Fresno State will honor award-winning producer Moctesuma Esparza  on the 20th anniversary of his film “Selena” during a fundraiser celebration at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Maya Cinemas located in Campus Pointe east of the campus.

Reservations for the private reception are $60 and include admission to a viewing of the film at 7 p.m. and movie treats. Proceeds will support students of the Dream Success Center at Fresno State known as Dreamers, young people brought to the United States as children and raised as Americans but living under threat of deportation. They are enrolled in college under The California Dream Act.

Selena event attendees can meet Esparza, who will speak briefly at the reception, which is cosponsored by Univision Fresno. Graduate music major Alejandra Tejeda will also present a special performance.

Esparza is an entertainment executive, entrepreneur and community activist who is also the CEO of Maya Cinemas, a chain of megaplex movie theaters that opened in Fresno in 2015. In addition to “Selena,” he is best known for his films “The Milagro Beanfield War” and “Gettysburg.”

“Selena” depicts the story of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, who was murdered in 1995 by her fan club president a couple of weeks before her 24th birthday. Her funeral in her hometown Corpus Christi was attended by 60,000 mourners.

Esparza’s 1997 movie release about the young singer’s life and her climb up Latino music charts starred Jennifer Lopez, launching Lopez’ now storied career, and actor Edward James Olmos.

Known as the “Queen of Tejano music,” Selena was one of the most celebrated Mexican-American artists of the late 20th century. She was the first female Tejano artist to win Best Mexican/American Album at the 1994 Grammy Awards and was poised to break through on the English-language music scene before her life was tragically cut short. Her final album “Dreaming of You,” was released posthumously in 1995 and debuted on Billboard 200 at No. 1, the first predominately Spanish-language album to do so.

“Selena has a strong following in Central California’s Chicano/Tejano community that has grown in the two-plus decades since her death and the movie that portrayed her rise to stardom,” said Gabriela Encinas, coordinator of the University’s Dream Success Center. “Moctesuma Esparza’s contributions to the movie industry include telling many Chicano community stories like hers. He is well known for his commitment to creating opportunities for Latinos everywhere.”

There will also be free festivities for the general public sponsored by Student Involvement from 5 to 7 p.m. at Campus Pointe (3090 E Campus Pointe Dr. on Chestnut north of Shaw) that will include dancing, a live singer, performances and Selena Look-a-like contest. Student tickets for the film viewing only are $6.

Earlier in the day, Esparza will meet students in a discussion moderated by Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez, a professor in Women Studies at Fresno State who is from Gregory, Texas, near Corpus Christi Bay and grew up following Selena’s music. She earned her doctorate in English/Latina Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

For more information, contact Yvette Angeles at 559.278.7137. For reservations:


Related links