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Made possible by the John H. Mitchell Television Programming Endowment

Chicano Moratorium 50th Anniversary (1970-2020)

Chicano Moratorium
August 24, 2020 - 4:00 pm

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On August 29, 1970 in East Los Angeles, a peaceful march of over 20,000 Chicanas/os, united in protest against the Vietnam War as part of the National Chicano Moratorium movement, was violently interrupted by an extreme, unjustifiable response by law enforcement. The tragic events of that day left four dead, including prominent Mexican American journalist Ruben Salazar (killed under suspicious circumstances by a Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy’s tear gas projectile). In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the historic march, UCLA Film & Television Archive, in partnership with the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, presents a chronological selection of short works examining pivotal moments of activism in East Los Angeles—from the student walkouts for equal educational opportunities of 1968 to the Chicano Moratorium of 1970. Further contextualized by the words of Ruben Salazar, via excerpts of interviews taped the year he was murdered, our program hopes to illuminate this crucial period of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement and the bravery and sacrifice of a unified community that dared to pursue social justice in the face of institutional neglect and police violence.

Hosted by Chon Noriega, director, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema. Noriega will moderate a post-screening discussion with artist, writer and educator Harry Gamboa Jr. and Los Angeles Times staff writer Carolina Miranda. Program curated and notes written by Mark Quigley, John H. Mitchell Television Archivist.

Canción de la Raza (“Song of the People”): Show #1

(KCET, 10/14/1968)

At a time when Mexican Americans were virtually absent from narrative television, this pointed, bilingual public service telenovela earnestly attempted to examine life in East Los Angeles via the dramatization of the challenges facing a fictional Mexican American family. This debut episode concerns the Chicano student walkouts (“blowouts”) of 1968, including graphic incidents of police brutality (depicted via actual footage of the LAPD). The activism born of the blowouts would inform later community efforts in East Los Angeles, including the historic Chicano Moratorium march of 1970.

b/w, 30 min. Produced in the studios of KCET, Los Angeles, California. Executive Producer: Richard S. Scott, M.D.; Producer: Charles Polacheck; Director: Lamar Caselli; Screenwriters: Richard Duran, Abel Franco. With: Priscilla-Ann, Tina Menard, Richard Yniguez, Robert De Anda, Efrain Rodriguez, Mike De Anda.

Preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive from 2” videotape. Special thanks to Rosa Gaiarsa, María Elena de las Carreras. Video transfer at the CBS Media Exchange. Use courtesy of KCETLink. 

The Siesta is Over—excerpt, Ruben Salazar interview (1970)

Approx. 3 min. Host: Bob Navarro.

The Chicano Moratorium: A Question of Freedom (1971)

A harrowing, eyewitness documentary of the events of August 29, 1970, at Laguna Park and their immediate aftermathincluding the murder of Chicano journalist, Ruben Salazar. In contrast to biased TV news reports of the period, this student-made short offers an impassioned, unvarnished community account of the unrest and violence unleashed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in response to the otherwise peaceful march in protest of disproportionate Chicano casualties in the Vietnam War.

Color, 10 min. Producer: Nikolai Sherbin, Thomas Myrdahl. Director: Thomas Myrdahl. Cinematographer: Nikolai Sherbin, Carlos Chavez, Jose Rivera, Thomas Myrdahl, John Hunt. Editor: Thomas Myrdahl.

Use courtesy of Thomas Myrdahl.

Tempo—excerpt, Ruben Salazar interview (1970)

Approx. 2 min. Presented posthumously. Host: Regis Philbin. 

Total screening runtime: approx. 45 min.