A new feature-length documentary film will tell the story of Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez, a Chicano musician and San Diego activist whose music has been a force for social justice over the last 45 years. In September, Independent Filmmaker Paul Espinosa and the Media Arts Center San Diego launched a Kickstarter campaign at chunkyfilm.com to raise the funds to finish the documentary.
"Singing My Way to Freedom" is a documentary film on the life of Sanchez and the musical group he formed in San Diego – Los Alacranes (The Scorpions). The film chronicles Chunky's life from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California to his student days at San Diego State University as the Chicano Civil Rights Movement was transforming the community.
From his involvement with the takeover of Chicano Park to his performing on Joan Baez's first Spanish language album; from an iconic photo of him crossing the border fence in Tijuana to his popular performances at Adams Avenue Street Fairs; from the formation of his band, Los Alacranes, a local favorite at San Diego demonstrations and rallies for over a quarter of a century, to receiving the National Heritage Fellowship at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
"Our film examines how Chunky's personal development as a musician is interwoven with the broader history of the U.S.-Mexican border, from the 1960s right through to immigrant rights' protests happening today," says producer Paul Espinosa. "His story proves that, when you stand up for your rights, you can truly make a difference."
Chunky's music was included in a classic Smithsonian Folkways CD that highlights songs of the Chicano movement. A reviewer described the collection as "an original and necessary document of essential American musical history."
The film is being produced and directed by Paul Espinosa whose films have won eight Emmys ("The Lemon Grove Incident," "...and the earth did not swallow him," "The Hunt for Pancho Villa," "The U.S.-Mexican War:1846-1848.").
The Kickstarter campaign has a goal of $39,000 and will run through October 6th. The money raised will pay for the costs of finalizing the documentary, including color correction, archival rights and music licensing.