ackstreet to the American Dream is a bilingual documentary that explores the modern-day American Dream. This deep dive into the birthplace of the food truck revolution – Los Angeles – juxtaposes the experiences of American entrepreneurs and Mexican immigrants in the industry, and looks at how street food fosters racial tolerance. Indeed, central to the story are two very distinct enterprises: El Pescadito – a seafood truck that’s been parking at the same swap meet in South L.A. since 1982, and Grill ‘Em All, the prestigious first-season winner of The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network in 2010.

For Cleveland natives Chef Ryan Harkins and Matt Chernus, reality TV stardom quickly becomes overnight rockstar success! Fans flock to Grill ‘Em All on social media and line up at the gourmet burger truck all around town. Contrarily, Doña Guillermina Vella Rio crossed the U.S. border illegally in 1977 and does not use social media at all. She relies exclusively on blue-collar immigrants to sustain her seafood “lonchera” (food truck in Spanish).

Backstreet to the American Dream takes the audience on a journey not only through the history of L.A., but also through how deep-seeded legacies shape contemporary policies. You’ll consider pop culture and traditional values, formal and informal economies, and the ongoing struggle for social justice.

Additionally, a four-minute animation (in English/Spanish/and the indigenous Náhuatl language), scored with native sounds from handmade instruments, traces street food from El Pescadito in South L.A. back to Ancient Mexico and reveals many Náhuatl names still used for food to this very day, including guacamole, pozole, and tamale.


  • Patricia Nazario Director
  • Patricia Nazario Writer
  • Patricia Nazario Producer
  • Jules Rivera Illustrator Eisner Award winning Puerto Rico Strong (Lion Forge), Ringo Award winning Where We Live, A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas (Image Comics), Love, Joolz: Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl
  • Dolores Huerta Executive Producer The Issue Is, I Love You, America, Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan, Stuff Mom Never Told You, HISTORY Shorts: Dolores Huerta Organizes a Movement


  • Project Type: Animation, Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date: June 18, 2021
  • Production Budget: 100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Country of Filming: United States
  • Shooting Format: HDV, High Resolution
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Film Color: Color
  • First-time Filmmaker