“Porvenir, Texas” Premieres on VOCES
Friday, October 4, 2019 onPBS
Discover the True Story Behind the 1918 Massacre in a Texas Border Town
(LOS ANGELES, CA) —“Porvenir, Texas,” directed by Andrew Shapter and executive produced by Hector Galán, premieres on VOCES, Latino Public Broadcasting’s arts and culture series, on Friday, October 4, 2019, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App.
In the early morning hours of January 28th, 1918, the town known as Porvenir, Texas, ceased to exist. A group of 15 Mexican men – some American citizens – were taken from their homes and executed. The perpetrators then burned the town to the ground and the remaining residents, mostly women and children, fled across the border to bury their dead.
Who were the killers? Why did they carry out such a horrific act?
Through interviews with historians and family members, site excavations and dramatizations, “Porvenir, Texas”explores this tragic story, revisits what led to the events of that fateful night, and reveals tensions that remain along the border a century later. Descendants of both the victims and those allegedly responsible recount the stories passed down within their own families.
The only eyewitness to the massacre was 12-year-old Juan Flores, who watched the murder of his father and was spared at the last moment. The next day, Juan told his teacher, Harry Warren, what had happened. Warren found the 15 victims and documented their names in a notebook along with the names of their widows and children. Warren’s wife was Mexican-American and his father-in-law was one of the victims. Today, the descendants of Porvenir are at the forefront of a fight to ensure that this history will never be forgotten.
Also premiering in this season of VOCES are “Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage” (a co-presentation with AMERICAN MASTERS) on September 13, “The Pushouts” on September 20, and “Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno” on September 27. For complete information, visit VOCES website.
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About the Filmmakers
Andrew Shapter (Director, 1966-2019) was an American film director, writer and photographer. Shapter was known for his documentary films “Before the Music Dies” (2006), analyzing the rise of homogenization within the contemporary music industry; “Happiness Is”(2009), examining the American “pursuit of happiness;” and narrative feature film “The Teller and the Truth” (2015), the story of Francis Wetherbee, a beautiful young bank teller who went missing after a 1974 bank robbery in Smithville, Texas. Shapter was a partner at film production company, Cine33. In 2016, he was tapped by the U.S. State Department and the Obama White House to produce and direct “Refugees Are…,” a video documenting the worldwide refugee crisis featuring Bono. Shapter passed away in February 2019.
Hector Galán (Executive Producer) has been creating documentary films for over 30 years including 11 films for PBS series FRONTLINE, two films for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, the landmark four-part series, Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, the series Visiones: Latino Art and Culture, and the six-hour series Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine. His recent films for PBS include “Children of Giant” and “Willie Velasquez: Your Vote Is Your Voice.” Galán has received numerous honors including the Cultural Arts Award by the Hispanic Caucus of the American Association of Higher Education, the Armando Marroquin Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tejano Roots Museum, and the AT&T Spirit of Communication Award. Most recently, Galán was honored as the first documentary filmmaker to be inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.
Christina Fernandez Shapter (Producer) is a film producer, screenwriter, and actress. She received her BA in Theater, Speech and Media from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. She also holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas in Austin in Screenwriting and apprenticed at Paramount Pictures as an assistant to the former Vice President of Comedy Television Division, Dan Fauci’s film production company. She has been a script reader at Paramount Pictures and for the Austin Film Festival (then the Austin Heart of Film Festival), and coached screenwriters at the Santa Monica-based Writers Boot Camp. Her film producing credits include the documentary film “Happiness Is” (2009) and the feature film “The Teller and the Truth”(2015).
Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, the acclaimed PBS documentary series VOCES features the best of Latino arts, culture and history and shines a light on current issues that impact Latino Americans. Devoted to exploring the rich diversity of the Latino experience, VOCES presents new and established filmmakers and brings their powerful and illuminating stories to a national audience — on TV, online and on the PBS app. VOCES is presented by PBS SoCal and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Luis Ortiz is Series Producer; Sandie Viquez Pedlow is Executive Producer. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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