This 50-minute documentary looks at San Francisco Bay Area artist/muralist Hershell West to discover his art, the ways in which artists contribute to society, and the value of public art. Adding special interest, West, a black man, was born and raised in the segregated rural South, giving him special challenges.
Defying the expectations of family and society, West obtained an MFA in fine arts at the University of South Florida after a stint in the military, which earned him GI Bill support and the ability to pursue higher education. In Florida, in addition to painting canvases and murals, he also worked on outreach in the arts for his university. Later, he moved to California where he soon found himself painting, teaching art, and working as chief assistant to well-known muralist John Wehrle.
West has been commissioned to create his own murals while also continuing to collaborate with others. He has taught art to at-risk youth, served on several arts commissions, chaired the board of directors of organizations such as the Richmond Art Center and ProArts of Oakland, and helped found an annual exhibit called TAOLB (The Art of Living Black). Now in semi-retirement due to health reasons, he has a long and meaningful career to look back upon.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
Masters of Rhythm with addendum has screened in eight countries on four continents, and won awards in the USA and in Germany. A natural outgrowth of my earlier documentary about Afro-Peruvians, it not only gives us lively music (including two original compositions) but shows off the fancy dance form, Afro-Peruvian zapateo (something done in friendly completition where each dancer tries to out-perform the other using fancy footwork).
Whether you purchase the physical DVD, or download or rent it on-line, in addition to the 30 minute documentary you get several interesting Extras. In one, Juan de Dios Soto cooks a special Afro-Peruvian dish called carapulcra. In another, Lalo Izquierdo gives us more of the rhythms from the days of slavery, where Africans used the cajón and other drums to communicate in the Afro-Peruvian form of "talking drums." Even another shows a dance that today is danced in many Afro-Peruvian dance competitions but we learn that the dance in fact is not Afro-Peruvian, but comes from the Caribbean. And in even another, Izquierdo explains more about how zapateo was performed in the "old days" when it was even more comples and demanding than today.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
"...a vivid demonstration...that...Afro-Peruvian music and culture [are] ... exciting and dynamic...." (Wayne Wallace, 3 times Grammy nominated jazz trombonist)
"...satisfying...good educational tool..." (Troy Bedford for Anthropology Review)
This is the first documentary I made about Afro-Peruvians. It focuses on the dance, and on the history of the Afro-Peruvian community. One hour long, it screened in four festivals and was runner-up for the prize of Best Documentary in the San Diego Black Film Festival. It has also been broadcast over individual PBS stations.
A Zest for Life stars Lalo Izquierdo, who is one of the three principals in Masters of Rhythm; in fact, it was Izquierdo's talent, chrisma, and knoweldge of the history and culture of his community, and willingness to participate in another project which led me to make additional trips to Peru to film Masters of Rhythm. In A Zest for Life, Izquierdo is ably complimented by singer-songwriter Jorge Luis Jasso, by bassist Vladimir Vukanovich, by the performing group de Rompe y Raja, and others.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
"[A] 'must-see' for any serious student of immigration, plantation life, and the nature of historical storytelling."
Prof. John P. Rosa, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Have a family member who's an immigrant? This one hour documentary tells the story of how thousands of people immigrated from Spain to Hawaii and then California. Its star, 98-year old Francisco Pérez, is full of stories and watching the video is, as one person put it, "like hearing my grandfather speak again." (Cathy Continente, daughter of Spanish immigrants)
With shots of Spain, Hawaii and California; with a story supplemented by photos and other people from the Spanish immigrant community; hearing about dealing with the language barrier and the customs of the New World ... this is a story for the 98% of us who are descended from people who braved the odds to make a new life in a new country.OR purchase on DVD with PayPal:
"...a treasure chest of songs....performed by the great torch-bearers of the musical culture...." (Raúl de Gama for World Music Report)
The music album Cajón Is King compliments my two documentaries about Afro-Peruvian music, dance, and culture. With 12 tracks, there is a full one hour of music - but this is not your standard music album.
There are songs by famous percussionists Lalo Izquierdo and Huevito who are also singer-songwriters, songs performed by the group "de Rompe y Raja," a number by singer-songwriter Jorge Luis Jasso, a track in which the guitar of Coco Linares accompanies the percussion made by the feet of Lalo Izquierdo and Huevito as they dance an Afro-Peruvian zapateo, and a solo cajón number in which Lalo Izquierdo plays rhythms from North and South America.
Our special, one-of-a-kind, Palomino Productions' Diversity cup! Bright, colorful, with scenes from our films, this cup shows that you value and enjoy ethnic and cultural diversity, and that you also love movies. Who doesn't?