THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO is a vibrant new two-hour PBS special that tells the epic story of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century. Fueled by the Mexican people’s growing dissatisfaction with an elitist ruling regime, the revolution produced two of the most intriguing and mythic figures in 20th century history — Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. At stake was Mexico’s ability to claim its own natural resources, establish long-term democracy, and re-define its identity. The legacy of the revolution included a new commitment to national education, as well as an explosion of indigenous arts, music, literature, and cinema.
Capturing the color, drama, intrigue, and tragedy of the era, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO also explores how the Mexican Revolution not only changed the course of Mexican history, transforming economic and political power within the nation, but also profoundly impacted the relationships between Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world. Narrated by actor and playwright Luis Valdez , directed by Raymond Telles and written and produced by Raymond Telles and Archivist Kenn Rabin, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO will air nationally on PBS on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 10 PM (check local listings.)
The Mexican Revolution was part of the first wave of worldwide political and social upheavals in the early part of the last century; nationalistic uprisings not only swept across Mexico, but also Russia, Iran, China and parts of the Third World. THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO explores the events that led to the revolution, influenced the course of the conflict, and determined its consequences. It also explores the role of memory and myth in shaping public perceptions about both the revolution and its legacy.
The Mexican Revolution was the first major revolution to be filmed. THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO incorporates photographs and motion pictures from these earliest days of cinema, many of which have never before been seen outside of Mexico.
THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO unfolds in two parts. The first hour, The Tiger is Unleashed, charts the struggle by Francisco I. Madero and his followers to end the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, and traces the emergence of two remarkable rebel leaders: Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. But the Revolution was not merely an internal affair; it was an international event profoundly influenced by U.S. and European foreign policy.
The second hour, The Legacy, examines international influence on the revolution; investigating the extraordinary German plan to seek Mexico’s support against the United States should it enter World War I. The second hour also explores how the Mexican Revolution fostered cultural as well as political transformation. Beginning in the 1920s, and continuing through and beyond the 1940s, Mexican artists burst onto the international stage and Mexico City became the nexus of an indigenous and muralist art movement. Against this flourishing cultural backdrop, the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas in many ways fulfills the political promises of the revolution. But after Cárdenas’s extraordinary administration, politics regress, and in 1968, shortly before Mexico City is to host the Olympics, a new type of revolution explodes.
The dramatic story of the revolution is told through interviews with a wide range of distinguished scholars from the disciplines of history, economics, literature, political science, women’s studies, and art history, as well as several veterans of the Revolution who were each over 100 years old at the time of filming. Ten years in the making, THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO is the definitive exploration of one of the most fascinating eras in modern history.
THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO is co-production of Paradigm Productions, Inc. and the Independent Television Services (ITVS) in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB). Major funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and The San Francisco Foundation.
For complete information on the program, as well as detailed information on the Mexican revolution and the fascinating figures that played a pivotal role in its history, visit http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storm-that-swept-mexico.
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The participants, in alphabetical order:
Audias Anzures Soro – Zapatista veteran (deceased)
Baldomero Blanquet – Zapatista veteran (deceased)
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas – son of former Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas and a prominent Mexican politician
Barry Carr – historian at La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia; currently a visiting professor at UC Berkeley
Romana Falcón – Centro de Estudios Historicos, El Colegio de Mexico
Adolfo Gilly – professor of History and Political Science at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
P. Edward Haley – Center for Human Rights Leadership, Claremont McKenna College
Friedrich Katz – Department of History, University of Chicago (deceased)
Laura Gonzalez Matute – History of Mexican Art, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Carlos Pacheco Valle – Zapatista veteran (deceased)
Max Parra – Associate Professor of Latin American Literature, UC San Diego
Elena Poniatowska – Mexican journalist/novelist
Ramón Ruíz – Latin American History, UC San Diego (deceased)
Benjamín Sánchez – Zapatista veteran (deceased)
Alex Saragoza – Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley
Andrés Soto – Zapatista veteran (deceased)
Jesus Vargas – Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Jorge Zapata – grandson of Emiliano Zapata
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About the Filmmakers
Raymond Telles (Producer/ Director)
Telles is a veteran producer of many award-winning programs including The Fight in the Fields (the biography of Cesar Chavez), Inside the Body Trade, Children of the Night (Frontline), and Race Is the Place. He has produced and directed programs for PBS, ABC, NBC, Discovery, and National Geographic. Telles has won numerous awards including the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton, Emmy Awards, PBS Programming Awards for News and Current Affairs, The Ohio State Award, ALMA Award, top honors in the San Francisco, Chicago and New York Film Festivals, as well as numerous other awards for his work in film and broadcast journalism. He brings to the project a personal passion: during the Mexican revolution his family was torn apart by opposing political views and the turmoil of a country at war.
Kenn Rabin (Producer/Archivist)
Rabin is a consultant, film researcher, and writer who has worked on many award-winning television shows and feature films. Highlights of his over one hundred production and consulting credits: Vietnam: A Television History, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, The Great Depression, American Experience, American Masters, Frontline and Bill Moyers’ Journal (all for PBS), The Twentieth Century Project (ABC/NHK), 500 Nations (Kevin Costner for CBS) and Daughter From Danang. He has received two Emmy nominations for his documentary work. Feature credits include Good Night and Good Luck, The Good German, and Milk. Rabin is the co-author of Archival Storytelling: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Finding, Using, and Licensing Third-Party Visuals and Music.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens, and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and provide for underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) supports the development, production, acquisition and distribution of public media content that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of interest to Latino Americans. These programs, including the series ‘VOCES’, are produced for dissemination to the public broadcasting stations. Edward James Olmos is founder and Chairman of the LPB Board of Directors. For more information please visit www.lpbp.org and www.voces.tv.