The South Texas International Film Festival in Edinburg, TX takes place this weekend and two of Laura Varela’s projects will screen at 2pm Saturday, September 8th.
Opening the screening is Honey West: the Gloria Fickling Story Directed by Varela, and Produced by Lynda de la Viña. The film examines the life of Gloria Fickling who wrote the 11 Honey West novels from her youth and early career in magazine writing and her collaboration with her husband (Forrest Fickling) on the Honey West novels; to the creation of the Honey West television series that changed the concept and trajectory of women’s roles in television ; to her present life and work.
Immediately following the short doc Honey West: The Gloria Fickling Story will be a screening of A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas!) Directed by Anne Lewis. Laura Varela served as an Associate Producer on Strike and coordinated much of the San Antonio shoots for the documentary. The film is an experimental documentary based in the telling of two events: the San Antonio pecan shellers’ strike of 1938 and the Jobs with Justice march led by Nacogdoches cafeteria workers, groundskeepers, and housekeepers in 1987.
In 1938, half of the nation’s pecans were shelled in San Antonio. When the shellers’ wages were cut from about 6 cents to 4 cents per shelled pound, Emma Tenayuca led an estimated ten thousand workers in a massive walk out. The strike lasted 3 months before the company gave in. While the pecan shellers’ strike is recognized by many as the birth of the Chicano movement, it is shrouded in myth and denial about its iconic communist leader, Emma Tenayuca.
The 1987 march on Nacogdoches was the result of the Annie Mae Carpenter race and gender discrimination lawsuit initiated by the NAACP ten years earlier. Finding that the University and the courts were unresponsive, workers organized a march of more than 3,000 people – labor unionists, civil rights and women’s activists. The march led to a union contract, continuing union representation, and the payment of back wages. While the uprising in Nacogdoches is largely unknown, Texas historian Ruthe Winegarten described it as an epiphany for African American women in Texas.
Lewis explores both events in the same film, using the methods of oral history and, as an experiment, relating these stories strongly to contemporary ideas and events.
The City of Edinburg, in an effort to promote the Visual Arts in the Rio Grande Valley, hosts the annual South Texas International Film Festival, Held in Edinburg, Texas. STXIFF is a competitive international film festival currently accepting films in the categories of Regional Film, Short Film and Feature Length Film.
HELPING BUILD A BURGEONING INDUSTRY
Unlike many other young film festivals, STXIFF is intensely focused on building professional connections and opportunities by inviting a wide array of indispensable industry professionals from feature film producers to independent production companies. We strive to bring together local filmmakers and community leaders to help strengthen the South Texas film industry and share our work around the world.