UTRGV Documentary Earns Telly Award


UTRGV Documentary Earns Telly Award

"And Then the Soldiers Were Gone" Telly Award-winning crew
“And Then The Soldiers Were Gone” production crew Jenny Galindo, production assistant; Ivette Vargas, host; Juan Torres, gaffer; Isaac Garza, lead camera op for host shoots; Melissa Ochoa, assistant producer; and Mario Deleón, camera op, co-editor and production lead. (UTRGV Courtesy Photo)

UTRGV’s Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools has won a Bronze Telly Award for its documentary “And Then the Soldiers Were Gone.”

The winning documentary focuses on the history of Fort Ringgold, the former military base in Rio Grande City turned school, through stories from the residents.

Nick Taylor made the submission to the Telly Awards. He was in shock upon receiving the email that the film had won a Telly, he said.

“This documentary turned out the way we envisioned it,” Taylor said. “The first time I saw the people of Rio Grande City watch it – they said, ‘This is us. This is who we are’ – I knew we had something special. I knew it was something that needed to be promoted and pushed.”

The documentary film crew includes:

  • Roseann Bacha-Garza – lead researcher, CHAPS program manager, UTRGV part-time lecturer
  • Mario Deleón – production lead, owner of Damaso Creative
  • Valerie Guerra – researcher, interviewer, UTRGV history student, Engaged Scholar
  • Christopher Miller – executive producer, CHAPS co-director, UTRGV history professor
  • Melissa Ochoa – assistant producer, writer, UTRGV alumna
  • Russell Skowronek – executive producer, CHAPS co-director, UTRGV professor of history and anthropology
  • Nick Taylor – producer, lead writer, camera op, co-editor, UTRGV lecturer II of Broadcast Journalism
  • Jamie Treviño – script research, first draft, UTRGV communications student and Engaged Scholar
  • Ivette Vargas – host

Skowronek said documentaries like this one really do showcase the Valley’s uniqueness as well as how much unknown history there is.

“We realize that film can focus the attention of a population to say, ‘I want to know more about it.’ When we have a film like ‘And Then the Soldiers Were Gone,’ to have people say, ‘Wow, there was an army base in Rio Grande City for 100 years? Why don’t I know about it?’ Even though you drive by and see the words ‘Fort Ringgold,’ we want them to know about it. We want people to be intrigued enough to know more,” he said.

Bacha-Garza said awards for the documentary increase community pride and inspire the CHAPS team to further explore Valley stories that need to be told.

“This award means a great deal to us. It means that even though we are down here in the far stretches of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, our stories have captured the attention of more folks than we can imagine,” she said. “Not only does this award validate our passion for Rio Grande Valley history, but Dr. Taylor and his film production team are talented film producers and we are very fortunate to be working with them.”

Two other documentaries from CHAPS, “Just a Ferry Ride to Freedom” and “A Letter to Roma,” were accepted to the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase.

The CHAPS team agrees these awards and recognitions help garner positive attention for UTRGV and the CHAPS program, as well as a chance to continue to preserve regional history.

To learn about CHAPS and future projects visit utrgv.edu/chaps or contact Bacha-Garza at roseann.bachagarza@utrgv.edu.