Filmmaker Junior Gonzalez is promoting his documentary "Words of Revolution" about the culture of Salvadoran immigrants in the United States, with which he seeks to create a positive image for this community scarred by war.
"There are not many people who understand Salvadoran culture. Who are we? Where do we come from?" Gonzalez told Efe about the theme of his documentary.
"What I basically want to do is not just show something positive about our culture, but that people outside our culture understand us a little better, because we are regularly seen negatively as a result of the war, the street violence and the whole youth gang situation," he said.
Gonzalez, 34, is the California-born son of Salvadoran immigrants who came to the United States in the 1970s as what would turn into a full-blown civil war was brewing in their homeland.
The conflict between leftist rebels and the U.S.-backed government raged from 1980-1992, leaving more than 80,000 dead.
"My intention with the documentary is to unite Salvadorans, it's to create a feeling of unity for a culture that has been oppressed here," the artist said in an interview at a place full of significance for Salvadorans: Msgr. Oscar A. Romero Square in Los Angeles, named for the archbishop assassinated in San Salvador in March 1980.
In order to explain Salvadoran culture, Gonzalez turned to Douglas Carranza, associate professor of Central American Studies at California State University, Northridge, and writer Randy Jurado Ertll.
The director also included in his work phrases from the songs of hip-hop and rap singer-songwriters like Santos, Los Reyes del Bajo Mundo and FenomeDon.
Gonzalez has submitted "Words of Revolution" to the Sundance Film Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival, among others.
"In my documentary I spotlight what Salvadoran-Americans go through and try to counteract the negativity caused by movies and media that only show Salvadorans as criminals," Gonzalez said.
The filmmaker, who works as a cameraman and editor for KDTV 14 in San Francisco, an affiliate of Univision, has a master's degree in film and television production from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Ertll, a 39-year-old Los Angeles native, is the author of the book "Hope in Times of Darkness."
"An indie documentary helps open a window on reality and can influence young people to study, get involved in the arts or in music, and to keep making progress," Ertll told Efe about what she hopes to generate in the community of around 2.5 million Salvadorans in the United States. EFE