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Filmmaker John Valadez visits CSUMB


Filmmaker John Valadez will screen his latest project, The Head of Joaquin Murrieta, at CSU Monterey Bay on Sept. 10.

Valadez will show the film and answer questions starting at 4 p.m. in the Cinematic Arts and Technology studio (Bldg. 27) on Sixth Avenue. The public is invited to this free event.

Valadez has been writing, producing and directing award-winning documentaries for 16 years. Two of his films: War and Peace, about Latinos in World War II, and Prejudice and Pride, about the Chicano movement, aired on the landmark PBS documentary series Latino Americans. His films have tackled subjects including the false imprisonment of a leader of the Black Panther Party; Latino gangs in Chicago; segregation in America’s schools; and the genocide of Native Americans in the Southwest. He is currently completing a companion book to his Emmy nominated PBS documentary The Longoria Affair.

Film synopsis: For over a decade filmmaker John Valadez searched for the remains of Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary Mexican outlaw who blazed a trail of revenge and rebellion

following the theft of his land, and the rape and murder of his wife. In the summer of 1853, Murrieta was killed by bounty hunters, who put his head in a jar and displayed it across California, charging people a dollar to see their “trophy.”One hundred and sixty-two years later, Valadez is convinced he finally has the head. He embarks on a quixotic, cross-country road trip through history, memory, and myth to bury the head of Joaquin Murrieta, and finally lay to rest a dark and troubled past – one that has chilling parallels with the filmmaker's own family story.

The Head of Joaquin Murrieta is an irreverent, entertaining and often disturbing tale that uses both fiction and documentary storytelling devices to tear open a painful and long ignored history: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the southwest.