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April 4, 2013

Host: José Cárdenas

History Detectives

  |   Video
  • PBS series "History Detectives" explores the complexities of historical mysteries. Associate Professor for the ASU School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies and Co-host for the series Eduardo Pagan along with Co-host Elyse Luray talk about the show and some of the topics they have explored.
  • Elyse Luray - Host, History Detectives
  • Eduardo Pagan - ASU Instructor and Host, History Detectives
Category: Education   |   Keywords: History, detectives, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: The PBS series "History Detectives" explores the complexities of historical mystery, searching out myth and facts that connect local folklore, family legends and interesting objects. Joining me are two of the cohost of the series, Eduardo Pagan, also here is cohost Elyse Luray. Thank you both for joining us. For those very few people, I'm sure it's very few who aren't familiar with the series, give us the essence of it.

Elyse Luray: Viewers write in to us and they have a question about an artifact. They want to know if something is true about the artifact that connects them to a historical question. Basically we go off and try to figure out, is this question true or not. And as we're doing that, we talk about American history, we explore American history, and we show how the object is actually connected to a bigger history. Something compelling that has gone on in our history. We also teach people how to research, how to research objects, we go to public institutions, we show how archives are important, libraries are important, and that just Goggling something isn't really research. The show is really about how to research an object, and how to connect a piece, an artifact to the bigger picture of American history.

Jose Cardenas: One great example was a recent show you did with respect "Titanic."

Elyse Luray: Yes. I actually did the story, and a woman had a piece that she believed was the wood from the "Titanic." It was picture frame. She wanted to know, could this have come from the "Titanic." Someone else in her family thought maybe it came from another shipwreck. So the question was, what -- Did that happen? We told the story of the "Titanic," the history, we went to Halifax and were able to shed light on how there was a lot of salvage from the wreck. Unfortunately no people were salvaged, but there was a lot of wood salvaged. And it was a piece from the "Titanic."

Jose Cardenas: The series itself is basically a national show. It has a connection with the Oregon PBS station. But there are some Arizona connections. You're one of them.

Eduardo Pagan: Yes. I'm a full-time professor at Arizona state University. I'm a sun devil, as an undergraduate, that's where I went to school. So it's been a lot of fun trying to bring some Arizona and southwestern stories to the national audience.

Jose Cardenas: I want to talk about one of them that you were involved in, but before that, there's another Arizona connection, and that's the reason why the two of you are here. This week in Arizona, tell us about that.

Eduardo Pagan: I thought we would -- I would invite my cohost with 900 of my closest friends, and we would all converge over at the west campus, ASU's west campus and celebrate years of being on the air. So the three of us will share some stories from the past years, and there's a lot that happens behind the scenes. A lot of stories that we know about each other, I might tell a story or two about you, just to share with the audience.

Jose Cardenas: Start a little controversy right here.

Eduardo Pagan: Yeah, just -- It would be fun just to get together and meet our fans, and this is one of our stronger markets as well. I just thought it was a nice confluence of all sorts of things, bringing my cohosts, friends together along with residents in the valley.

Jose Cardenas: Another connection you referenced shows that have something to do with the southwest. One of the first ones did you had to do with Pancho Villa. We've got video, but tell us about that one.

Eduardo Pagan: One of our viewers had a watch fob. This is something people don't have today, but it's a piece of jewelry that hangs from a leather strap.

Jose Cardenas: The pictures on the screen, this is the raid on Columbus.

Eduardo Pagan: This is the one. And this watch Fob was Commemorating the raid. And this fob was given by a neighbor who said he was there. He's passed away, so she came to us and wanted to know, was he really there? Was he really an eye witness to this historic moment? So we're able to tell the story about the raid and also authenticate the fact he was not only there, he was a survivor and had a very interesting story to tell as a child, he and his family escaping the troops as they were coming in to Columbus, this family was actually going through canals to escape the troops and waited out until daylight. They were there and the story was true.

Jose Cardenas: Eduardo said there would be insights into how the show comes together. Give us a preview of what you'll be talking about to the people at the west campus.

Elyse Luray: I think a couple things. We get about 6,000 to 10,000 submissions a year. One of the things we'll talk about is how do we pick the good stories, what stories are compelling and what makes good television. We have a lot of trials and tribulations when you go out and try to shoot. And I think we'll tell about that. I've had stories where we shot a whole morning and didn't realize the sound person realized he never recorded. Or we've had stories where our --

Jose Cardenas: that never happens here. [laughter]

Elyse Luray: We shot a whole season once and wanted the assistant producers left the tapes in a room and the room was rob and our tapes were gone. We travel maybe to five or six states for one show, and I don't know how many plane rise sometimes, a lot of these don't show up. Fun things behind the scenes that also happen. We could work on a story for six to eight months and not get anywhere with it. So we're also going to share some of the frustrations that we have, because research sometimes happens quickly and easily, and sometimes it takes us a really long time.

