Versión en español.

So Happy to Have You Here!

Welcome to Sabana Grande Productions’ inaugural community letter. Some of you subscribed yourselves and some we’ve added because we think your interests align with those of our production company: to transform the world into a kinder place. If you’d like to change your email preferences or unsubscribe, you can do so below.

For a decade now, we at Sabana Grande Productions have been making award-winning documentaries and video essays that feature stories of empowerment and hope for women and people of color. This work, which has screened at film festivals and universities around the world, is made by crews consisting primarily of women and people of color through collaborative feminist filmmaking. Our belief is that many of the problems currently facing the world stem from a lack of understanding of those who are unlike us. By telling stories not found on mainstream media, we aim to transform the world into a more compassionate place and help foster deeper connections between people, no matter how different they are from each other.

In this community letter, we will share project updates and exclusive content, and we will invite you to participate in the production process by providing feedback on drafts, giving ideas for future projects, and helping us create a social media movement for a more humane future.

Introducing #FilmsForAKinderWorld

As a way to foster wide-scale conversations about the power of film, we invite you to use #FilmsForAKinderWorld on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to interact with us and with each other about existing or yet-to-be-made film, TV, and video projects that transform the world.

Millions of immigrants and refugees escape the violence and injustice they face in their homelands by building new lives for themselves in other countries. One of the most pressing struggles in the U.S. right now is the attempt to protect immigrants enrolled in the besieged DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). We invite you to combine #FilmsForAKinderWorld and #DACA to converse about films already made or in the making that help us better understand immigration and the devastating impact of deportation.

Children, Cameras, Planes … Go!

For the last 14 years, I’ve been working on a feature documentary titled The Weeping Season about my father, Miguel Hidalgo, who disappeared in the Venezuelan Amazon in 1983. My fearless artistic co-conspirator and husband, Nathaniel Bowler, and I spent most of 2017 filming in Tampa, Madrid, Lisbon, Washington DC, New York, Boston, and East Lansing. We took our sons, William and Santiago, on every one of those expeditions, lugging cameras, tripods, mics, and the enigma of my father’s life and vanishing along the way. It’s been an adventure the boys’ ever-adventurous grandfather would have certainly sanctioned. We will unveil the film’s website in a future installment. Stay tuned!

Unearthed Photo of the Month

When my father disappeared, video cameras were not a common household item, so his visual presence in The Weeping Season is portrayed through hundreds of photos. As an exclusive for community letter subscribers, we will feature a photo and a small anecdote to accompany it in every issue.
Even though my father claimed to have lived in quite a few places during his life, it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I learned he’d spent 6 months living in pre-Castro Cuba. He was there in 1947 because his mother was a cultural attaché to the Venezuelan embassy in Havana. I now suspect that he and Grandmother hid Cuba from his past because of the negative associations the country evoked during the Cold War. Here, though, is a boy, unaware of the complicated political future of the country he’s in, contemplating water, a practice he would return to as an adult. I remember him meditating every morning by staring at the water in a glass he left on the windowsill all night so the tropical breeze could fill it with secrets he tried to unfold as the sun rose. Like the peeling, discolored paper in this photo, my memory of my father concentrating on a glass of water shows its age in my mind. And yet this memory is clear like the ink that for seven decades has embodied his image.

We Won First Place!

We are honored to have received the First Place Documentary Award at the North by Midwest Micro-Budget Film Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan for my short documentary “A Place at the Table.” The film, which features the voices of 16 attendees at the 2016 Women’s March, was published in the Public Philosophy Journal. If you’d like, you can watch it here.

A Featured Feminist Conversation

I was fortunate to be interviewed alongside #DirectedbyWomen catalyst Barbara Ann O’Leary about feminist filmmaking, teaching women’s films, and supporting women’s voices behind the camera. The journal Films for the Feminist Classroom published it as its featured interview. You can view it here.

Connect With Us on Social Media

Questions? Comments? Ideas?
Email us here.

Versión en español.