Post production is wrapping up and the documentary “The Cheech” is heading for the film fesitval circuit. It’s one of the latest productions from the Media Production Department.
The documentary, produced and directed by Edward Tyndall, Program Coordinator and Associate Professor in Media Production in the Department of Communication & Media, came to be when the Art Museum of South Texas hosted the “Los Tejanos: Chicano Art from the Collection of Cheech Marin” exhibition in January. This exhibit became the impetus for a documentary film about Marin, his Chicano art collection and the impending opening of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art of the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, Calif.
Tyndall says he makes it a point to stay actively involved in the community, as evidenced through his pursuit of this film.
“First of all, art is a reflection of the environments out of which they come,” said Tyndall. “That’s true for film as well as for painting and photography and sculpture. … We, as documentary film makers, tend to explore the environments in which we’re operating. So, the natural fit to look as something like Cheech coming here and doing the Los Tejanos art opening, (is) for us to make a film that combined our film making pursuits with his promotion of that art, regionally and locally. I think the art itself is a reflection of the community. … It allows people to see the mediated experience on canvas of the artists that come from the community in which we live and it’s a unique cultural perspective.”
“The Cheech” is a short documentary film that will focus on Marin and his devotion to Chicano art.
“He (Cheech) has one of the largest Chicano art collections in the world, and it is going to be housed soon in Riverside, Calif. in a museum affectionately called ‘The Cheech,’” said Tyndall. “And this film is a film about him, and about how he got into collecting Chicano art, and his journey from the inception of collection all the way through to this point where this huge museum is going to be created to house it.”
The production was also able to support some local talent with Grammy nominated artist and Corpus Christi native El Dusty creating the film score. El Dusty will also be giving live music performaces at some of the festivals to help raise money for the arts.
In a teaser posted online at, https://vimeo.com/mobiusfilmsinc, viewers can get a sneak peak of the film with music by El Dusty and an excerpt from one of Marin’s interviews:
“The medium of paint is the most magical medium, I think, because of the transformative nature,” said Marin. “It can be thin, it can be thick, it can be translucent, it can be opaque. It all changes depending on who’s wielding the brush because it is the most primitive method of making art. It is inspiration in your brain, out through the arm, out through the most primitive of tools: hair on a stick. You go back to the cave paintings at Lascaux, it’s the original art form.”
Other individuals from the Media Production department contributed to the production of “The Cheech.” Nick Manley, Assistant Professor of Media Production, was the cinematographer, graduate Carlos Israel Villarreal works with El Dusty at Produce and was assistant camera operator, and graduate Carlos Flores ran sound for the film.
“The crew itself was completely born out of the Media Production program here,” said Tyndall. “That’s one of the things we try to do with this program. We try to make real films that engage actively with what’s happening regionally and sometimes nationally. And we try to provide our students with opportunities to work in that capacity, but we also insist that our professors are active filmmakers and we do have a lot of opportunities to work with our alumni and graduates quite often. That’s something that we encourage and are excited about.”
The Art Museum of South Texas also played an integral part in this film’s production by allowing for part of the film to be shot at the museum and giving an all access pass to Marin.
“The Art Museum of South Texas is a big part of this,” said Tyndall. “They provided us this unprecedented access to Cheech while he was here for the Los Tejanos art exhibit. And Joe Shank and Deborah Fullerton over there were really the ones that made that connection possible. We would have never been able to film Cheech and follow him around for several days and have an all access three-hour interview with him without their support. This is something that I also think benefits the Art Museum of South Texas, our film program, ‘The Cheech’ as a whole and the Chicano art community.”
Tyndall thinks the Media Production department is at its best point to date and credits its growth and iimprovement to President Kelly Quintanilla.
“We’re lucky to have President Quintanilla serving as the president for TAMU-CC because she has been really integral in allowing our program to grow,” said Tyndall. “I got here eight years ago and there was literally just a bunch of broken prosumer camcorders, and she has helped us develop this program into a highly competitive film program.”
The Media Production program is part of the Media Arts B.A. and allows students to branch out into multiple disciplines by taking classes in graphic design, photography and music alongside their narrative and documentary film classes.
Having this interdisciplinary approach to the program allows students to become versitale in nature and stand out in the highly competative film market.
“Every year it changes,” said Tyndall. “Our student numbers are growing, our facilities are growing tremendously and without the support of the institution, we could have never done that. So, it has really changed the opportunity for students of South Texas to train as film makers. And I think that’s important because those students have such a unique voice, it’s important for them to be able to articulate that voice and we try to give them the skills to do that.”
To stay updated on what the Media Production department is doing visit, http://cla.tamucc.edu/communication/pages/MediaProduction, and keep an eye out for “The Cheech” and other films by Edward Tyndall in the film festival circuit.