TAMU-CC professor Gabriel Duran collabs with Latin music and Corpus Christi legend A.B Quintanilla on upcoming film project


Courtesy of A.B Quintanilla’s Instagram

Karol G presents A.B Quintanilla with both the Musical Legacy award for producer, and the Musical Legacy award for his sister Selena Quintanilla.

Karina Garcia, Reporter

In the early stages of quarantine many of us resorted to Netflix binging and banana bread making. However, media professor Gabriel Duran was busy working alongside musical composer, director, writer, Grammy winner and Kumbia Kings musical group creator A.B Quintanilla on an undisclosed documentary series. Their current ongoing project received recognition and landed them a film deal with one of the biggest Latino owned movie studios in the United States, the Areu Bros Studios.

This all began during the early stages of lockdown when Duran had originally contacted Quintanilla to be a critic for a film festival. One thing led to another and as Quintanilla recalled, “It was crazy… I said listen I’ve got this script that I have been working on for the last twenty years. I’ve just been refining and refining and so I passed it onto Gabe and he was like ‘Dude I love it! This is what the market needs.”

Quintanilla explains how he fell in love with both his own script and  Duran’s documentary script. Still, it was a back and forth decision about who’s initial film project to launch first. “I don’t know I was just more attracted to his project,” said Quintanilla. “I told Gabe, ‘I’m going to make an executive decision here if it’s cool with you, I think that we should put your series up to bat first because we can turn it around faster.” Quintanilla’s project would have taken approximately one to two years, and that is if the coronavirus is not around.

Duran explained that working on this project has been like a bounce ball of ideas that just never stops bouncing, “It could be at three in the morning talking about the craziest thing, and it just turns into something else and it’s always a creative process that never stops.

“We are trying to establish something good, that’s the main thing. Me and A.B are not here to make money, we are here to leave a legacy of something good,” said Duran. “…leave something people can remember and say that was a good show because of this, it wasn’t because A.B was on it or because of that, it was because of the message we are trying to convey and that’s the important thing for us.”

A.B Quintanilla and Professor Gabriel Duran have been working together to bring forth a Documentary series set to film in 2021 (Professor Duran)

Additionally, Duran explained that they are in the beginning stages of this project as they assemble a team. They both hope to settle down and begin filming the documentary series in 2021, the specific details of which are being kept under wraps for now.  Although this project is Latino written and produced,Quintanilla believes that this film project will “hit-home” for many people. Yet they both recognize how this accomplishment is huge as it breaks barriers for the Hispanic and Latinx community.

Duran describes how this new generation of filmmakers execute their storytelling on screen very well but they sometimes forget to add the aspect of culture into it, something he believes can add substance to a film. “I think that in order to put your signature on it, you have to have your Latino culture represented.

“In the last twelve years only 3% of leads in Hollywood have been taken by Latinos… so representation has not been there in a long time,” continuedDuran. “…This is why Areu Bros is very important to the whole wave and whole momentum of where the culture should be going as a collective, as a Latino collective.”

“There’s a strong discrimination,” said Quintanilla as he reflected on how the music industry can sometimes bring forth a negative atmosphere. “There are people in high powers that might not look at Mexican regional music as something of intelligence when simple Mariachi songs, and simple Ramón Ayala Norteño songs are songs that mean something to us.

“All music should be respected, whatever type of music it is but unfortunately it is not. So yeah being Latino is a challenge not only in the music world, but it’s also a challenge on the film side,” saidQuintanilla.

Fortunately they remain optimistic as the future looks bright for the path of Hispanic and Latinx representation in both the music and film industry. Quintanilla is paving the way by having sold over 80 million albums worldwide, recently coordinating the Selena Tribute as an executive producer and taking home the Premio Juventud for Musical legacy that same night. Duran is an award winning filmmaker and has directed several successful film festivals and co-founded the Vivid Vita Events.

“I think 2021 is going to be an incredible year for Latinos,” added Quintanilla.