Latino USA continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary, bringing you conversations with some of the most influential Latinos and Latinas of the last three decades. In this episode, Maria Hinojosa catches up with pioneering filmmaker Hector Galán, who for over 40 years has been documenting our Latino communities.

In 1993, the year we went on the air, Hector Galán was one of Latino USA’s first guests. Hector was about to premier his documentary “The Hunt for Pancho Villa” on the public television program, American Experience. His documentary looked at the story of the legendary Mexican revolutionary from a Chicano perspective, in some ways correcting the dominative narrative of this polarizing figure in the United States.

By that point, Hector had been making documentaries for over a decade and had founded his own production company: Galán Inc. Since then, working as an independent filmmaker, Hector has devoted his career to telling the stories of the people he didn’t see in mainstream media — from the history of the Chicano Movement and life in colonias along the Texas border, to the rise of conjunto music and the origin of the accordion.

“One thing that’s very important to me is that I have captured our experience, Latino — not just Chicano — but Latino experience across the country in an incredible archive. I think I’m the only one that has anything to that degree of our culture and history, so I’m hoping to keep continuing to do this; creating new films and using the archives for the younger people that didn’t have any idea of what we went through, so they can learn from that and be proud of it.”

Image courtesy of Hector Galán.

In this conversation, Hector shares how he got his start as a cameraman at a local TV station in West Texas in the 1970s and how the Chicano Movement gave him a sense of identity and purpose that has stayed with him throughout all these years. After a long career making documentaries, Hector looks back at his legacy and the projects he still wants to pursue.

Featured image courtesy of Hector Galán.

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