November 18, 2012, 6:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


Outside the Box [Office], Centro Español de Recursos en Los Ángeles/University of Southern California Spanish Resource Centre, the USC Libraries' Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, Spanish Undergraduate Student Association, and Pony Highway Productions invite you and a guest to a special screening of

Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart

Directed, Photographed, & Edited by Bill Yahraus
Produced by Robin Rosenthal
Score by Charles Gross
Featuring Escaramuza Charra Las Azaleas

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and members of Las Azaleas, moderated by SCA Professor Amanda Pope.
6:00 P.M. on Sunday, November 18th, 2012
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

As seen on “VOCES on PBS”

About Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart

Escaramuza: Riding from the Heart, the latest documentary from SCA’s Bill Yahraus and filmmaking partner Robin Rosenthal, is an intimate look at Las Azaleas, a gutsy team of Mexican American horsewomen vying to represent the U.S. at the National Charro Championships in Mexico, where “to be Charro is to be Mexican.”

Every weekend, at rodeos from Illinois to California, teams of young women climb onto sidesaddles in elegant charra suits or ruffled adelita dresses and weave their galloping horses through dangerous, high-speed ballets known as escaramuzas, from the Spanish word for “skirmish.” 

Rooted in the cattle culture of Colonial Mexico, Charrería blends the equestrian skills, handcrafted tack, elegant costumes, music, and food of that rich heritage into a living folk tradition. Between the men’s riding and roping contests, the female escaramuzas charras perform their perilous, precision horse ballets, bending and twisting their galloping reining horses around each other in intricate synchronized patterns, like weaving a hair braid at warp speed.

As they rigorously train to compete in Mexico, neither growing family obligations at home nor violence across the border can keep Las Azaleas from their goal. The documentary explores the ways their identities as first-generation Mexican Americans are shaped by the values of their traditional equestrian culture.

Provided courtesy of Pony Highway Productions. Not rated. Running time: 89 minutes.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.
To visit Pony Highway Productions facebook page, click here.


About the Guests

BILL YAHRAUS (Director, Cinematographer, Editor)

Bill Yahraus graduated from The Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania, and began his filmmaking career in San Francisco in the documentary unit at KQED. With fellow San Francisco filmmakers Michael Anderson, Paul Jacobs and Saul Landau he made documentaries collectively including The Jail, Song for Dead Warriors, and Robert Wall: Ex-FBI Agent. In Los Angeles, he formed Focal Point Films with Chris Burrill and David Davis, and made the award-winning Homeboys about the Cuatro Flats gang. In feature films, he edited for directors Richard Pearce and Sam Shepard (Heartland, Country, The Long Walk Home, Far North, Silent Tongue). Bill consulted on the Academy Award-winning documentary Broken Rainbow and edited The Samoan Heart for the Pacific Islanders in Communications’ Pacific Diaries series, and the human rights documentary Screamers. He teaches film production in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. 


Robin Rosenthal graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to Queens College, City University of New York for her Master of Fine Arts. She taught studio art at San Antonio College and the San Antonio Art Institute, and exhibited her video art throughout the Southwest, before moving toward documentary work. She edited Chamoru Dreams for Pacific Islanders in Communications' Pacific Diaries series, and the award-winning Mary Jane Colter: House Made of Dawn, both broadcast nationally on PBS. With filmmaking partner Bill Yahraus, she made the feature documentary A Circus Season: Travels with Tarzan (PBS) and the Eclipse-winning series On the Muscle: Portrait of a Thoroughbred Racing Stable. Robin also oversees a small niche market distribution arm for their company Pony Highway Productions.

AMANDA POPE (Moderator)

Emmy Award winning Director Amanda Pope's directing, producing, writing, and editing credits have focused on the dynamics of creativity in the arts. Her films Jackson Pollock Portrait, Stages: Houseman Directs Lear, and Cities for People have all been broadcast nationally on PBS.  The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club was honored with a 2010 Los Angeles area Emmy in the arts and culture/ history category; The Desert of Forbidden Art, which she directed, produced and wrote with Tchavdar Georgiev,has been broadcast in 2011 on PBS’ Independent Lens and honored with two nominations for the 33rd Annual Emmy News & Documentary awards, and CINE’s Masters Award for Excellence in Independent Filmmaking. She has served on the Boards of New York Women in Film and the Women in Film Foundation in Los Angeles. Amanda is a Professor in production at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.

About Las Azaleas

Las Azaleas, based in Riverside County and led by Sandy Torres and Maribel Gutiérrez, are one of the most exemplary escaramuzas not only in California, but in the United States. Helping to preserve the traditional equestrian culture of La Charrería brought here by their Mexican parents and grandparents, the members of Las Azaleas have been perfecting their skills in various team configurations for many years. Since forming Las Azaleas in 2005, they have dedicated themselves to excellence, winning California, Regional and U.S. National Championships many times over, and representing California and the U.S. at the National Charro Championships in Mexico. Their strong ties to the sport are reinforced by having brothers, husbands, fathers and grandfathers who have all competed in charreadas at the championship level. As culture bearers, Las Azaleas not only hold themselves to the highest standards, but have been actively involved in passing their tradition on to the next generation by bringing their daughters and younger sisters into the team, and coaching a team of “up-and-comers” as well.

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 5:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago