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Pancho Villa & Other Stories

This remarkable account of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and one of its most important and enigmatic protagonists, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, is a unique achievement in the realm of historical documentaries. Producer Phillip Rodriguez places at the center of the film the personal stories of men and women—all now deceased—who were witnesses to and participants in the Revolution.

These oral histories, which were conducted from 1986 to 1994 throughout Mexico and the southwestern U.S., flow seamlessly between historical incident and legends associated with the deeds of Villa and his La Division del Norte. Among those whose stories unfold are Soledad Seanez, the wife of Villa at the time of his death, residents of Columbus, New Mexico, who recall Villa’s attack on the U.S., and those who fought both with and against Villa.

The film is extraordinary for its pioneering use of new digital technologies, through which it brings a compelling and contemporary look to some 250 rare vintage photographs of Villa and Revolution as well as authentic motion picture footage shot by American and Mexican film crews on the Revolution’s battlefields. These images are skillfully interwoven with the words and memories of those interviewed to create a fascinating, sometimes mysterious and always riveting historical exploration that will inspire discussion and analysis in all courses on Mexican and 20th-century history.

The film has been honored at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, Hawaii International Film Festival, Ajijic Festival Internacional de Cine Festival, Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival, San Francisco Cine Festival, New York Latino Film Festival, Latin American Film Festival of Trieste, Italy, San Antonio CinefestivalAward Winner, and the Newport Beach Film Festival. It has been broadcast across the United States on PBS, and has been hailed by critics and educators alike. Various accredited Universities have participated in on-campus screenings (University of Arizona, Lake Forest College, Dominican College, University of San Diego, University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of California at San Diego are just a few).

What the experts say:

"Pancho Villa & Other Stories is a very perceptive portrayal of popular attitudes towards one of the 20th Century Mexico’s most revered and controversial personalities."
—Friedrich Katz
Author of The Life & Times of Pancho Villa
University of Chicago, Professor of Mexican History


"Pancho Villa & Other Stories captures the spirit of the times. The execution of "someone" by the firing squad could have been my grandfather who was killed that way when my father was eight. My father died in 1994, eighty-six years old. He spoke like those in your documentary."
—Refugio Rochin
Director
Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives


"Pancho Villa & Other Stories is a valuable tool for the teaching of Mexican history. Beautiful and compelling, it offer students a rare glimpse at the Mexican Revolution and one of its legendary figures. A fine contribution to the genre."
—James W. Wilkie
UCLA Professor of Mexican History
Co-Chair, UCLA Latin American Studies


"This wonderfully provocative film needs to be seen by students, teachers and others concerned with history as it is studied and taught today.
The film investigates how people remember their past and pushes the bounds of historical inquiry to new dimensions.
Here we have a talented filmmaker examining history from his generation’s point and the result is satisfying and stimulating."

—Dr. Paul Vanderwood
Professor Emeritus of History
San Diego State University

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