Local Actress Shaina Sandoval on Her First Film, Immigration Politics, and Her Future on the Silver Screen

The film, which is set to premiere in Phoenix next week, tells the story of a family caught up, separated, and fighting to find each other after their parents are arrested and detained for living in the country without documentation. 

We sat down with Sandoval to talk about her first starring role in a feature film. She discusses her experiences after the jump ... 

What made you want to get involved with acting initially? 

My mom's best friend used to own an agency. So, she just told me to try it, but back then I was just a dancer. So, we got my pictures done, and I got signed with an agent. I had three agents that I had picked, and I picked the smaller agency, and I've been with them for nine years. I did another movie with Stephen Baldwin called "Midnight Clear." I got to do national print campaigns like Wal-Mart, Denny's, commercials and print, so I love it.

How did you get involved with this film? 

I have an agent out in Texas, and I had an audition...A couple months after that, he called me and asked me if I had remembered auditioning...He told me that I had gotten the lead, and then I started freaking out, because it was the first time I'd be the lead in a film, so I was really, really excited.

Can you describe how you acted out the film's relevant and controversial immigration scenario?

I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and I lived there for 15 years ... I didn't know much about [immigration politics], so I definitely had to do my research on my character and knowing what the movie was going to be about and what happens when those situations happen. It was definitely very hard, and it's a sad subject.

Is there a particular film festival you're most excited for? 

I am excited for everything...I haven't gone to any of the film festivals yet, so I'm just so excited.

The Phoenix premiere is at 7 p.m. at the Montelucia Spa & Resort at 4949 E. Lincoln Dive in Scottsdale. Tickets for the premiere range from $50-150. For information on the premiere, visit Red Carpet Premiere website.

For more information, visit the film's website.

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