Films

THE NEEDLE AND THE THREAD

Directors:  VICTOR MANCILLA

Screenwriter:  VICTOR MANCILLA AND JIM NIKAS

Genre:  Feature film documentary

 

The Lady in Blue

San Angelo’s place in Texas history is secure as the site of the first missionary effort in the state—more than 45 years before El Paso, more than 80 years before San Antonio —thanks to mysterious “Lady in Blue” appearances to members of the Jumano tribe at the confluence of the Concho Rivers in the early 1600s.

The mysterious woman, dressed in a flowing blue cape, tended to the sick, comforted the afflicted and, most importantly, taught the indigenous people about the Lord, Jesus Christ and encouraged them to seek baptism.

In 1629 a band of Jumano Indians arrived at Isleta, New Mexico, where they presented themselves to the “brown robes” and asked to be baptized as the Lady in Blue had directed them. When the Jumanos led the Spanish priests to one of their central camping grounds, they arrived at the Concho River confluence area at present day San Angelo.

One of the missionaries, Fra Alonzo de Benavides, knew of a young Franciscan nun in the Spanish village of Agreda, north of Madrid. Sister Maria de Jesus reportedly lapsed into deep trances while in prayer and described visits to the New World, where she taught the natives. She told visitors she made more than 500 such spiritual visits, though she in fact never left her monastery in Agreda, Spain during her lifetime.

Upon returning to Spain, Fra Alonzo questioned Sister Maria at length and was amazed at her detailed descriptions of the lands she had never seen in person. He was also astonished to learn that it was her custom to wear a sky-blue cape when she went outdoors.

When Fra Alonzo asked Sister Maria where she learned to speak the Jumano languages, she is reported to have replied, “I didn’t. I simply spoke to them—and God let us understand one another.”

The appearances ceased after Fra Alonzo told Sister Maria of his contacts with the Jumanos. Sor then said, “My work with my beloved Jumanos is finished. Sister Maria died in 1665, and her incorrupt body can still be viewed at the convent where she lived and from where she “journeyed” to the Americas, including present day San Angelo. To this day, Jumano’s tradition relates that on her last visit, as Maria was leaving, every place her vivid blue cape touched the ground, blue bonnets sprang up to forever grace the Texas countryside.   By. Gus Clemens

ART AND REVOLUTIONS

Directors:  VICTOR MANCILLA

Screenwriter:  JIM NikAS & VICTOR MANCILLA

Genre:  Documentry

 

ART and Revolutions© is a documentary revealing for the first time on film the untold story of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. Frida Kahlo surrounded her apartment with his art to help keep her sanity while living in New York. Her husband, famed muralist Diego Rivera described his art as: “so great that perhaps one day his name will be forgotten!” 

 

José Guadalupe Posada’s art lampooned politicians, recorded vivid images of the Mexican Revolution, inspired Mexico's famed Taller Grafica Popular to use art for social causes, incredibly helped the Cuban Revolution succeed, adorned concert tickets for the Grateful Dead and today leaps to life annually as the skeletal images seen during Day of the Dead, so popular now that even Disney and Pixar are planning a Day of the Dead animation film. Yet Posada’s influence is rarely associated with his name, his true story virtually unknown.

 

Dying in 1913, Posada’s narrative is shrouded in myth. Called a revolutionary, artist of the people, prophet, the Goya of Mexico and crusader against dictator Porfirio Diaz, he is reputed to have created an astonishing 20,000 images. But who was this man so inspirational to generations of artists that his energy still drives the imagery of many social movements today from Chicano Art to Occupy, human rights and immigration reform? 

 

Fascinated by Posada’s story, an obsessed American collector of Posada’s works (the largest in the United States by the way) embarks on a passionate search for the truth about the artist, traveling to the Posada’s hometown of Aguascalientes, next to Leon and then Mexico City; encountering everything from art historians, Fidel Castro’s pajamas, Che Guevera’s backpack and a stop at the famed Arena Lucha Libre along the way.  What he finds would have amazed even the artist Posada himself.

 

Three-and-a-half years in the making, fueled by a passionate desire to tell Posada’s story despite only a shoestring budget, ART and Revolutions© was shot on location in Mexico from director Victor Mancilla (201 Squadron: The Forgotten Eagles, awarded 2009 Smithsonian Institution Best Historical Documentary).

 

The hourlong documentary, The Forgotten Eagles, tells the story of the legendary “Aztec Eagles”  of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force, who flew with the American 58th Fighter Group on Luzon in 1945. The Aztec Eagles were an elite unit of young volunteer Mexican fighter pilots who flew combat missions in support of American and Filipino ground forces in the struggle to free Luzon from the Japanese occupation. They were decorated by the United States, Mexico and the Republic of the Philippines for valor and sacrifice in the cause of freedom. They received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, the Philippine Liberation Medal and, recently, the Philippine Legion of Honor, personally bestowed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

 

  Edward James Olmos & Victor Mancilla

 

    

 

Directors:  VICTOR MANCILLA

Screenwriter:  ROGER MARRS & VICTOR MANCILLA

Genre:  FEATURE FILM HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY

 

 

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

Directors:  VICTOR MANCILLA

Screenwriter:  Victor Mancilla, Jim Nikas & Patrick Shen

Genre:  Family Documentary

THE DAY OF THE DEAD

NOCHE DE MUERTOS

 

Director: Victor Mancilla

Producer: Victor Mancilla, Patrick Shen

 

Once a year Mexico undergoes a transformation. From the remote islands of Michoacan to Mexico City, people busily prepare for a centuries old celebration known as El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico are perhaps one of the most bizarre and spectacular events one can be witness to. From its Native American origins to the transformation that the country undergoes in the days preceding the celebration, this film will reveal to audiences around the world the roots and the evolution of the ways the people of Mexico celebrate their dead. In their own words, locals will take us through their days of preparation and through the two days of festivities known as All Saints Day and All Souls Day, collectively known as the Day of the Dead celebration. From the colorful costumes and masks to the preparation of the Pan de Muerte, The Day of the Dead is the most unique, cinematic and haunting account of this most unusual event. 

THE FORGOTTEN EAGLES
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL ROCK

Directors:  Victor Mancilla

Screenwriter:  Victor Mancilla & Michael Ensor

Producers: Victor Mancilla, Christian Hernandez and Michael Ensor.

 

During the 1960s and 1970s, Rock music was seriously prohibited in Cuba. More recentlly

the attitude toward Rock music has softened by the Cuban Government. Nevertheless, the Rock scene in Cuba is still perceived as a small underground world.

This Documentary wil take us into some of the minds who had influenced and created this unique world of Cuban Rock.

Living with Autism and Deafness, The Willie Ross Foundation

Directors:  Victor Mancilla

Screenwriter:  Tim Boyston

Genre:  Educational

 

The Mission of the Willie Ross Foundation is to enhance the quality of life for non-verbal, deaf, and developmentally disabled adults. The Foundation encourages these individuals to be as independent as possible by teaching them how to communicate, make choices, express needs appropriately, be safe in the community, and develop job skills.

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