TAMIU Presents 'Longoria
|John Valadez, PBS documentary filmmaker, will be at TAMIU Feb. 8.|
In 1948, the only funeral home in Three Rivers, Texas, just a two-hour drive from Laredo, refused to hold a wake of fallen World War II hero Felix Longoria, allegedly because the decorated Mexican American soldier was not white.
The controversy and fight for equality that followed from that event made headlines across the nation and is the focus of a new PBS documentary by filmmaker John Valadez, entitled, “The Longoria Affair.”
Texas A&M International University will present a film screening of “The Longoria Affair” and a rare opportunity to interact with the filmmaker Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium.
The screening is free and open to the public.
Dr. María Flores, and Marcela Morán, both assistant professors of communications, said they invited Valadez to visit TAMIU after they met him during his visit last year to Laredo.
“We felt our students and the community would benefit from a viewing of ‘The Longoria Affair,’ and from a question and answer session with him,” Morán said.
The documentary brings attention to an event that marks one of the starting points of the Chicano movement, Dr. Flores said.
“I hope that the audience will be able to also understand an important part of Texas history by watching this film,” she said.
Before the film screening, Valadez will speak to Moran’s film history and video production classes as well as Flores’ transnational trends in communications class about documentary techniques, Morán said.
“The students will most definitely benefit from his insights and his work for PBS,” Morán said.
PBS productions have to meet high quality standards of production and screen writing, Flores explained.
“Our students will have the opportunity to be inspired by interacting with Valadez,” she said, “He is one of most well-known Latino PBS producers.”
Flores said she hopes her students learn techniques on how to nationalize a local story.
“Valadez’s work does a remarkable job in bringing a local story into the national spotlight and I hope my students learn how this is achieved,” she said.
Valadez said the film provides lessons from the past that could be applied to the present.
“The film offers an important parable for our own time about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity,” he said, “It is a lesson in transforming discrimination to equality.”
Valadez, who comes from a family of migrant field workers from El Paso, has produced and directed award-winning, nationally broadcast documentaries for the past 16 years. His film, ‘The Chicano Wave,” a history of Mexican-American music for the PBS/BBC series, “Latin Music USA,” received a prime-time national broadcast in both the United States and Europe last year.
He was a producer of the nationally-broadcast PBS series, “Visiones: Latino Arts & Culture” and the prime-time PBS special, “Beyond Brown,” which explored the re-segregation of American schools 50 years after the Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Ed.
Valadez has twice been a New York Foundation for The Arts Fellow, is a Rockefeller Fellow, and is currently working with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, where he is collaborating with American embassies overseas to screen his films.
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