March 11, 2005

New Documentary About the Mexican Immigrant Experience to Premiere at the Museum of Man

“Generaciones: Three Generations of Mexican Women Immigrants,” a new documentary which recounts the lives of women from four Mexican immigrant families, will premiere to the public at the San Diego Museum of Man, starting at 3 p.m., Saturday, March 19. It will be screened regularly through May 31 in tandem with an art exhibit related to the film.

According to Filmmaker Joyce Axelrod, the film was developed to enhance understanding of the immigrant experience, celebrating the “similarities and differences among generations.”

Made in partnership the Barrio Logan College Institute, a nonprofit organization located in San Diego dedicated to providing Mexican American students with educational support, the film was co-directed by Viviana Lombrozo, a noted artist and sculptor, and Axelrod, an award winning filmmaker and teacher. It was funded with a $5,000 grant from the California Council for the Humanities California Story Fund. 

“The Museum is honored to be a venue for this important community project,” said Javier Guerrero, the Museum of Man’s Director of Curatorial Programs. “The filmmakers  have captured an accurate and poignant depiction of the Mexican American experience.”

Axelrod and Lombrozo spent months interviewing and documenting the women-including grandmothers born in Mexico, mothers who were the first generation to emigrate, and daughters born in California. Some families were also issued video cameras with which to document certain aspects of their own lives.

“The purpose of our project was to depict the lives of socio-economically disadvantaged Mexican women and show their journey to California, their challenges in integrating into a new community, their trials in maintaining their culture of origin while adapting to a new one, and the changing of immigrant women and in the rest of society as a result of these struggles,” Axelrod explains.

The project also includes “Generaciones,” an exhibit of photographs, mementos and art projects created by the families, which will be on display through May 31. Lom-brozo worked closely with the families to create art that interprets the individual ways that the families maintain their traditions and family ties. For example, one family enjoys cooking and sharing traditional foods, and their project visually depicts their family culinary history. Another family will fabricate a display related to “Escarmuza Charra,” the Mexican tradition of competitive horseback riding in which women play a key role.

Located beneath the landmark California Tower in Balboa Park, the Museum of Man — an educational, nonprofit corporation founded in 1915 — is San Diego’s only museum devoted to anthropology. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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