The International Independent Film Awards awarded three awards to a feature documentary, entitled South Texas Gentle Men of Steel- Los Padres, written, produced and directed by William Adams high School Graduate, Armando P. Ibanez, who teaches filmmaking at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
The IIFA honored the film with three Gold Awards in the categories of directing, documentary feature and animated visuals.
In addition Los Angles CineFest juried the documentary as an official selection and is now in competition with seven other selected films in the feature documentary category, which will be decided later this month.
The International Independent Film Awards states on its website:
The International Independent Film Awards is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the many talented filmmakers and artists from around the world who share their visions in a powerful, creative and entertaining way.
“We plan to show our documentary in Alice and in Corpus Christi sometime in the near future,” Ibanez said. “We will make an announcement soon.”
The documentary is about the end of an 82-year presence of Dominican friars in Alice, San Diego and surrounding area wit the departure of the last two Dominican friars, Father Epifanio “Epi” Rodriguez and Father Benito Retortillo, who left the area in 2013. Dominican friars, headquartered in San Diego, had a powerful and lasting impact on the history and development of central South Texas, especially on how their presence assisted many Mexican-Americans struggle against injustice and harsh racism especially in Alice and other surrounding communities, Ibanez said, who is a Dominican friar of Southern Dominican Province, with headquarters in New Orleans. He also serves as Director of Radio, Television and Film in the Art, Communication and Theatre Department (ACT) and Assistant Professor at TAMUK.
“The film represents a chapter of the ongoing universal story of people grappling to understand and accept each other as equals,” Ibanez said. Ibanez is a former reporter of Alice Echo-News and of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “It is a chapter that traces its roots to the Spanish Conquista- a wrestling match of greed and brutality against equality and salvation. It is part of the universal story that began with Cain slaying his brother Abel.”
“These honors are a testament to a great crew,” he added. San Diego native and Emmy Award Nominee Joe O. Barrera of Los Angeles named by the Hollywood Reporter as a film music composer to watch, is the documentary's music composer and supervisor. In addition, award-winning editor and animator Todd Schmidt of Slidell, LA is co-producer of the film Neil De La Pena of Los Angles, director of photography and Alan Jouet of New Orleans, audio engineer.
The documentary, which was completed earlier this year, has also won prestigious awards: Award of Merit, Feature Documentary, The Accolade Global Film Competition, Award of Excellence, Feature Documentary and Award of Merit Special Mention, The IndieFEST Film Awards. Also, WorldFest-Houston International Film and Video Festival honored the documentary with a Gold Remi Award.
The film is produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a non-profit production company and by Prospect House Entertainment. Pluma Pictures board of directors are Dr. Thomas M. Hedberg, vice president, Fr. Christopher Renz, O.P., secretary, Ned Greene, treasurer, Dr. Erlinda Grey, all of Los Angeles,Fr. Bruce Schultz, O.P. Of Atlanta, Dr. James Moises and Michael Paz of New Orleans, and Laurie Scheer, Madison.