Born and raised just 8 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles RICHARD MONTES brings a unique, personal and highly spiritual vision into his work. The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Richard learned the power of storytelling from his Mexican born father, who would entertain the children daily with tales and stories, even after working long graveyard shifts.
By the time Richard turned 13 years old, he had already witnessed firsthand and felt the residue effects of Police Brutality, Racism, Murders, Drug Addiction, and Gang Violence, that captured many of his peers. During his high school years, many of Richard’s friends were murdered, yet Richard was able to dodge the pitfalls and traps to remember, document and create change in his life.
After witnessing the shooting death of his cousin and with each friend day by day landing in prison, Richard felt a need to document his upbringing, so he kept a written record of his childhood, with an attempt to eventually tell the stories of the lost and forgotten.
Despite living in a low income neighborhood where his mother often worked two jobs just to pay the rent, and he himself began working at the age of 12, Richard would become the first member of his entire family to enter an university going to Cal State University Long Beach, where he earned a BA, and then to Chapman University where he earned his MFA in Film Production, with an emphasis in Directing.
As Richard was finishing up his master’s degree and working on his debut documentary film “Pass The Mic!” his biggest supporter, older brother George, who funded the film by working 6 days a week, was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Richard would complete “Pass The Mic!” as a dedication to his brother.
“Pass The Mic!” eventually received national home video distribution from Image Entertainment, screened at Arclight Cinemas for the American Film Institute’s Music Doc Series, garnered great reviews from top music magazines and newspapers, and publicly screened around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
Since then, Richard has directed several short films, which have had over 30 film festival screenings, including the two time film festival award winning short Toci: A Mexica Tale.
Against all odds, one of his proudest moments occurred when he and partner Jade Puga formed Safada Y Sano Productions, LLC. Safada Y Sano Productions, LLC was born from two individuals with similar very low income upbringings, showing the world it is possible to move beyond tragedies and hardships to excel.
Richard has directed music videos (several airing on MTV Spanish networks and Mun2/Telemundo) and a few commercials. He has also written for two hip-hop publications, directed for the stage, completed his first novel, written feature length scripts and a dozen short stories.
Richard has been interviewed in magazines/ newspapers, radio stations in Los Angeles, and in television segments. His films were reviewed or appeared in over 25 magazines/newspapers and television shows, including two segments on FOX 11 news. On the web, his worked has screened over 350,000 times.