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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #5: Retrospective - May Day! or: Two Americas (2006)

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

To commemorate my start as a filmmaker 15 years ago, I am sharing a retrospective series of write-ups dedicated to my past short film work that includes brief commentary for each short film as well as a few "fun facts" about their creation.

4/16. May Day! or: Two Americas (2006)

On May 1st, 2006, in downtown Orlando, Florida, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demonstrate their solidarity with groups nationwide to call for a fair and just immigration reform policy in the United States.

The first of four politically-charged vignettes I've made. In this case, intended to lend a fiery air to the documentation of a massive and historic immigration reform rally.

Fun Facts:

• The orchestral music used in the short film is a prelude from one of my favorite operas, Richard Wagner's Siegfried. The opera is based on a Norse myth about a fearless young warrior on a quest to slay a gold-hoarding dragon and free a beautiful damsel.

• During shooting, I was briefly stopped and questioned by what I was told were Homeland Security officers for aiming my camera at more than just the protesters, taping from behind the streetside barriers (hey, I've gotta get my shots) and, also according to them in an unsurprising admission of racial profiling, doing it all while looking like a (dashing, young) Middle Easterner. At 1:20, you can see one of the officers alerting another over my heinous actions. They eventually cleared me, told me to stop my recording and let me on my way. But that didn't stop me as you can see. Honestly, I think the officers were just trying to intimidate me and make up for their *ahem* shortcomings by identifying themselves as Homeland Security.

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