About us

Dancing Bear Pictures was founded in 2005 by director Patricia Riggen and Cinematographer Francesco “Checco” Varese, and most recently joined by producer Sofía Riggen.


Based in Los Angeles, CA. DBP is a production company with a mission to create a vibrant new  cinema that respects the origin and cultural identity of the stories we want to tell.


As Latin Americans living and working in the US, we understand the idiosyncrasies of both worlds. Our multi-cultural background makes us believe that we have a unique skill set to produce work that is appealing to both, Hispanic and English speaking audiences.


Our development slate is varied in terms of genre and format, from children theme projects, to commercials, documentaries, TV shows and fiction feature films. In each case our focus is to bring to life compelling stories, create emotional connections between our work and the spectator and represent captivating human characters.


In DBP we know how to develop and produce quality material, but most of all we know how to make stories that people will want to watch, both in the cinema and at home.

Our Team

Patricia Riggen

Checco Varese

Sofía Riggen


(Director of Photography)


Our Projects

Fiction short film "La Milpa" (The cornfield)

Synopsis: This cornfield is the only land they have left. That's why the peasants have decided to take the Virgin to their field, hoping her presence will bring the miracle of rain. Angela, reminisces over her youth during the Mexican Revolution, a time when myths, sensuality, war and pain were everyday occurrences.


Screened in over 30 International film festivals

Received 20 awards

Student Academy Award

Mexican Academy Award for Best Short Film

Student Emmy and the DGA’s Best Latino Student Filmmaker


Acquired by HBO for television broadcast in the US



Short documentary "Familiy Portrait"

Synopsis: In 1968 Gordon Parks wrote an article for Life Magazine on race and poverty in the United States. For his story, Parks photographed the Fontenelle family, a disenfranchised African American family of twelve living in extreme poverty in a small Harlem apartment. The American public’s response to the Life photo essay was so great that Parks worked with the magazine to purchase the family a home on Long Island. In Patricia Riggen’s moving and insightful documentary, Richard and Diana, ­­­­­­the only surviving members of the family, render their own family portrait as they recount the challenges the family faced. Through interviews with Richard Fontanelle, Diana Nash and Gordon Parks, we meet two survivors in a family that has struggled confronting the social obstacles of racism, poverty, addiction, and AIDS, problems that have ravaged Black communities nation-wide.


Screened at numerous festivals collecting many awards

Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival '05

Best Documentary Award at the Aspen Short Film Festival


Feature film "La Misma Luna"

Synopsis: "La Misma Luna" tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again. Riggen’s film is not only a heartwarming family story; she also offers subtle commentary on the much-debated issue of illegal immigration.


Premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival to accolades and

  was quickly acquired for worldwide distribution by Fox

  Searchlight and The Weinstein Company

Include in the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival

Opening Night of the 2008 Miami International Film Festival

It was released theatrically in March 2008 to opening-weekend

  record numbers for a Spanish language film in the US

Fiction Short Film "Lindo y Querido" (Beautiful and Beloved)

Synopsis:“Lindo y Querido” is the story of Elisa, whose father’s last wish is to be buried in Mexico. Elisa, an American citizen, doesn’t understand why her father wants to be buried in a country that forced him to emigrate in order to survive. Upon Elisa’s arrival to her father’s village she understands how little is left from the Mexican Revolution in which her grandfather fought, but she also discovers the value of the homeland and why is it worth it to go back.


This short is part of an ensamble Feature film "Revolución"

Premiered at the 2010 Berlinale Film Festival

Screenings at the Cannes Critics’ Week and the 2010 New York

  Film Festival


Projects in Development

Mar dulce:

"As you set out for Ithaca, hope the voyage is a long one..."


From this poem by Kavafis, the idea of MAR DULCE is born, it tells the story of a young mexican girl that decides to make a trip to Greece looking for the man she loves and whom she can't forget. Mar's voyage, our main character, will not be easy, but every stepping stone will make her grow and find her place in the world. They will help her become, finally, as a complete human being, not like a drifter, as she has felt until now.

For Mar, this trip will turn out not a trip to love, but to the discovery of herself. In this "tour" of backpacks and ships what matters in the end, it's not destiny, but the road itself. Because it's in the road that we become what we are. Happines is within.


Written by Patricia Riggen


Quiero Amanecer:

Mike Laure is an icon in the history of mexican music. QUIERO AMANECER is the story of a man that fought his way out of poverty to create the first fusion of cumbia and rock and roll, becoming a leyend of mexican "tropical" music.


Written by Jorge and Sofía Riggen.



After decades of silence, Nine men have come forward to accuse the head of an International Roman Catholic order of sexually abusing them when they were boys and young men training to be priests.

This is the story of all of them in the voice of only one: Alejandro Espinoza, victim and nephew.

But it's not only the abuse of Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder and head of the Legionaries of Christ; it's the cover up of Bishops, Cardenals and the entire Vatican itself, starting with Pope Pius XII all the way to John Paul II.

MM, who became priest and founded an order at the age of 24 without having finish its training; won the admiration of many wealthy men and woman, politics and even dictators to accomplish its goals. Became the greatest fundraiser of the modern church and with that: Endless Power.

This story is still alive...


Written by Jorge and Sofía Riggen.


PERKAL: The Memory of a Name:


"My father, Isaac Perkal (67), was born in Poland. The horrors of the Holocaust were still fresh, but nobody wanted to recall them. As a child, he migrated to Uruguay, where the Perkal's were able to have a new life and never looked back again. Today, his fight against cancer drives him in this search for his identity and his silent past. Is it possible to heal from tragedy? "Perkal: the memory of a name" is a creative documentary which intends to reflect on the weight of memory, survival and humor as a transformation tool through my father's story and our family name.


Written by Paola Perkal