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April 15, 2016

SVSU to show new PBS film searching for 'The Head of Joaquin Murrieta'

Saginaw Valley State University will show filmmaker John J. Valadez' new PBS documentary, "The Head of Joaquin Murrieta," Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. in Wickes 115.


The event is free and open to the public. A panel discussion featuring the filmmaker will follow the screening.


The film follows Valadez' quest to find the remains of Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary Mexican outlaw. In the summer of 1853, Murrieta was killed by bounty hunters who put his head in a jar and displayed it across California, charging spectators $1.


The film embarks on a cross-country road trip through history, memory and myth to bury the head of Murrieta and finally lay to rest a dark and troubled past — one that has chilling parallels with the filmmaker’s own family story.


"The Head of Joaquin Murrieta" is an entertaining and often disturbing tale that tears open a painful and long-ignored history: the lynching of Mexican-Americans in the southwest.


Valadez has produced and directed award-winning films and documentaries for both PBS and CNN for 14 years. Other films he has directed include "Passin' it On," "The Last Conquistador" and "High Stakes Testing."


Valadez will participate in the event’s panel discussion. He will be joined by Joseph Guzman interim director of Chicano/Latino Studies at Michigan State University; Elsa Olvera, program director for SVSU’s Gear Up; and Rosa Morales, Region 6 director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


Daniel Soza, president of the Saginaw chapter of Latino Leaders for the Enhancement of Advocacy & Development (LLEAD), will moderate the discussion.

SVSU partnered with LLEAD to bring the film to the campus. The project was funded by the Gerald R. Beckwith Constitutional Liberties Fund.


For additional information, please contact SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs (989) 964-4068 or Soza at (989) 708-2263.