Monday, October 16, 2017

Feedback Screening for Battle of Glorieta film

Introduction speech for film (PROTEC) feedback screening by Monique Anair, Historias Conference, Northern New Mexico College - October 13, 2017

Thank you to everyone for coming out tonight. The film we will be screening this evening has been in production since January and we are looking forward to your feedback tonight on the film. We will be handing out cards and pencils for you to write down questions and comments and at the conclusion of the screening we will have some time to have a dialog with filmmaker Doug Crawford and consultant for the film Dr. Steve Martinez.

The title of this screening is Untold Stories. This project started with the question, why are some stories not told in today’s media while others control the airwaves? Mary Celeste Kearny, who has studied the lack of women’s stories in the media stated that any population that does not have the skills and opportunity to tell their own stories, does not have the access to training, resources and means for distribution, will be marginalized in the mainstream media.

Monique Anair with audience after film screening at Northern New Mexico College
Any stories that remain untold are in danger of being lost. Keith Basso, an UNM professor of anthropology who worked with the Western Apache in New Mexico and Arizona said “the knowledge of places is closely linked to knowledge of the self, to grasping one's position in the larger scheme of things, including one's own community, and to securing a confident sense of who one is as a person.” So often when we lose our stories we lose a sense of who we are and where we have come from.

Dr. Alicia Chavez, who teaches at University of New Mexico, born and raised in Taos, studies the unique blending of culture and the importance of personal story in creating a culture of inclusion. In her book, Teaching Across Cultural Strengths, Alicia points to the rich storytelling culture that resides in Northern New Mexico and the example it provides for education; a powerful tool for integrating culture, respect and engagement.

In New Mexico, there is a unique opportunity for New Mexicans to tell their story, in their own words and images. I feel that the film we watch tonight is the first of many films that could be produced by our students at New Mexico colleges and universities.
This film was produced in partnership with many organizations. The beginnings of the film were developed through the Professional Readiness and Technical Experience for Careers program. PROTEC is a pre-employment program sponsored by Santa Fe County and developed by Santa Fe Community College. The production of the film was sponsored in part by the McCune Foundation, the Friends of the Pecos Historic National Monument, Doug Crawford and the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area. What you see tonight is an effort not of one person but of over 50 people from Northern New Mexico dedicated to education, history and culture. You will see many of their names in the credits.

In this film you will hear and see the story behind the Battle of Glorieta. For 155 years, the New Mexicans who participated in the battle that turned the tide for the United States union army have remained unrecognized. Lack of recognition for historical contributions is not a unique story for native New Mexicans. Globally, minority and female populations are easily overlooked in the canon of history. In 2015 the Friends of the Pecos National Historical Monument set about to rectify this injustice and gained the support from the National Park Service to erect a monument honoring the New Mexico volunteers who fought in the Battle of Glorieta. 

Funds allocated through the New Mexico legislature by State Representative Jim Trujillo have been used to produce a monument that will be erected later this year near the battle field site along Route 50 outside of Pecos. Knowing the power that comes from using film and media, the Friends’ group wanted to produce a documentary telling the story of these men and their families. This film we are screening tonight is the first of five proposed films that will follow the stories of these men and their families. The film tonight is an introduction to the complex history of why this group of New Mexicans felt compelled to support the union cause.

Dr. Steve Martinez from Santa Fe Community College worked with students in the PROTEC program to uncover the stories leading up to and surrounding the of the Battle of Glorieta. Students developed the story timeline and worked on shooting and editing the film with New Mexico born filmmaker Doug Crawford. The unique historical timeline reveals decisive moments in Northern New Mexico history that influenced the birthing of a young and often troubled nation; the United States of America.

In 1862, during the height of the American Civil War, a group of New Mexican men volunteered their lives to fight on the side of the Union Army in the Battle of Glorieta, a battle that is often called the Gettysburg of the West. The victory effectively prevented the Confederacy from obtaining trade routes to the Pacific Ocean turning the tide of history in the American Southwest. The story is not about a single person or hero, it is a story that reaches back to Mexican Independence, the doctrine of Padre Martinez and the passion, pride and culture unique to Northern New Mexico.

New Mexico legislators have spent the last twelve years aggressively attracting Hollywood to our state creating a vibrant film industry that continues to reflect a vibrant part of Northern New Mexico’s economy. With the resources that have been established, local partnerships and the state’s focus on film and media, unique opportunities exist for our communities to make and distribute media projects told from our own voices. We believe the partnerships that helped produce this film, that you will watch tonight, are the beginning of a wonderful collaboration.

Thank you and I hope you enjoy the film.