Efrain Gutierrez, an alumnus of Edgewood High School class of 1966, is celebrated as a pioneer of Chicano Cinema with his groundbreaking 1976 movie “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive/Por Favor No Me Entierren En Vivo.” The film, which explored the struggles of a young Chicano in the 1970s amidst the Chicano Movement, was a commercial success and garnered $300,000 at local box offices. Renowned in both Chicano theatre and film, Gutierrez has made significant contributions as an activist, director, and actor. Among his works, Amor Chicano es Para Siempre/Chicano Love is Forever and Run, Tecato, Run. Gutierrez had become the first Chicano to make a feature-length film, one of the first independent filmmakers to show his films in first-run theaters, and he’d broken Azteca’s monopoly over Spanish-language theaters in the U.S.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas A&M University, alongside an Associate Degree in Applied Science (Multimedia) from Northwest Vista College.

Continuing his influential work, Gutierrez focuses on producing documentaries that highlight Chicano history and incite change, holding a firm belief that filmmaking serves as a powerful form of expression and activism, particularly for Chicano/Mexican American filmmakers.

For his extensive achievements and profound representation of the film industry, the Chicano community, his alma maters, and the Edgewood area, Gutierrez has received vast recognition. Not only has he been acknowledged locally and globally within film and music entertainment sectors, but his steadfast advocacy for justice inspires students and professionals alike.
The Academy of Motion Pictures in Hollywood has also recognized Gutierrez for his cinematic contributions. Moreover, he was one of seven inducted into the 2024 Edgewood ISD Hall of Fame this year. This is a testament to his enduring impact on the arts and activism.

Currently, Gutierrez’s latest venture involves promoting a documentary on Gus Garcia, which he directed. The documentary screening aims to gather donations for the construction of a monument honoring the noted activist and lawyer in San Antonio’s Market Square.

If you would like to contribute to the effort, donations can be mailed to Gus Garcia Memorial Statue Fund Inc., c/o Placido Salazar, 214 Parkview, Universal City, 78148.