Chamorro Documentary Nearly Finished July 06 2015
Two and a half years ago, I was introduced to a special lady and a special project for the Chamorro community. Joanne Tabor Modic hosted a popular Chamorro history workshop in Torrance, California in 2011 and 2012. It was led by Capuchin Friar Eric Forbes, better know as Pale’ Eric from Guam. In that first phone call with Modic, she shared with me the vision of the “I AM CHAMORRO” documentary, which would be a compilation of the 26 years of research that went into Pale’ Eric’s history presentations.
It was because of the demand for the workshops, sitting at the Modic’s kitchen table, they decided to create a film to be able to reach the larger community. It would be a film that could be featured in the Smithsonian — something for Chamorros and for all people to see and learn about the Chamorro culture. It sounded overwhelming and it sounded expensive, but with Modic’s enthusiasm and Pale’ Eric’s stature in the community, I was immediately on board to support the project in any way that I could.
Many people have heard about this project by now. I have not been the only one so inspired. The Manhita Chamorro nonprofit organization was formed in February 2013, and its fundraising was successful enough to start the filming in early 2014. A lot of funds came one T-shirt sale at a time. Some came from generous donor organizations.
On her first trip to Guam for the project, Modic recalls a phone call she received in Hawaii from the President of the Bank of Guam, Lou Leon Guerrero. The bank was committing to be a presenting sponsor of the film. Soon afterward, the Guam Legislature also committed to be a presenting sponsor. After the funds that had already come from the stateside community and others, the sponsorships brought the project to life.
The first filming was in Redondo Beach, California in October of 2013. In 2014, the crew filmed on Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan over a period of nearly three weeks. The crew, also known as Click Productions, has been a great fit with the project according to Modic. While following Pale’ Eric’s direction, they have contributed new technologies and filmmaking expertise to enhance the production. On Guam they worked with Shooting Star Productions.
The film is meant for the youth, for those that must constantly explain where they’re from. Like one of our dancers who introduced herself as a person from Guam while in school. One of her classmates commented, “Is that a real place? Are you a real person?”
The film is meant for the Chamorro boy in California who said he had identified himself with the Chinese community. But he wasn’t Chinese and kids had told him he didn’t belong there. He didn’t know where he belonged. He didn’t know who he was.
The film is meant for Chamorros who live in the states, as well as the Chamorros who live on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It’s also meant for the world, who often doesn’t know what a Chamorro is.
“My father was sent to Guam, along with many other American military, to liberate it,” says Modic, “This film is for them, too.”
The final filming was on June 28 in Long Beach, California where Chamorro dance groups, Kutturan Chamoru and Uno Hit were rehearsing with instructor, Heidi Quenga. In between the dancing, students and organizers were interviewed.
The Manhita Chamorro organization expects to release the movie trailer teaser no later than October. The movie itself should be completed by Christmas.
“This documentary is to tell about their islands in the Pacific and the origin of our ancestors through the eyes and the research of Pale’ Eric Forbes,” says Modic, “And it will live forever. This, you can pass to the next generation.”
More information about the project can be found at www.IAMCHAMORRO.com.
I AM CHAMORRO film crew on its way! February 10 2015
This column was published on February 8th, 2015 by Sandy Uslander.
Original link: http://www.goisland.net/2015/02/08/i-am-chamorro-film-on-its-way/
February 21st will mark a major milestone for an important project known as I AM CHAMORRO. A crew will arrive to do two weeks of filming on Guam and the CNMI toward completing this effort.
It was just about two years ago that this project began. I remember an early conversation with the project lead, Joanne Carbullido Tabor Modic about what was barely more than an inspiration at the time. Based on the work of Capuchin Friar, Father Eric Forbes, plans were being laid for a full length Chamorro history documentary. She envisioned a widely distributed “Smithsonian quality” film to be shared with the world, and especially our dispersed Chamorros.
This project did not come about suddenly. Father Forbes has been researching and document-ing Chamorro history for more than 26 years. In 2011, he presented a full day history workshop to a Chamorro audience in Los Angeles. I was not able to make that workshop. In 2012, I at-tended two of his three workshops which were presented to capacity audiences in Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco bay area. It was at these workshops that Father Forbes was asked to create a video of his history teachings so it could be more widely shared.
