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Latinos Ask for Changes in IMAX Alamo Film

Times Staff Writer

Representatives of 30 San Antonio Latino organizations held a press conference at the City Hall on Wednesday demanding that “deletions as well as additions” be made on the IMAX film “Alamo . . . The Price of Freedom,” currently in production.

“The greatest danger if the content of the film is not changed will be the damaging impact it will have on the inter-ethnic progress that exists in this city today,” insisted San Antonio City Councilman Walter Martinez.

“This film in its present form has no redeeming social value. It should include a disclaimer at the beginning and end that it is a fictional account of the historical event.”

San Antonio area firms and individuals have invested $7 million in the project, $2.9 million to produce the 45-minute depiction of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s assault on the Alamo in 1836, and $4.1 million for a theater across the street from the Alamo where the film will be shown on a six-story-high 85-foot-wide screen.

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Latino organizations in San Antonio charge the movie insults Latinos and is not a true portrayal of what actually happened in the siege of the Alamo Feb. 23-March 6, 1836, in which all of the 187 defenders were killed by Mexican forces.

Producer George A. McAlister has maintained that the “the film, a docudrama, is not degrading to Hispanics or to anyone.”

McAlister has defended the film, saying that “history is debatable on what occurred at the Alamo. There are several versions on how Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett died. We tried to reflect the entire event as accurately as possible.”

Critics of the film argue, however, that some scenes are not accurate.

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“We need to address the inflammatory portrayal of Jim Bowie’s death showing him bayoneted by eight Mexican soldiers who then parade around with his body lifted up in the air at the end of their bayonets. It is contrived,” said Martinez. “That is just but one of the many scenes we object to.”

The Latino groups last week were shown a 73-minute rough-cut version of the movie. Wednesday’s press conference was a reaction to that screening.

“Unless drastic changes are made we will boycott the film and boycott San Antonio businesses who invest in its production,” said Martinez. “We ask that the producers of the film put off their scheduled March 6 opening at the new IMAX theater and sit down with us and get input from all sides to see how we can have something everyone in San Antonio can be proud of.”

Those attending the press conference speaking out in opposition to “Alamo . . . The Price of Freedom,” the Texas Cavalcade Corp. IMAX film, included the Rev. Virgilio Elizondo, rector of San Fernando Cathedral; Cruz Chavira, regional director of the League of United Latin American Citizens; San Antonio Councilwoman Maria Antonitta Berriozabal, and representatives of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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Martinez said the group has asked the producers to see a copy of the final version of the film within 30 days.


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