Jose Cardenas: Eduardo, as I understand one of the interesting stories you're just wrapping up, or just did wrap up has to do with an iconic piece of the American west, at least as presented in the early days of television.

Eduardo Pagan: Yes. This was -- This just aired this week, it was a story of the sons of the pioneers. It was the first megacountry western group that existed in American history. One of our viewers had a sheet of music that was inscribed by bob Nolan, one of the founding --

Jose Cardenas: we're talking about sons of the pioneers, Roy Rogers.

Eduardo Pagan: Right. Before Roy Rogers was Roy Rogers. He was one of the singers of the sons. Bob was originally supposed to be the star. He was the one the Hollywood studios wanted to promote as the iconic cowboy. Bob was not interested in popularity or fame and he stepped away, so they said, OK, how about you? Leonard sly, and as it turned out, Leonard became Roy Rogers. And the rest is history. The sheet music was inscribed by bob, he wrote the song "tumbling tumble weeds" which was their first megahit. He wrote, this song has been bad and good to me. So our viewer, who purchased a copy of the sheet music wanted to know, what was he writing about? This is a megahit. This is what launched the sons of the pioneers. What was bad about this story? So bob passed away 3 or 4 decades ago and we were unable to interview him or his family, but we met with people who were part of the group, and who knew members of the group, were able to tell the story, as it turns out part of the reason why this story was bad as a struggling artist he sold the rights to the song. And so the royalties that for decades had not been paid. And he sued later on to try and get the rights to it, but it's a classic story of the artist who is struggling, in order to make money they sell the rights and it becomes this major hit and they see none of the profits. He was able to recover some of the profits, but there were decades of profits he just wasn't able to get back.

Jose Cardenas: Sounds like a great story. We're almost out of time, we know our viewers can watch "History Detectives" here on their local station, channel 8. But tell us your favorite.

Elyse Luray: My favorite story? Oh, god, there's millions -- I've loved every one for different reasons. My favorite was probably finding a piece of Amelia Earhart's plane. It was women in history month and my son came to school and said my mother find piece of Amelia Earhart's plane. I got a call from the teacher, your son is telling lies. No, we really did find it. And you can see them online. If you go to the PBS site if you ever want to see any of our shows they're all online.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you both for joining us, thank you so much.

Elyse Luray: Thank you.

Eduardo Pagan: Thank you.

Phoenix Film Festival

  |   Video
  • Meet Chris Lamont, the founder and president of the Phoenix Film Festival, and learn about the festival that opens this week.
  • Chris Lamont - Founder and President, Phoenix Film Festival
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: phoenix, film, festival,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Thank you for joining us. The 13th annual Phoenix festival has its opening this week. Thousands of film enthusiasts come out to see the different movies being shown. We'll talk to the founder of the Phoenix film festival, but first, here's a trailer of one of the films being shown called "Years Later." [speaking Spanish] Joining me now to talk about the Phoenix film festival is Chris Lamont, founder and president of the Phoenix film festival. Chris is also an independent writer and producer of short films. Chris, welcome to "Horizonte."

Chris Lamont: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: I also understand you teach at ASU.

Chris Lamont: Yes, I do. Film production, films about Hitchcock, film production crew, all about trying to make film here in Arizona a better place.

Jose Cardenas: Let's talk first about the film festival, and we'll take later about "Years Later." The history of the festival, how long has it been going on?

Chris Lamont: This is the 13th year. It's pretty amazing how quickly it's gone past -- Back in 2000, there was -- There really was nothing here that celebrated film on a community level. As a filmmaker myself, I saw that there was an opportunity here to be able to give filmmakers a chance to show their films and especially for the audiences to have a chance to see independent film. It's not just all about Hollywood and seeing the latest transformers movie. So working with the city of Phoenix, and raised a number of exciting collaborators within the community, with incorporations, the first year we were hoping 500 people would show up and we had 3,000. And we were a fledgling nonprofit, we didn't lose money, which was a big deal. I still remember when someone asked. when is next year's date? And we're like, OK, I guess we'll have a second year. 13 years later, last year we had 20,000 people plus.

Jose Cardenas: Tell us about this year's festival.

Chris Lamont: It starts April 4th, and a big Thursday opening night event. We've got a film from Sundance. And -- Which is great, called "spectacular now." We're the Arizona premier. Every film that shows is a world premier, U.S. premier, Arizona premier or valley premier. They'll generally be shown in theaters. And we have about 140 films we're showing. Short sometimes, feature films, narrative, animation, documentaries, foreign language films, like "Years Later."

