Whitewashed Adobe Director/Producer Walter Dominguez has been invited to give a talk about documenting public history for the Public History Department at Stanford University on October 20th. Dr. Albert Camarillo, one of the key history consultants for Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles, and widely considered the Dean of Chicano and Mexican-America Studies, and Stanford’s most highly-awarded scholar, invited Walter to come meet with Stanford students who are researching a fascinating and important early California woman, Juana Briones de Miranda, and who are planning a historical exhibition about her remarkable life. Walter will discuss with them the process of gathering historical material and shaping it into a compelling narrative that can both engage viewers while opening historical vistas for them.
Walter says that one of the most interesting aspects of historical documentary filmmaking is that the filmmaker undergoes an immersion into another era and other people, having to learn as much as possible in order to get inside the historical period, and be able to get inside a historical person’s mind, motivations and character traits. He does not see that creating an interesting exhibit is much different from making a documentary film: You must above all tell a story. That story becomes more compelling and truthful the more you soak in the period and location of history being covered, and the more you learn and think about the key person or persons being depicted.