A Dominican Documentary Wins International Awards

South Texas Gentle Men of Steel - Los Padres
South Texas Gentle Men of Steel - Los Padres

South Texas Gentle Men of Steel - Los Padres, a feature documentary, won the 2016 Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival. The film was selected from among hundreds of entries from over 30 countries around the world as the competition’s very best. 

The documentary is about the end of an 82-year presence of Dominican friars in central South Texas, near Corpus Christi, with the departure in 2013 of the last two Dominican friars, Fathers Epifanio “Epi” Rodriguez, and Benito Retortillo. Dominican friars, headquartered in San Diego, had a powerful and lasting impact on the lives of many, especially on how their presence assisted many Mexican-Americans struggle against harsh racism, which bespeaks of the experiences of many in the Southwest. 

This film has also won: Award of Merit, Documentary Feature, awarded by The Accolade Global Film Competition; Gold Award, Documentary Feature, Gold Award, Directing and Gold Award, Animated Visuals, International Independent Film Awards; Award of Excellence, History/Biographical, and Award of Merit Special Mention, The IndieFest Film Awards; Best Documentary, iHolly: Next Generation Independent Film Festival; and Gold Remi Award, WorldFest Houston.

“The documentary reflects a chapter of the ongoing universal story of people grappling to understand and accept each other as equals,” says the film’s writer-producer-director, Armando P. Ibañez, a friar of the Southern Province. “It is a chapter that traces its roots to the Spanish Conquista—a wrestling match of greed and brutality against equality and Salvation."  

 “These honors are a testament to a great crew.” They are: Todd Schmidt of Slidell, LA, co-producer, editor, and special effects artist;  Emmy Award Nominee, Joe O. Barrera of Los Angeles, music composer;  Neil de la Peña of Los Angeles, Director of Photography; and Alan Jouet of New Orleans, audio engineer.

The documentary is produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a non-profit film production company, and Prospect House Entertainment.


(30 May 2016)