Jose Cardenas: Where would people see them?

Chris Lamont: Everything takes place at the Harkins Scottsdale theater. We Daniel Ortega take over -- We take over six screens and we're running from in the morning until midnight, running film after film after film. It's a true cinema immersion experience. You can start in the morning and leave at midnight, and you've -- You truly are enjoying film. Everyone around you also is enjoying film. The people you're talking to in line, and eating, everyone there is just excited about independent cinema and making movies being made, and that's the great thing about the festival. If you've ever been to the festival, it's not just watching movies, we have the filmmakers coming, talking about their movies, doing question and answer sessions after the films are screened, and we have a big party pavilion A. couple storefronts down from the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theater and we've set up a big party. We've got stage, and lights, and acts, and it's another opportunity for people to come together in a big community and we call it the biggest film party in Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: One of the film producers you're going to have is the producer of "Years Later," it's a Mexican film. Tell us about it.

Chris Lamont: The director is coming out from Mexico, it's great, because the film has been provided to us by the Mexican consulate. They feel it's very important to have as many Mexican films as we can have here, especially because we're very close proximity to Mexico here in Arizona. So every year we have film that comes from Mexico. And so this year, "Years Later" is a very acclaimed film. Andres is a happy young man, he and his mother lived in Mexico for a long time, he never thought he had any other family, discovers he has a grandfather in Spain. And decides he must meet his grandfather and find out the heritage behind his family. So he abandons everything, including his girlfriend, and goes to Spain to find out what his life and his family is all about.

Jose Cardenas: This film is airing as I understand it, 4th and 5th?

Chris Lamont: It's 5th and 6th, Friday night and Saturday, Laura will come on Friday.

Jose Cardenas: You talked about the importance of the collaboration with Mexico, the Mexican consulate. The Mexican film industry there, which back in the 's, was one of the world's top film industries, which in the 40s and 50s was at the top and kind of went into decline, seems to be reemerging with some of the top producers in the world coming from Mexico.

Chris Lamont: Yeah. Guillermo del toro is probably the biggest example of filmmaker that is making Hollywood films. Started as a small independent horror film maker in Mexico and a number of Latino and Mexican filmmakers are making strides in our -- In the studio system, which is in the past has been unheard of. It's important to have all kinds of diversity in cinema, and it's great that Mexico really is taking advantage of what I call the former digital divide. When you made film, you had to buy film and expose it and 35 and 60 millimeter, and the cost was ridiculous. Not everyone could tell a story with a camera. And times have changed. That's one of the reasons why you're seeing everyone has the opportunity to tell a story, because the cameras are next to nothing, you can edit on your laptop, and the films that we're showing at the film festival, that's what a lot of people have done. Kick starter campaigns, where they've gone out and tried to get crowd funding to make their movies. And really independent cinema, film itself is such a cultural touch stone, it's so important to our lives today. Media is everywhere. When you can watch YouTube on your cell phone. We're hoping that the YouTube filmmakers of today are actual filmmakers of tomorrow. It's not just cats playing pianos.

Jose Cardenas: We talked about this film from Mexico, as I understand it you've got another film that might be of particular interest to the Latino community.

Chris Lamont: This is fun, it's called Los Wild Ones, it's about an Irish record producer in Los Angeles, but his stable is Latino rock and rollers. All they do is perform songs from the 50's. Like Ritchie VALENS. He's still kind of stuck in that 50s mentality, so he's got all of his Latino acts, and they're starting to lose traction in this world of iTunes, and music videos and so the whole story is about him trying to figure out that he needs to change with the times, or else he and everyone else are not going to be able to survive. So it's fun, there's great music as well, so I think a lot of people will enjoy as well.

Jose Cardenas: In terms of outreach to the Latino community, I know the Mexican consulate was helping you promote the movies that come from Mexico, any other things you're doing to spread the word?

Chris Lamont: We have tremendous outreach to a number of different places. Every year they come out and look at what we're doing, they always are excited about the kind of films, because Frankly there isn't that many opportunities for these kind of films to be shown here in Arizona. Especially in the valley. The opportunities to be able to see small films like this, personal films, from Mexico and other countries, just -- You've got the Harkins theaters, the film bar, but they don't -- They can't make a significant impact like this festival can, which 300 people will come and see this film every time it shows for the two times it shows. That's 600 people who will walk away and say, we saw this great film that hopefully will show up in Phoenix at some point in the future. Maybe on DVD or on video on demand or something like that, but that's the neat thing, that it's sort of this -- Everyone takes ownership. Everybody wants to see these voices, these stories being told, and it's great that from all different areas of the valley, everyone wants to say, how artistic people can be and how as a community we can grow artistically. That's what film is about. I always say there's a difference between film and movies. Movies are "The Dark Knight." The film tells stories, and engages people. And that's what we celebrate at the Phoenix Film Festival.

