A Tribute to Caren Cross
By Jennifer Posner
In the fall of 2007, I moved to San Miguel de Allende and did what many of us did: I sat down and watched a documentary called Lost and Found in Mexico. I immediately felt connected to Caren Cross, the filmmaker. She made me feel that my decision was the right one.
Shortly after settling in, I discovered a posting on the Civil List; someone was looking for an assistant for a film project. Eager to find something new to do with my life, I answered the ad and met Caren. After the successful festival run with her documentary, Caren wanted to provide San Miguel audiences with the same caliber of documentaries that she had discovered while on the festival circuit with her film. With her background in film, and my background in marketing, a new partnership was formed, and REEL DOCS was born.
Caren spent many hours scouring the internet for good documentaries, reviewing festival catalogs, and soliciting many films that she thought would be right for the San Miguel audience. She had a passion for the personal documentary and wanted films that touched and inspired people. Once we agreed upon a film, we would invite the filmmaker to come for a short stay and present their film. One recent filmmaker, Gotham Chopra, said he corresponded with Caren for well over a year. He said, “She basically stalked me until I agreed to come down.” Caren was nothing if not tenacious! Unfortunately, they never got to meet, but the San Miguel community enjoyed Gotham’s film, Decoding Deepak, last November.
Caren and I agreed on three basic components for REEL DOCS:
1. All films would be documentaries.
2. Once selected, the filmmaker, or someone closely associated with the film, must come to discuss it with a Q&A session.
3. All ticket sales would benefit the San Miguel Bibleoteca children’s programming.
Caren and I worked well together, playing off our respective strengths, and accomplishing the tasks needed to find those filmic jewels. We watched hundreds of films that didn’t meet our criteria for REEL DOCS audiences. We were completely in sync about most of the films we screened and only disagreed once.
To the best of my recollection, we presented 30 films to REEL DOCS audiences over the past eight years and with our supporters’ help we donated over 375,000 pesos to La Biblioteca—all to be used in various children’s art programs.
Caren and her husband, David, often welcomed filmmakers into their home. Filmmaker Bonnie Burt recalls, “I was warmly greeted by Caren; no, it was more like being embraced by Caren. She gave of herself with her wisdom and her friendship. What she and Jennifer Posner, as co- founder, gave this town has become an important cultural institution.”
Caren became a mentor as well as a dear friend. Whether it was a walk in El Charco, or a quick phone call to touch base, we were never without monthly communication. Whether it was the vendors in the Mercado, or a newbie to San Miguel who had just watched her film, Caren always greeted everyone with her wonderful smile. I hear her laughter and often feel her warm presence when I struggle with a tough decision. She left us, much too soon, last April we lost a vital member of the San Miguel community but her contributions will always be remembered.
Please join us on Tuesday, February 21, at 1pm in the Teatro Santa Ana for a special tribute to Caren. Entrance is free on a “first-come, first served” basis, so plan to arrive early to save your seat. Following the tribute, we will also present Caren’s documentary, “Lost and Found in Mexico.”