Rafael Flores completed his B.A. in comparative literature and cinema studies at the University of Washington. He graduated with honors and was on the University of Washington’s Annual Dean’s list throughout his entire undergraduate career. His honor’s thesis investigated the relationship between Chicano filmmakers and Third Cinema. Since then, Mr. Flores has also earned his MFA in cinema production from San Francisco State University. His areas of specialization include directing, post-production, screenwriting, documentary film production, digital music production, Chicano Cinema and Third Cinema. Mr. Flores is also a musician who has been writing lyrics and recording music since he was ten years old. The focus of much of his music and cinema centers on issues concerning hybridity, border theory, and the post-modern identities of Hip-Hop culture and Chicano communities.
In 2004 and 2005 Flores received the University of Washington’s Certificate of High Scholarship. He also was accepted into the Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies in 2006 and 2007. Mr. Flores began his first year of graduate studies in 2008 while pursuing his M.F.A. in directing and post-production at San Francisco State University. In 2009 two of his films, "Jale" and "The Scraper Bike King", were awarded honorable mention at the International San Francisco Latino Film Festival. "The Scraper Bike King" was also accepted into the 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival.
In 2009 Mr. Flores was also invited to chair the Diversity and Cultural Resistance Panel for SFSU’s 11th Annual International Film Conference. In 2010 he was awarded both the Wilbur Eugene Smith Endowed Scholarship and an Americorps Scholarship for his involvement in the national G.E.A.R. U.P. tutoring program for economically underprivileged students. In 2011, he was honored with San Francisco State University’s Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement and Contribution to the field of Cinema. That same year his docu-drama "23rd & Union" was selected to screen at the Bush Fire International Festival of the Arts in Swaziland, Africa and was also awarded the local filmmaker award for the 2011 International Black Film Festival in Seattle, Washington. The CDC and Morehouse School of Medicine are currently publishing the research Flores conducted for "23rd & Union" for its qualities as a case study on how gentrification negatively affects the mental health of young men of color in displaced communities.