Jose Cardenas: It sounds like it's going to be a great event. Chris Lamont, thank you for joining on us "Horizonte" to talk about it.

Chris Lamont: Thank you.

StoryCorps Oral History Project

  |   Video
  • Radio Campesina Phoenix are StoryCorps are working together to preserve the history of the Hispanic community via audio recordings for later archival in the Library of Congress. Radio Campesina Community Outreach Liaison Victor Gamiz talks about the project.
  • Victor Gamiz - Community Outreach Coordinator, Radio Campesina
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: radio, history, community, project, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Storycorps and Radio Campesina have come together are terror archive the oral history of the Hispanic community. Joining me to talk about the largest national oral history project is Victor Gamiz, community outreach coordinator at Radio Campesina. Victor, thanks for joining on us "Horizonte."

Victor Gamiz: Great to be on the show.

Jose Cardenas: Storycorps is a production of national public radio, the corporation for public broadcasting, and it's been going on for a number of years. People who listen to the local public radio station have heard it before. But this is a relatively recent effort, and tell us how this came about and the coordination between your company and Storycorps.

Victor Gamiz: That's right. Storycorps has been around since 2003, they've recorded more than 45,000 stories. I think for the first time they're very interested in capturing the stories of the Hispanic community. So they got in contact with us, who we are actually a nonprofit radio station run through he Cesar Chavez foundation, and I think they thought we were the perfect candidate, especially in Phoenix, pretty big demographic.

Jose Cardenas: They hadn't done this before anywhere.

Victor Gamiz: They had recorded Spanish stories in different parts of the country, they had never focused directly on the Hispanic community. And they did that for two weeks. Yeah, that's -- It was -- I think it's something that interested them, and it's something that's important here in the United States as well. I feel like our story is a story as well.

Jose Cardenas: They showed up in what this kind of mobile studio, but they brought here to Phoenix, and we've got pictures that we'll be running on the screen.

Victor Gamiz: That's right. It's an airstream mobile unit, like those old ones where people used to camp out in the back in the day. The story, it's a professionally produced studio inside the mobile unit that travels thousands of miles every year. And yeah, you go in there with another person who you have a great relationship with, somebody who knows you well, and it's a 40-minute conversation between you and that person and you talk about anything you want to talk B there's not really a story that we were looking for here.

Jose Cardenas: How hard was it to get people to turn out to participate?

Victor Gamiz: It was difficult. It was something that our listeners, our audience was not too familiar with. They had never heard of the Storycorps project. Obviously it's an English-based project with NPR. But we did a lot of outreach, so a lot of our work was partnering with different organizations, we partnered with about 10 different local organizations that are -- That are in the news quite often, like the Arizona dream act coalition, promise Arizona, Puente etc. many others as well. And we asked them to help us capture some of their participants, stories of their participants. And I think that was something that really helped us, and we used to our advantage. Because we do partner with local organizations, Radio Campesina, since we are active in the community. But -- It was difficult just to kind of throw out the storycorps project on air and let people know we're going to be recording stories, you should be interested.

Jose Cardenas: Despite those difficulties, you ended up with 64 participants?

Victor Gamiz: That's right. 64 pairs of participants, so about 90 plus participants as a whole. And the majority of our work was outreach going out, talking to different groups. I do a lot of street promotions for the radio station, and just listeners that were trying to get -- Win prizes or go to a concert, we were just talking to people, letting them know, this is a project here in Phoenix for the first time, they've never recorded Spanish stories, and we want your story. We want to hear what your story is, because every story, every person has a story.

Jose Cardenas: Given some of the groups you mentioned as participants, I imagine quite a few of the stories had to do something with the immigrant experience.

Victor Gamiz: That's right. A lot of the injustices I would say, the struggles of a lot of the people that live here in Phoenix. I felt like it was a good way for them to express their story. And they did. They did a lot of people talked about what they've experienced being here, what they experienced before coming here. How everything has worked around them being in Arizona and how they've been affected by the things going on here in Phoenix. That's in the news nationally usually, like every day.

Jose Cardenas: We're almost out of time. When will the stories be available and how will people be able to access them?

Victor Gamiz: The stories will be available on Radio Campesina. You can listen to the stories, we're just in the editing process. And we're going to choose about to stores that we're going to run for a whole month and they can listen to those stories online as well. Visiting Radio Campesina's website, and of course on Storycorps's website as well.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you so much for joining us. Victor Gamiz from Radio Campesina, sounds like a great project.

Victor Gamiz: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: That is our show for tonight. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good night