Wilmer Valderrama on Tapping Into the Immigrant Story for ‘Blast Beat’

Sundance 2020: “We’ve been talking about this for a second and I think it’s been an ongoing conversation in Hollywood,” Valderrama tells TheWrap’s Steve Pond

Wilmer Valderrama and the cast of “Blast Beat” dropped by TheWrap Studio at Sundance to discuss the coming-of-age immigrant story that unapologetically confronts the reality of growing up between cultures.

“We’ve been talking about this for a second and I think it’s been an ongoing conversation in Hollywood,” said Valderrama. “I feel like there’s a major urgency to try to tap into the immigrant story.”

“From a border story, to an immigrant story, as universal as they may be no matter what your origin is, it all ties into something and I think that Hollywood is understanding that there is an urgency to tell the stories. But also as urgent as it is, it is also critical to champion the ideas that really tap into the conversation, that the opinion can be of the audience,” added Valderrama.

“I’m Colombian, my parents are Colombian, and they emigrated from Colombia,” said co-star Diane Guerrero. “I was excited to see that on-screen because we never get to see that and I was just hoping that this was sort of be the beginning of more stories that that can be told.”

“Blast Beat” is the feature debut of writer/director Esteban Arango and the film takes place on the cusp of the year 2000, as Colombian brothers Carly (Mateo Arias) and Mateo (Moises Arias) prepare to move to the United States for their last years of high school. Metalhead Carly has his heart set on attending the Georgia Aerospace Institute and working for NASA, while his supportive parents (Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama) seize the chance to escape the political turmoil in Colombia and chase the American Dream. At first, Mateo is the only one to express any cynicism, but when the reality of their new life sinks in, the family struggles to adapt as their expectations are shattered. When events threaten to derail their future, Carly’s dream becomes his only lifeline.