Thursday, April 23, 2009

One time in Madrid...

We spent many, many hours with Carlos Taitano -- but this is still one of my favorite Carlos moments:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Money, money, money

It seems that the closer I get to the finish line with this documentary, the more financial hurdles get thrown in my path. Who knew it would cost $2500 for 25 seconds of archival footage from Japan? And $3000 just for a lawyer to help me get E&O insurance? (Not to mention the $5000 for the insurance itself?)

Undaunted, I am soldiering on... but a small voice in the back of my head (along with the clearly audible voice of my husband) keeps asking, "Hey, how are you going to pay for all that?"

What I am saying, dear reader, is that we are not yet out of the woods. We need money to finish this film. So if you have even $5 or $10 to spare -- please donate. If you have more, so much the better (here at Horse Opera we are experts at stretching pennies, so even small donations can go a long way). 

Other ways you can help:
  • If you know of a funding source we should apply to, please let me know
  • Throw a fundraising party! It's fun, it'll make you really popular, AND it will help us out. Send me an email and I'll send you a DVD screener w/ info on how to collect donations. It's that easy!
  • Tell other people about the film and show them how to donate. Hey, it's tax deductible! It's good for the economy! It's good for the planet! And it's easy. 
Donating is good for your karma and will make you feel good all day. Plus helping us to finish this film will be really, really good for the people of the Marianas, who have been getting the shaft for a very, very long time.

Thank you for reading this, and for your support.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Adios, Tun Carlos

It is with real sorrow that I am blogging today about the passing of Carlos Pangelinan Taitano, who died last week at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 92. The Guam Pacific Daily News published this obituary for him -- but they've left off many details from his long and illustrious life. 

Many people don't know, for instance, that Carlos was a professional dancer during his high school and college years in Hawaii, or that he was one of the first Chamorros to receive a college degree (in, I believe, 1940 -- though that might be off by a year). He was one of the first (if not the first) Chamorros to become an attorney, and that distinction opened many doors for him back on Guam -- including becoming the official bottler for Coca-Cola throughout Micronesia. Carlos served as a legislator in the Guam Congress (in which he eventually served as Speaker of the House), and he led the congress in the now-famous Walkout of 1949, which led to the Organic Act of Guam. 

Later in life, Carlos returned to his passion for dance by researching the historic dances of Guam's original Tao Tao Tano people, reconstructing cultural practices that had been all but erased by five hundred years of colonization. This research forms the foundation of many of the dances now performed by Guam's Chamorro cultural organizations, such  as Pa'a Tao Tao Tano. Right up until his death, Carlos remained active -- speaking publicly about the need for change on Guam, and continuing his research on Chamorro and Austranesian culture and history.

I was lucky enough to have seen Carlos only three weeks before he died, while I was in Los Angeles for the preview screening of The Insular Empire. While he was too weak by that point to attend the screening, I am pleased to say that I was able to show the film to him in his hospital room, and that he seemed quite pleased with the way it portrayed him. I'm also pleased to report that -- even in the hospital, as weak as he was -- he seemed happy and alert, and not in any pain. He even asked for a pen and paper, so that he could take notes while watching!

The Insular Empire would not be the film it is with Carlos' support and participation. He was unfailingly generous with his time, and allowed us to interview him (twice, at length) as well as giving us complete access to his extensive personal archives. He was also gracious about letting us follow him around with a camera, on occasions too numerous to mention. His family, too, was open and helpful, and we owe them a debt of gratitude as well.

We are culling some of Carlos' finer interview segments from the many hours of footage we collected, and this weekend I will post some of that footage here. For now, I offer up my sincere condolences to his family, and a short prayer for Tun Carlos – may his spirit go in peace.