The plan was commendable, but seemed overwhelming; the creation of a script, the shooting of a documentary, and a budget of at least $150,000. The non-profit, Manhita Chamorro was formed to carry out the I AM CHAMORRO project. Volunteer board members are Rex Agagas, Rich Modic, Annette Ada, Denise Perez Agagas, John Agagas and Father Eric Forbes. They went forward with little more than faith and determination.
“It was the San Diego community that gave it the springboard it needed.” Joanne Modic shared. Early supporters at a fundraiser by the Chelu organization boosted the project financially and energetically.
One of the first steps was to create a movie trailer that gave a glimpse of the final concept, and then Joanne and her team set about raising funds and securing sponsors.
I AM CHAMORRO became a common sight at Chamorro events. They sold t-shirts and other gift items. They offered sponsorships of various levels. Chamorros in the US responded, as did Chamorros in the Marianas. While Father Forbes has worked on the scripting of the film, the Manhita Chamorro team worked with supporters in both California and the Marianas to complete the needed fundraising.
The project has received assistance from all over the world. Rosanne Meno distributed I AM CHAMORRO t-shirts in Washington DC. Heidi Ballendorf and Peter Ada and others organized the September 2014 fundraiser on Guam. “I was just talking with a woman in DeMoines, Iowa who wanted to buy a t-shirt,” said Joanne when I interviewed her. There have been many big and small supporters and many stories along the way. Sorry, I couldn’t begin to share Joanne’s extensive list here.
“None of this would be possible without the generous support of individual and family benefac-tors, business and government entities. We owe them, and our entire Chamorro people, the best documentary that we can possibly create,” said Father Eric Forbes.
Despite the amount of work, the Manhita Chamorro team is glad the fundraising is being done this way. “We could have done this with three big sponsors, but this is the people’s project,” Jo-anne Modic told me. They are grateful to have received an appropriation from the 32nd Guam Legislature and major sponsorship from the Bank of Guam. Many of their contributions, howev-er, came one $20 t-shirt at a time.
Now their initial goal to complete the filming has been met. They continue to need to fundraise, however, in hopes of including more material and features. Opportunities to be a supporter of the project are on their website, www.IAMCHAMORRO. The film will include names of its sup-porters starting at the $1000 sponsorship level.
The final I AM CHAMORRO full length film is expected to be available in time for Christmas 2015.
In addition, this Guam history documentary will be featured at the Guam Festival of the Pacific Arts 2016, and the soon to be constructed Guam Museum.
Said Father Eric Forbes, “We are very excited about filming this unique documentary; unique in more than one way. We are trying to tell the story of a people, not the story of events that hap-pened in this or that place. Instead, the people are front and center in this documentary. We will look at all the Chamorros, wherever they were and now are. We will look at events, but from a Chamorro perspective and at how these events affected the Chamorro people.”
I can’t help but be impressed by how true the vision for this project has proven to be. I AM CHAMORRO will not only be a Chamorro history documentary widely distributed for Chamorros everywhere, it will be included in the Guam collection at the Washington DC Smithsonian museum.
See the article as it was published, below.
MANHITA CHAMORRO, a non-profit Chamorro cultural organization founded to produce, with Pale' Eric Forbes, a documentary of the history of the Chamorro People is pleased to announce that its presenting sponsor for the I AM CHAMORRO DOCUMENTARY is the BANK OF GUAM, The People's Bank.
The documentary, released in all formats including DVD and blue ray formats, is a story of the history of the Chamorro People, the indigenous natives of Guam and the Mariana Islands in Micronesia . An ancient people, the Chamorros have endured centuries of colonization, war and calamities. Today, Guam remains an important strategic possession of the United States in the Pacific. Till now, no comprehensive documentary has been made concerning the history of our Chamorro people. This documentary will make a monumental and historical difference for our people and generations to come. It will be a work of art, masterfully filmed and edited by Hollywood professionals.
"We are so grateful for Bank of Guam's support", says Pale` Eric Forbes, Chairman of Manhita Chamorro's Board. "Our stories are similar in that we both conceived a dream, started from humble beginnings and, because of their support, will see our dream become a reality.
