The award-winning documentary Calavera Highway, produced and directed by Renee Tajima-Peña, will screen on Monday, October 19, at 7 p.m. at the Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz.
The free screening, which is sponsored by Porter College, will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Tajima-Peña, a professor and graduate director of the Social Documentation Program in community studies.
Calavera Highway is a sweeping documentary about Tajima-Peña's husband's family that explores the meaning of masculinity, fatherhood, Mexican-American identity, and family ties. It follows Armando Peña, a veteran of the 1968 Chicano student walkouts, and his brother Carlos, as they carry their mother's ashes back to South Texas and reunite with their far-flung brothers. Calavera Highway traces the family odyssey as the Peñas learn why their mother was an outcast and what happened to their father, who disappeared during "Operation Wetback," the 1954 U.S. government program that deported more than 1 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
Calavera Highway was named best feature documentary during the San Diego Latino Film Festival, and Tajima-Peña received the Golden Gate Award for best long-form documentary from the San Francisco International Film Festival. It was selected for national broadcast by PBS from more than 1,000 entries and was named the best drama documentary at Atlanta Docufest. It also received the Silver Hugo Television Award for best history/biography.
Tajima-Peña is the award-winning filmmaker of Who Killed Vincent Chin? A founding faculty member of the UCSC graduate program in Social Documentation, Tajima-Peña teaches documentary film making and video production. Her work focuses on Asian American and immigrant communities, media, and social change.