UHV to present free 'Texas Before the Alamo' movie screening, history panel
Sept. 28, 2013 at 4:28 a.m.
The Victoria premiere of the movie "Texas Before the Alamo," accompanied by a panel discussion by historians who consulted on the film, will highlight the next University of Houston-Victoria Provost's Lecture Series.
The free event Oct. 13 will focus on what life was like in the Crossroads area during the Spanish settlement of Texas. The movie was partly filmed at historical sites in Victoria and Goliad counties.
All the events will take place at the Victoria Fine Arts Center, 1002 Sam Houston Drive.
The historical panel discussion will begin at 5 p.m., and the movie will start at 7 p.m. A reception will be held in between at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend the whole event or come just for part of it. No advanced tickets are required.
"Texas Before the Alamo" is directed and produced by Bill Millet, of San Antonio. It is about the founding of Texas and the Spanish who established missions, presidios and trails. Those missions included what is now the Mission Espiritu Santo State Historic Site in Goliad, the Alamo and other missions in San Antonio.
The film tells the stories of Spanish soldiers and Franciscan priests in the struggle to keep France from settling Texas and reaching the source of Spain's power - the silver mines of northern Mexico.
Actors answer historical questions along the way, such as who named the rivers in South Texas, how the El Camino Real de los Tejas trail got its name and why the Spanish permanently settled in Texas during the early 1700s when the region possessed no mineral wealth.
"The rich Mexican-American culture in the U.S. descended in part from Spanish Texas and was manifested by the establishment and unveiling of the prominent Tejano Monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capital Building in 2012," Millet said. "This film is an outreach of that project and the efforts of early Latina historic preservation activists."
Several Texas historians and Mexican descendants of Spanish soldiers appear in the two-hour movie. The scenes were improvised with the help of historians on site during filming. Millet went to great lengths to make it as historically accurate as possible.
Some of the historians who helped with the filmmaking will talk about the experience in the panel discussion. Historians scheduled to appear are Felix D. Almaraz Jr, history professor emeritus at the University of Texas at San Antonio; Robert Shook, retired history professor at Victoria College and co-author of "Victoria: A Pictorial History;" David Urbano, social studies teacher at Patti Welder Middle School; and Rufus Davis, chief of the Adai Caddo Indian Nation.
The film will be broadcast on public television stations in 2014 in conjunction with the release of a companion book by Almaraz and a CD of the music of Spanish Texas produced by Millet and Louis-Marie Fardet.
The final scenes from the movie were filmed in March in Placedo, where in the late 1600s Robert Cavelier de la Salle established the first French and European settlement near Garcitas Creek in what would become Texas.
Other scenes were filmed in Guerrero, Coahuila, Mexico. Millet helped connect Victoria and Guerrero city leaders. A delegation of Victoria leaders traveled to Guerrero last year to meet with Mexican officials about the union of the two towns and to tour historic mission sites. A Guerrero delegation visited Victoria soon thereafter.