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The Lost Reels of Pancho Villa



"One of the strongest documentaries to come out of Latin American Cinema in the last few years." - IndieWire

"Movie-history enthusiasts, among others, will be intrigued by featurette's quest for a cinematic ‘Holy Grail’...” Variety

Intrigued by the legendary Mexican military leader Pancho Villa's little-known relationship with Hollywood, filmmaker and sleuth Gregorio Rocha goes on a search for lost footage that Villa commissioned from the American Mutual Film Company in 1914, allowing cameramen to follow him into war. The footage includes some of the first battle scenes captured in "moving pictures." Rocha documents his encounters as he scours the film vaults and back rooms of institutions across North America and Europe for the seven reels of film that immortalized Villa. His research unveils a legacy of fictional and documentary depictions of Villa dating from the silent film era, revealing a world unsure whether to venerate or to fear this imposing figure and the forces of popular revolution that he embodied.


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Selected Screenings:
-First Prize/Jury’s Choice, Black Maria Film & Video Festival
-50th Anniversary, Flaherty Seminar, 2004
-Pacific Film Archives, 2003
-27th Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival
-Guadalajara International Film Festival
-Banff Summer Arts Festival
-San Francisco International Latino Film Festival

Additional information


Digital Site License, DSL/DVD Bundle, DVD Rental, DVD Sale


Community College, K-12, Public Libraries & Select Groups, Universities, Colleges & Institutions, Violence Against Women Groups


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