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REEL DOCS presents the Sons of San Miguel Film Series

By Jennifer Posner

We are fortunate to have so many talented people living here in San Miguel! And REEL DOCS, a documentary film series, is delighted to announce that we will be able to learn a bit more about two local favorites in documentaries made about two men and in one case, by him.

Documentary
The Guy from Oklahoma
Documentary about Amado McLaughlin
By Julio Carlos
Wed, Feb 1, 1pm
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50 A
100 pesos
Includes margarita reception

Documentary
Before the Trees Was Strange
By Derek Burrows
Thu, Feb 2, 1pm
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50 A
100 pesos
Includes margarita reception

In The Guy from Oklahoma, filmmaker Julio Carlos narrates the story of Anado McLauchlin, a visual artist born in Oklahoma, whose chaotic life took him to San Francisco, New York, and India before finally settling down in Mexico.

“Is there anything in the world that can lead us to artistic enlightenment? Is there such a thing as artistic enlightenment at all? To what extent should an artist transgress what is thought to be his own nature in order to discover his real self?” Before Anado found a style that defined him as a visual artist, James Rayburn McLauchlin looked for a long time and in many places. He looked for something that could define him as a complex human being. As a visionary, he was eager to build an impressive art gallery in the middle of a small village outside of San Miguel. This journey took him as far as San Francisco; New York; Pune, India; and then finally here to La Cieneguita.

The documentary project started after filmmaker Julio Carlos met Anado McLauchlin at his home in February 2014, on the opening day of Amado’s art gallery, The Chapel of Jimmy Ray, where he exhibited his work along with photographer Spencer Tunic’s. It was Amado’s art and a chat with the artist that inspired the filmmaker to pursue this project. The film is a eulogy to life, a reflection on the multiple possibilities that existence brings, a study of the odd reconciliation between the world of the living and the world of the dead, an exploration of artistic religiousness as a means of experiencing the divine—what really inspires us to create art—as well as a reminder on the importance of sexuality and egotism in art.

Before the Trees Was Strange is a film about one man’s journey from the Bahamas, where he grew up white, to the United States, where he was embraced as black. It takes us on a complex family exploration into identity, love, race, and forgiveness. It’s a personal documentary told by Derek Burrows, which has been three years in the making with footage shot over 30 years.

Through interviews, song, storytelling, and poetry performances, the film presents an unusual and evocative style as an eldest son challenges the stories of his ancestry, the mother who fiercely tried to protect him and his five siblings from the effects of racism, and the notion that race exits beyond a social construct. As Derek seeks to confirm his identity, his family learns to understand and forgive a devoted mother whose driving goal was to treat all people with kindness but not at the cost of protecting her children.

Derek tells us, “I want to use this film to show that racism only exists as long as we love or excuse those closest to us when they exhibit prejudicial behavior. Each of us must first recognize when our loved ones exhibit micro-aggressions and veiled racist behavior and then risk rocking the boat by spotlighting their unacceptable acts. In my work, I have helped people examine their prejudices and fears and start to change those perceptions, which drive unkind behavior. I am excited by the responses to screenings that included discussions about family and race and love and forgiveness.”

Join REEL DOCS audiences and see these two powerful films about two of our favorite sons of San Miguel. The Guy from Oklahoma will be shown on Wednesday, February 1, and Before the Trees Was Strange will be shown on Thursday, February 2. Both films will be at the Tetra Santa Ana in the Biblioteca Pública and begin at 1pm. Filmmakers will be here for an intimate Q&A and margarita reception following the films.

Tickets are on sale now for 100 pesos at the Tetra Box Office located at Reloj 50. All proceeds go to the Biblioteca to fund children’s programs. For more information, check the REEL DOCS website –reeldocs.org

 

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