The Bank of Guam is known by all as a strong supporter of Chamorro culture and language. Their contribution and the contribution of all our corporate and individual sponsors represents an investment in our culture and in our children and grandchildren's future knowledge of our culture."
About the Bank of Guam
Bank of Guam was first conceived as a dream and aspiration in the early 1970s by its founder and former Chairman of the Board, Mr. Jesus S. Leon Guerrero. During the time he was a vice-president in Guam for Bank of America, Mr. Guerrero grew concerned that the banking needs of many within the community were not being adequately met.
Because of his dedication to the people of Guam and the other islands of the region, he resolved to take the risk of starting a new, locally organized bank. After securing a commitment for deposit insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Mr. Guerrero literally went door-to-door, offering Bank of Guam stock for sale. When the Bank was officially chartered on March 13, 1972, what had started as a dream became a reality.
From its humble beginnings in a pre-fabricated building in the heart of Hagatña, Bank of Guam quickly grew into one of the island's most prominent success stories. As Guam 's economy expanded, the Bank prospered, taking an increasing share of the market for both deposits and loans. Despite the setbacks of the recession during the late 1970s and early 1980s, a more permanent structure replaced the original facility as the Bank's headquarters and additional branches were opened to better serve its growing customer base.
The People's Bank
2014 marked the 42nd Anniversary of the Bank of Guam. Now with a network of 24 branches and over 80 ATMs throughout the Western Pacific, Bank of Guam has consistently proven itself to be a successful, dynamic organization with the sophistication to handle the most complex of its customers' domestic and international financial needs. At the same time, it has maintained its status and perspective as a community bank, treating each customer with personal attention and sensitivity. That is why customers know Bank of Guam as "The People's Bank"… personal in style, international in capacity.
About Pale` Eric Forbes
A MAN OF GOD......A MAN FOR HIS PEOPLE
Pale' Eric Forbes, whose cultural advocacy and research credentials are well-known, will not only narrate the documentary but will also decide its content, which will cover, in broad but essential strokes, the entire history of the Chamorro People, from our remote origins in the past to the present reality including the story of those Chamorros who live outside the Marianas.
Pale' Eric was born and raised on Guam . From an early age, he made Chamorro culture, language and history his passion. After obtaining a BA in History from San Francisco State University and a Master of Divinity degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley , CA , he became a Capuchin Franciscan priest. He returned to Guam and has worked in the Marianas ever since. For 26 years, he has interviewed countless people and researched in archives and libraries all over the world, gathering a huge collection of historical data.
He is an acknowledged historian of the Chamorro people, especially in the area of local church history and is frequently called on to write articles and speak at cultural events. He maintains a Chamorro culture blog, www.paleric.blogspot.com. For several years, he created a buzz in California giving Chamorro culture workshops that created a hunger for more knowledge as people's pride and Chamorro consciousness were re-awakened.
This past year, he received KUAM TV's 2013 A'adahen i Kottura (Cultural Guardian) Award. Wherever he goes, he creates excitement and enthusiasm among our people.
A documentary of the history of the Chamorro People, the indigenous natives of Guam and the Mariana Islands in Micronesia . An ancient people, we have endured centuries of colonization, war and calamities. Today, Guam remains an important strategic possession of the United States in the Pacific. Till now, no comprehensive documentary has been made concerning the history of our people. This documentary will make a monumental and historical difference for our people and generations to come.
Supporting sponsors for the I AM CHAMORRO Documentary project include, Guam Food Services, King's Restaurants, Ruby Tuesday Restaurant, Chuck E. Cheese, AM Insurance, Mitsubishi Motors - Guam Auto Spot, Guam Visitors Bureau, Tan Holdings, DFS Saipan, Triple J Saipan, Pay-Less Supermarkets, Che'lu Inc, .St. Jude Fiesta Group, Barrigada San Roke Group of Southern California, Family Finance, Santa Rita Fiesta Group, Bay Area Women's Group and numerous $1K individual sponsors who reside on Guam and in the U. S. Mainland.
If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, we continue to seek donations from corporate and individual sponsors in order to make this groundbreaking documentary a reality. For details about the various ways of financially supporting this documentary, please contact Joanne Tabor at email@example.com. Be a part of this needed re-awakening of our pride and knowledge of our Chamorro story which will touch the hearts of thousands of people for many years to come.