Award-winning filmmaker, René Simon Cruz Jr., has been traveling the globe making films for two decades. He’s now focused on creating cutting edge content for Hollywood & beyond.
After attending the School of Visual Arts in New York City, René got his start in films by working for director Adrian Lyne (9 1/2 Weeks), Bob Zemeckis (Romancing the Stone) & on the Academy Award winning HBO documentary, "Down & Out in America." By night, he was a fixture on the exploding hip hop/high art scene where he was known as "SEZ" a prolific member of the legendary NYC graffiti crew, DownTown Artists.
René soon began directing socially relevant documentaries & won a Dove Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for "They Speak of Hope," about the church's pivotal role in El Salvador's civil war. His extensive documentary work has since been honored with film festival awards and a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
As president and founder of Esperanza Films, Inc. he’s continued to create media across all platforms for a wide array of clients including: Johnson and Johnson, IFC Films, MTV International, Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, and Sony Picture Classics.
Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue theatrical film and television production, René has been in demand as a triple threat producer, director and writer, working on projects at the Independent Film Channel, Warner Bros., BET, Picture House, Lexus, and Fox Sports.
His "Parts Art" web series produced & directed for Lexus' Lstudio.com portal, won Best Branded Entertainment at the LATV Festival & was nominated for a prestigious "Streamy Award."
René currently has several feature & TV projects in development.
He travels extensively doing arts based social & humanitarian work in Latin America, Europe, and Africa. He is also completing his first novel, a coming of age story titled: "100 Sucker Punches," based on his childhood experiences as a young artist surviving on the mean streets of Mafia run Hoboken, N.J.
In other lives, René has worked as a smuggler, war correspondent, and missionary.