Beyond Storytelling: Exploring the Military’s Role in Political Activism

By Marielena Castellanos

Moviemaking of a new kind is happening here in San Diego with a documentary film series in the works on the military industry and how it affects the city.

It’s the latest project by San Diego based filmmaker and media artist Evan Apodaca, who said the film is a hybrid of animation and different technologies he has used in previous work.

“It will be a more critical look at history, less of a commemorative war documentary,” Apodaca said.

Apodaca’s first film “Que Lejos Estoy” was an animated documentary in 2015 which aired on PBS and received over 325,000 views online. It is still screening at film festivals across the nation. His last film, “El Chaparrito: The Making of Low&Slow” screened at this year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival.

Apodaca said his new film series will use an experimental approach to answer and explore several questions including the development of the city, how the military has influenced organizing locally and many other topics.

“It’s going to look different from what people have seen in films,” Apodaca said.

It’s a hybrid in that it uses fictional or narrative film based techniques for the purpose of documentary and experimental in that it’s going beyond documentary norms of storytelling and technique.

An example is the movie “Lord of the Rings,” in the behind the scenes editions, you can see a person wearing a camera mounted over their head, the camera captures all the motion and facial expressions, it then gets all of the information attached to computer generated imagery (CGI).

Apodaca’s project will use similar technology during interviews, which will involve the eventual creation of fictional characters that will be included in the documentary film series.

While the project is still in the early stages, Apodaca said he would like to see the films released individually and on different platforms. He added he’s had a lot of success with releasing films online. He would also like to see them in galleries at museums.

Apodaca is also grateful for funding from the San Diego Foundation. He is one of five artists to have received funding for an art based project just one month ago.

“There’s lots of weight to bear with these, because we’re talking about people living here,” Apodaca added.
He started the project in October of last year and hopes to complete it in March of next year.

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