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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.


It's Happening February 10 2015

Buenas yan Hafa Adai,

In just two short weeks the Los Angeles based film crew will be arriving on Guam to begin the filming of Pale` Eric Forbes' documentary about the history of the Chamorro people.


"We are humbled and excited at the same time, says Joanne Tabor Modic, President of Manhita Chamorro the non-profit organization formed just for this. Over the past two years the Officers, Board Members and countless volunteers have worked tirelessly to make our goal become a reality."


Si Yu'us ma'ase to all who have financially supported us thus far and to all the volunteers who have freely given of their time. But, we still need your help. We ask everyone to pray with us for good, dry, cool weather while the film crew is on island and, we invite you to become part of this history making event. A donation of any amount is appreciated though your individual or family donation of $1k will etch your name in history. Keep in mind, all proceeds benefit the Guam Capuchin Friary.


To donate, please contact Joanne Tabor at 310-528-6339 or visit our website atwww.iamchamorro.com

Si Yu'us ma'ase! Biba Guam and Biba Chamorro


Pale Eric Forbes and Joanne Tabor with Ray Gibson 1.14.14 January 17 2014

Interview between Ray Gibson, Pale Eric Forbes and Joanne Tabor about the I Chamorro dvd project. Click on the image to listen.


Manhita Chamorro Receives Grant from GUAM VISITORS BUREAU December 14 2013

GUAM VISITORS BUREAU CULTURAL HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH committee just awarded MANHITA CHAMORRO another sizeable grant towards the historical I AM CHAMORRO documentary film narrated by Pale` Eric Forbes.

Un dangkulo’ na si Yu’us ma’ase and thank you to everyone at GVB who made this possible.Manhita Chamorro is currently aiming its efforts at raising funds to produce this “Smithsonian quality” cultural preservation documentary based upon Pale’ Eric Forbes’ 26 years of research spanning 5 countries and the Marina Islands. Everyone and anyone who would like to see this project become a reality is asked donate.  The time is now.


A'adahen I Kottura Honor is awarded to Father Eric Forbes. November 14 2013

KUAM TV awarded PALE` ERIC FORBES the A'adahen I Kottura Honor given to recognize an individual who works tirelessly to preserve and promote our Chamorro culture. Please join me and the entire Manhita Chamorro organization in congratulating him on this achievement.

What a wonderful acknowledgement of his passion, hard work and dedication in preserving Guam's culture and history. This passion is evident by his desire to create a cultural preservation documentary titled I AM CHAMORRO. Currently in the fundraising stage, the documentary aims to preserve the diverse and unique history of the Chamorro people dating back over 3,000 years. His intent is to educate current and future generations of Guam's rich and diverse history.

Congratulations Pale` Eric on this well deserved award!
Here is the official link.