Filmmaker Galán honors Willie Velasquez’s Legacy in Latest PBS documentary in run up to Election 2016

Chicano filmmaker, Hector Galán documents the legacy of Willie Velasquez, the Mexican-American activist, who launched a grassroots movement that forever changed the political landscape in the United States in his Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary, Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice.” The film breaks cultural barriers highlighting the importance of the Latino vote and was recently presented at The University of Texas at El Paso’s Union Cinema and was accompanied by a voter registration effort to honor Velasquez’s legacy. A production of Galan Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting, “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice,” showcases the life of the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and launched 1,000 voter registration drives in 200 cities. Velasquez paved the way for Latinos to have a voice in government and underscored the growing power of the Latino vote. Chicano independent filmmaker, Hector Galan directed the documentary shedding light on the Latino voting revolution.

Estudian las comunidades judías, musulmanas y cristianas de la Edad Media en Andalucía

EL PASO – Un grupo de 29 estudiantes y tres instructores de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso viajaron a España en mayo para explorar de manera directa la historia y la cultura españolas. Educadores y estudiantes desarrollaron un proyecto interdisciplinario original que evalúa la importancia de la tolerancia religiosa en la construcción de una sociedad líder en Europa en los campos de arte y ciencia durante la Edad Media. El grupo viajó por Andalucía durante tres semanas, realizando investigaciones sobre la historia de las comunidades judías, musulmanas, y cristianas en el sur de España. Los resultados de este viaje e investigaciones están cristalizadas en el documental, antología, y exhibición fotográfica titulada Andalucía: Fusión de tres culturas. “Ha sido la más hermosa experiencia de mi vida”, dijo Héctor Enríquez, director del proyecto, en la premier privada del documental en presentada en el Quinn Hall de UTEP aquí el 17 de abril.

Filmmaker Chris Weitz, left, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas teamed up to create a video project about Alabama’s anti-immigration law called “Is This Alabama?” (Salvador Guerrero/SHFWire)

Chris Weitz movies shed light on Alabama immigration law

WASHINGTON – Half a century has gone by since citizens of Alabama marched to oppose harsh state and national laws that restricted the rights of black Americans. Now it seems as though the state has found itself entrenched in the same battle, this time however, at the heart of the matter are undocumented immigrants. Chris Weitz, the director of hit movies such as “American Pie” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” teamed with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, to put together a project, “Is This Alabama?”

Vargas, a former Washington Post reporter who revealed his undocumented status in a New York Times Magazine story last year, made the videos with Weitz. Vargas was sent to live in the U.S. as a child. He left journalism to become an advocate for immigration reform through Define American, which cosponsored the event Wednesday, March 14, with the Center for American Progress and America’s Voice.

Camerawomen of Video SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association), videotaped by Tavishi Alagh and Alexis Krasilovsky for "Women Behind the Camera" in Ahmedabad, India, January 2004. (Courtesy of Women Behind the Camera)

Women Behind The Camera: a film made by women, for women

EL PASO – The idea of getting slapped on the butt at work may make a woman’s jaw drop in 2011, but for beginning camerawomen in the 20th century this was an all too familiar event. This story of a female camera engineer in Hollywood who experienced sexual harassment by former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before he entered politics is one of 50 cases documented by filmmaker Alexis Krasilovsky. Krasilovsky traveled around the world to shoot the stories of women filmmakers in many countries for a documentary on women behind the camera. She suggests that film schools should teach women self-assertiveness to handle these situations in their future workplace. Filmmaker Krasilovsky screened the documentary Women Behind the Camera recently at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Director/producer Luis Carlos Davis (third from left) presenting his documentary at the University of Texas at El Paso. (Aaron Martinez/

Coyotes say who lives or dies along “389 Miles” of the U. S.–México border

EL PASO – The length of the Arizona-Sonora, México border runs for only 389 miles, but the human stories on both sides of that line are countless. The documentary “389 Miles: Living the Border” by director/producer Luis Carlos Davis, explores the ongoing struggles of Mexican citizens who try to cross the border to get to the U.S. The documentary had a recent showing at the University of Texas at El Paso followed by a panel discuss that included university professors, students and the director of the film. “Something I really wanted to do when I started this project was to be really open hear what everyone had to say,” Davis said. “This is not a black and white situation. It has many layers.

Students’ Big-screen Dreams Shine at the Sun City Film Festival

EL PASO, Texas — The Sun City Film festival, supposedly a biannual event, seemed forgotten after a three-year absence, but finally it came back to life giving student film makers another opportunity to show El Paso their movie-making skills. Patrick Mullins, senior lecturer in the Communication department at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), first envisioned the festival as a biannual event, but things did not exactly turn out the way he had planned. “It had been three years. I think the original idea was if not a yearly than to have a biannual festival and because of other projects three years have gone by,” Mullins said. “We thought it was high time to have a student film festival here on campus again.”

The Sun City Film festival came back —April 30-May 1—and the response to it from the student filmmakers was positive.