Wendell Fuqua and Alex Velez
From left, Wendell Fuqua and Alejo "Alex" Velez
with their Telly Award

Video about the life of Emma Tenayuca garners film award

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(Aug. 16, 2006)--For their creativity, attention to historic detail and command of lighting, sound and video production, Wendell Fuqua, director of media production at UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures, and videographer Alejo "Alex" Velez have earned a prestigious Telly Award for a nine-minute video about the life and contributions of the late West Side activist Emma Tenayuca (1916-1999).

The short docudrama combines actual photos with recreated scenes of monumental moments in the life of "La Pasionaria de Texas."

Telly Awards honor the best in the noncommercial, nonbroadcast film industry. This year, there were more than 13,300 entries from advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments from across the world.

Visitors to UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures can watch the video at varying show times in the Bluebonnet Puppet Theater. It is the second in a series titled "Texans One and All." The first was based on the life of local opera singer Josephine Lucchese.

John L. Davis, executive director of the museum, said the video is an important part of the museum.

"This documentary is a wonderful achievement and a splendid part of the business of the Institute: telling the stories of the peoples of Texas," Davis said.

In addition to eight days of filming around the city, Fuqua and Velez had to pool together resources on a tight budget.

They purchased some of the period clothes and hats at local thrift stores, solicited family members for donated props and asked co-workers to fill in as characters and extras. They also used inexpensive camera filters to achieve a "soft sunlight" look for the historical reenactments.

"We had to jump through quite a few hoops to get this done on the cheap," Velez said.

Fuqua added, "Earning a Telly made it all worth it, though. The judges for the Telly award are working professionals like Alex and me. It's always encouraging to have your work validated by your peers."

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