be like where the most powerful person in the room was the dreamer with everything to lose instead of the white establishment in a suit exercising privilege over purpose.”

The film stars Adam Budron, Rick Schneider and Melody Vargas. Budron, the son of Palestinian refugees, most recently appeared on "THE BACKLIST."

Schneider was a lead actor in the award-winning films "ACCOUSTIC SPACE" and "MEDEA" both screening at Cannes and recently wrapped the first episode, as a lead, on the TV pilot "CAPER Vargas," an accomplished stage actress, and has performed at the Hudson Guild Theatre, NY Fringe and TADA! Theatre, among others.

The film is produced by Kris Mendoza, who, since 2005, continues to produce narrative films, documentaries and short form content in addition to corporate/commercial projects.

Executive Producer Kevin Frakes joined the crew as a godfather to the project, helping secure funds to move into production.

Frakes is the producer of more than 45 films including: "COLLATERAL BEAUTY," "HEREDITARY" and "GLASS AND CATCHER WAS A SPY."

Over his 15-year career, Frakes has secured development and production capital for motion pictures and other media content.

Viola has been shooting film since he was 10 years old and shot his first feature at 17 over a summer.

After graduating Temple University’s Film and Media Arts School, Violaworked for QVC and NBC, taught himself to write more than 15 scripts and made several short narrative films that have played at regional festivals.

He’s currently writing and directing short personal narratives and directing strategy for brand content at Fortune 500s.

Dances With Films will run June 13 – 23 at the Chinese 6 in Hollywood.

The final lineup will feature more than 200 titles, chosen from a record 2,200 submissions from all over the globe.

The juried narrative competition section includes 16 features and more than three-dozen shorts. 

DWF also has a category for groundbreaking short and feature documentaries, provocative genre fare in the Midnight section, and the most exciting music videos and dance-themed films from the indie scene in the Downbeats section.

The Fusion section brings together a multitude of additional features and shorts.

Notable Dances With Films alumni who first gained notice at the festival include Gina Rodriguez, Bryan Cranston, Jesse Eisenberg, and John Hawkes, among many others.

Tickets and passes will be available for sale at

Additional screening and ticket information can also be found at

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