Doubled-Booked Tuesday and the Fountain of Youth

Laura Varela premiered her documentary tonight at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. I had all the best of intentions to attend.

But I had failed to look closer at my calendar. It was the same night as the San Antonio Film Commission’s monthly Film Forum at the library. I’d planned to attend so I could help promote the upcoming Josiah Youth Media Festival. The forum topic for this month was child actors. Sounded like a great fit. And then there was the premiere of Laura’s Veteranos. Man! Both events began at 6:30. Perhaps, I told myself, I could sneak out of the Film Forum, and make it to the Guadalupe before I missed too much.

I never did.

I wasn’t prepared for the panelists. They were two of my favorite young actors. Gabi Walker and Campbell Westmoreland. Nikki Young was moderating as usual. And Dora Pena was also on the panel. Dora’s feature narrative, Dream Healing (staring Gabi), will be premiering in August. Dora also played a small role in a short film by Bryan Ortiz which featured Gabi and Campbell. (Nikki knows how to build a panel).

Campbell is now twelve, and Gabi, fourteen. I think I have these ages right. But they are damn articulate and were able to share some deep insight on their perspectives as child actors.

To the best of my knowledge these two extraordinary gifted actors — who are well on their way to fame and fortune — have something in common. Their first films used my house here on Guenther as a location. Campbell’s first film was Carlos Pina’s Up and Comings, which had scenes shot here in my place. Campbell said as much. He also spoke of his recent work with Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater. And Gabi’s first film (I’m pretty sure of this) was my Operation Hitman, with scenes set here at my place. She’s brilliant and beautiful and as much as I want the world to know this, I just keep hoping I can get a decent project off the ground and well-funded so I can work with her again, because one day she’ll be far out of my budget. What an amazingly charismatic and sensitive young actress!

Both Campbell and Gabi are just so smart and candid and perceptive. These qualities have helped them in their success. But what has helped them just as much is that they have incredible parents who are all amazingly supportive and as much of a joy to work with as their brilliant kids.

This is why I wasn’t able to pull away and head to the Guadalupe.

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As I was leaving the library, I did send a text message to Veronica Hernandez, requesting that she sneak out of Laura’s film long enough to call me. She called and I asked if the film was still going. I was hoping that maybe it started late and I could go sneak in. No, she said. It was just about over. From a short conversation it became clear I have missed a very strong film. I’m sure there will be other opportunities to see this important local film from Laura Varela.

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Earlier this morning I stopped by to catch up with George and Catherine at URBAN-15. This is the last week to get the word out concerning the submission deadline for the Josiah Youth Media Festival.

Deadline is June 1st.

I already knew that they had gotten their grant for the installation of a wheelchair lift, but I wasn’t prepared for the speed that the contractors would be moving once the funds were in the account. Things are going fast! The floor is being excavated for a stable foundation for the lift.

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It could well be that all will be done by the end of the week. Wow! George and Catherine have been trying to get a lift in since they acquired this wonderful old church. Six years? The major performance space (this is where the film screenings are presented) is in what used to the church’s sanctuary, and this is up a flight a stairs. URBAN-15 has an office manager as well as a board member who have not been able to see events up in the sanctuary because of this major access problem. URBAN-15 has also lost certain funding opportunities because their primary performance space doesn’t have wheelchair access. The Cisneros have always worked hard to provide smaller screening rooms with wheelchair access, but they’ve always known how crucial it is to have full access.

And in only a few short days they’ll have that.

This is very cool!

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I did a bit or work for Josiah while at URBAN-15 and then I headed off to run a couple of errands. I returned at 2:30 for a little party.

Catherine had a birthday over the weekend, and so today I was invited to a celebratory lunch. Catherine and George’s son Antonio also joined us. He was in town for the sad reason that there had been a death in the family. But it was a nice time. I’m not sure just how old Catherine is (I have a vague working knowledge), but I think she needs to spread the word as to what forms of yoga she practices, how often she dances, her diet, and her preferred vintages of wine, because it’s clear she’s doing something right.

Happy belated birthday Cat!

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