Our project is a documentary film about Victoria, a town in South Texas. On January 27, 2017, an executive order immediately banned citizens from several predominantly-Muslim countries from travel into the United States. Later that night, a mosque in Victoria, Texas, was burned to the ground. International media descended on Victoria, expecting to cover a story of hate. But instead, something unusual happened: the next day, almost five hundred Victorians arrived at the smoldering mosque for an impromptu peace rally. Within a week, a global GoFundMe campaign raised more than a million dollars to rebuild. The story of Victoria made headlines around the world, offering a parable of togetherness in dark times.
But what happens when the media-friendly narrative ends, and the cameras turn away? What happens afterwards, when a community is left to look at itself and ask difficult questions about its true identity? Beneath the inspirational facade is a deeply-divided town facing real challenges. How does a community overcome its age-old political, cultural, racial, and economic divides, and begin the hard work of changing itself for the better? And what happens when a local man – a young Hispanic father of two – is arrested for burning down the mosque?
Our film, A TOWN CALLED VICTORIA, asks all these questions, and follows the people of Victoria – its activists and politicians; its preachers and worshippers; its students and teachers; its community leaders and ordinary folks – as they struggle to find answers, to reach each other, to learn the tough lessons of the past, and find a new and better way forward.
(Note: We learned about AWB after another documentary that includes Li got this grant! http://awesomewithoutborders.org/grant/seeing-believing-women-direct)
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (July 2018)