This weekend at the Fox Theater in downtown Tucson, one local filmmaker is telling the emotional story of the first youth mariachi band in the county through his latest film “Ugly Little Monkeys.”

David Valdez isnt new to filmmaking, but his latest work (co-directed along with Enrique Castillo) telling the story of Los Changuitos Feos is perhaps what he’s most proud of. The film is something that he said is sure to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions.

“It is important to me because I lived it. Its in my heart. Its what I believe,” he said.

After five-and-a-half years, Valdez said hes thrilled to showcase one of his longest and most emotional films yet.

“[It’s] a story about resilience. Its a story about courage,” he said. “Its a story about, in spite of what takes place in your normal living life, you can always overcome it with just a decision to move forward.”

Valdez said he wanted to tell the story the right way, which meant hearing about the good and the bad, including allegations of sexual abuse by the group’s founder, Father Rourke, an Irish Catholic priest from Tucson.

“These stories have remained quiet for the last 60 years.”

Those stories are now finally being told by members of the original group themselves, who will also be in attendance for this weekend’s screening.

Valdez said the inspiration for telling such a story comes partly from his late father, Joel Valdez, who passed away before the film was finished. Joel served as treasurer and mentor for the group during its inception.

“I really think my dad would have loved this film,” he said. “I know hes with us; same with my mom, hes with me right now. And Ive dedicated this film to him.”

He said he plans to submit the film to film festivals in 2025.

Screenings and ticket information can be found here.

Valdez said proceeds will go toward the Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson Scholarship Fund.