Posted: 9/27/17

Laredo’s ‘Rhapsody on the Rio’ Documentary Makes Way to National PBS Online Network


Laredo's story moves to the national stage...online.  

Laredo’s much-lauded documentary, “Rhapsody on the Rio,” has recently been added to the national PBS Online Network for viewing, dramatically expanding its audience potential.

Based on a haunting musical composition, “Rapsodia,” by Texas A&M International University faculty member and University organist Dr. Colin Campbell, the documentary explores the river’s immutable ability to bring together diverse peoples.  Using music and commentary, it explores theme streams of culture, history and identity. KLRN, the San Antonio PBS station for Central and South Texas produced the film with generous funding support from the City of Laredo.

The film bowed last April at a gala public showing at TAMIU’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Theatre and aired repeatedly thereafter on KLRN, the San Antonio PBS station for Central and South Texas. It also aired in the Corpus Christi and Valley area.

At the film’s debut, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU president, said he believed the documentary film told a powerful story and was glad that many more will have an opportunity to experience the film.

“It’s a remarkable, artistic offering infused with what it means to be a citizen of our dynamic border.  It masterfully draws from a universal palette of sound and image to share its story.  I think audiences will be especially delighted to see familiar Laredo faces and hear traditional sounds that embrace that story.  This expanded online distribution will bring our story to more and more people,” Dr. Arenaz said.

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said the documentary has already opened the door to the wonder that is Laredo.

“We were proud to collaborate on such a worthy endeavor.  This film-making work of art showcases Laredo’s bountiful culture manifested through its rich history and gifted people,” said Mayor Saenz, “This documentary captures “nuestro Laredo,” our communities’ longstanding ability of bringing people and their talents together…I can only hope that the effect it has on viewers is as enticing and uplifting as I see it.  Our community is complex in ways, yet, embraces simplicity in expression and care.  We have outstanding educational institutions, truly one-of-a-kind music, talented people and our bilingual and bicultural border mix is a strength to be touted.  This film opens the door to the wonder of who we are,” Saenz concluded.

Part of the film’s special charm is its colorful use of the sounds of Campbell’s composition as performed in concert by the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Brendan Townsend, accompanied by the famed Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán de Guadalajara, directed by Fernando Martínez. The performance was videotaped with multiple cameras in a special TAMIU staging. Austin-based filmmaker Luke Dillard directed the film. Laredo writer Meg Guerra developed the script.

Sales support student scholarships in the Fine and Performing Arts. CDs are $25; DVDs are $35 and a combination of both is $50.  Online purchase is possible at this link,  or in person at the University’s Office for Institutional Advancement, located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, suite 262. 

The online link to the National PBS Online Network is: http://www.pbs.org/video/rhapsody-on-the-rio-grande-6lzukl/