Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Searching for Subjects

When you start to make a documentary where do you find everyone you need? Do you use all the experts that are available, (historians, professors, book authors), or the people who experienced it.

For this documentary, it's been a pleasure to talk to people, from my grandmother to the handyman at Agbayani Village. But the tricky part is organizing all of this work. Thank god for Lisa Whitmer, our co-producer. Without her enthuasiam, we'd never get all the research and pre-interviews done. She's tirelessly and enthusiastically into the project. Even when I don't feel as energized by it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Research and Development

For now, we've settled on a name for the documentary. "The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW." It sort of says it all, if somewhat less friendly to a mainstream audience. Creating a title for a film is difficult, particularly for a documentary. I was told by my friend and mentor, Steven Okazaki, you should pick a title that someone whose flipping through TV guide can immediately see and know what the film is about. There's some truth to that, particularly for a film that you hope will have some shelf life.

The documentary is about how Filipinos started the first grape strikes in Delano, California in 1965. This then led to the formation of the UFW, which is most famously known as Cesar Chavez's Mexican union, but little do they know how much Filipinos contributed to the movement. It's a documentary that I hope gets out to all of the Filipinos here in the US and beyond. Even thought I grew up in Bakersfield, California and my grandparents live in Delano, I still had very little knowledge and understanding of the value of this history. And now, investigating more and more of this history makes me feel very proud of knowing what we've done for the labor movement and for the present and future generations of Filipinos.