Guitar Holiday Director’s Statement

Ever since I had the idea to make this movie, after a trip to Mexico, my life has changed in many ways. When I returned to San Francisco, I enrolled in a documentary film production class at San Francisco's Film Arts Foundation. My instructor, George Spies, has become my mentor and close friend. He and his sound recordist girlfriend, (now wife) Elise Hurwitz returned to Mexico with me to shoot Guitar Holiday. We shot thirty six hours of MiniDV tapes of the Mexican National Guitar Festival. We captured concerts, parades, contests, dancers and guitar makers in their shops. Everyone was very welcoming and gave us free
access to anything we needed. George, a veteran of many shoots, said it was the most fun movie he had ever worked on.
Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes has spoken about the hispanicization of the United States. I hope that Guitar Holiday is an example of this process, that is a caucasian film maker making a truly mexican movie, and at the same time easing this transition by increasing understanding of mexican culture. Most Hollywood movies portray latin americans solely as bandits, drug dealers and soldiers. By seeing Mexican craftsmen at work and townspeople enjoying a traditional festival, I hope audiences see an authentic slice of Mexican life.
The editing process was educational and long. I listened to some very experienced film makers who assisted me in shaping the movie. When I had a one hour version, it still didn’t seem right, so I hired Ryan Firpo to do some editing. He cut the movie to 43 minutes. He improved the movie by cutting out excess that I did not have the heart to do. I indulged myself a little bit by putting back 3 minutes he had cut and I am very pleased with the final result. The titles by Claude Dietrich and the narration by Carlos Bolado are two aspects where professionals pitched in and gave me a great result.