Rising Souls, Singing Scorpions is a documentary film by award-winning filmmakers Paul Espinosa and Mark Day about Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez, a southern California musician and community organizer based in San Diego. It’s a moving story of individual perseverance and an engaging tale of how art and culture can play a role in achieving justice and social change.
Our film examines how Chunky’s inspiring work as a musician is interwoven with the broader history of the U.S.-Mexican border, from the turbulent1960’s and the early days of the Chicano movement right through to today’s immigrant rights’ protests.
In his music, Chunky grapples with what it means to be a Chicano, with its joys and sorrows and constant challenges, with being rejected in the land of his ancestors (Mexico), yet not being fully accepted in U.S. society. Out of this crucible, Chunky’s music bristles with irony, prickly rebelliousness and wry humor.
The film explores the critical role which music has played in the Chicano community, energizing individuals to reach out and engage in a collective struggle. We follow Chunky from his farm worker origins in rural California to the formation of his community-based musical group – Los Alacranes, meaning “the scorpions”.
In his own musical development, Chunky has drawn upon a variety of musical traditions reflecting his own unique place in a border culture: “I began to realize that we had no borders—that you can take from both sides of the border and combine them and come up with a new style of music.”
The music of Los Alacranes was recently included in a classic Smithsonian Folkways CD highlighting songs of the Chicano movement. A reviewer described the collection as “an original and necessary document of essential American musical history.”
Much like the role which African American music played in the civil rights movement, Chunky’s music captures the spirit of a generation impelled to make major changes in their lives and their communities. The film will delve into Chicano culture and identity through Sanchez’s songs ("Trilingual Corrido "), his constant efforts to inspire young people ("Rising Souls"), his humor ("Chorizo Sandwich"), and his compelling retelling of community history ("Chicano Park Samba")
Please help us finish this film!
So far, we have completed the research and development on the film as well as approximately 30% of the filming, including an extended interview with Chunky and shoots of many performances at various venues. We have also shot selected performances of Chunky with some noteworthy performers like Los Lobos and Flaco Jimenez.
With your support, we will develop this story into a compelling, entertaining and memorable documentary. We plan to do additional interviewing of Sanchez himself as well film his childhood home in Blythe, California and to chronicle his role as a musician and organizer over the past 40 years. We have also set up a website for the project at www.ChunkyFilm.com. If you support the project, you'll receive some great gifts as a reward. Please spread the word. Remember, no contribution is too small.
What the money is for
Our $12,500 Kickstarter goal is only a part of our overall budget, but it will allow us to pay for upcoming production costs, including equipment rental, personnel, and travel to locations to conduct additional interviews. Rising Souls, Singing Scorpions is a fiscally sponsored project of the Media Arts Center, San Diego (MACSD) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization.
All funds raised will go directly towards making this film. The project was recently awarded a $25,000 Challenge Grant from the Leichtag Family Foundation in Carlsbad, California. Your support of our Kickstarter campaign will help us raise the matching funds. All contributions to the project will be matched 1:1 - doubling the impact of your donation.
- (45 days)