Film shares Hispanic origins

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Producer promises a new understanding of being Latino.

By Sasha D. Robinson

The documentary “Despierta” by Medina Productions will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Despierta” is based on the history of indigenous people, such as the Incas, Aztecs, native Americans and builders of Machu Pichu.

Producer Justin Medina wanted to bring to light the history of the Latino community and its origins.

“A lot of information is given to us about what Latino or Hispanic heritage is,” Medina said in a phone interview Sept. 25.

Despierta means “awake” or “wake up.”

The documentary is a call for Latinos to take a look at their history and open their minds to different possibilities of where their origins may be and not what is recorded in books, he said.

“Can you salsa? Can you make rice and beans? How do you speak Spanish? Like there is a barometer to be Latino,” he said.

“What was it that made us what we are prior to being told this is what it means to be Latino or Hispanic?”

Medina studied in Mexico, Argentina and Peru in 2008 where he learned a different perspective on Latino and Hispanic heritage that will be explained during the documentary.

“This is not an attack on academia or mainstream media, but let’s be honest,” he said. “There is so much indoctrination with our people from what we see on TV and what we hear in school that it is hard to get out of the mindset.”

Tony Morales, the “Despierta” coordinator for South Texas, met Medina through networking forums and in New York to hear the research at an interactive presentation with his research partner Angel Medina (no relation) in November at the Latino Cultural Center in Harlem.

The response was so positive they decided to make a documentary. Morales invited Medina to show “Despierta” in San Antonio.

Morales chose this college because of the demographics and graduation rate.

Hispanics make up 60.5 percent of students at this college, according to the Alamo Colleges website.


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