Director Walter Dominguez and executive producer Shelley Morrison are a husband and wife creative team who have been married for 41 years and have spent over a decade putting together a true legacy film.
During a phone interview, both Dominguez and Morrison shared what "Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery" means to them, how they want the documentary to impact the film community, and how it’s inspired others to learn about their past.
Courtney Hartmann: How long did it take for you to film?
Walter & Shelley: Gathering the raw footage which involved travel and researching the archival images, it took about 11 years to do that part, 2 years to edit everything and do work on post-production, overall, a 13 year journey. A lot of people, characters, and information to include...it’s kind of a hybrid. Everyone become part of the journey.
CH: How did you first learn about your family’s rich history and what inspired you to explore it?
WS: When I was 50, I hit a roadblock, friends and family were ill and had died and I was emotionally and spiritually in need of getting back on track. My grandfather had helped in so many ways, and he kept coming to mind and there were people who were left alive who knew him, so I reached out to my step-grandmother. The film took on a life of its own, like we were led. It was a magical experience.
CH: How hard was it piece together connections from your grandfather’s past?
WS: I reached out to my step-grandmother and one thing led to the next to piece together questions. We just followed the road, like a mystery. I regained my spiritual core and the film accurately depicts the process to unravel secrets.
CH: When you grandfather ran away as a child, was there any information about his mother trying to look for him?
WS: He did have uncles and brothers who had a business in the city from his hacienda where he grew up (the grandfather). When they would go to Leon he’d go with them and go to his uncles about getting information about his mother.
CH: What do you hope to convey to the audience with this documentary?
WS: Historically, the information that is coming across for a lot of young people, they’re saying we don’t learn this in school. We are connecting to all people the dignity of these people...we want the audience to be hopeful, be entertained and educated with a feeling of “I am important.”
We want them to look at their own families in a different light and who we are as individuals. Everyone went through so much in the past and people were still so courageous and inspired people to overcome adversity. We can pick up the gauntlet and go forward, addressing immigration issues and homelessness, even if it’s small.
Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery's one week exclusive engagement begins Friday, August 15 and runs through Thursday, August 21 at the LAEMMLE PLAYHOUSE 7 THEATERS in Pasadena, CA with four screenings per day. The mayor of Pasadena will be introducing the film at the premiere.
Pasadena is where Dominguez was raised and why it’s important for them to premiere their film there. He and Morrison have dedicated 13 years to this project, this film as a labor of love, an homage to Dominguez’s ancestors, and a historical lesson.
Morrison (who has worked over the years as an actress) says, “Shakespeare had plays that had five acts, so I have a third, fourth and fifth act. It doesn’t matter how old you are to follow a passion.”