Monday, April 15, 2013

Weaving the Past

BeansTalk Speaks With Husband and Wife Producing Team
Shelley Morrison and Walter Dominguez

By Alex Stedman
BeansTalk Contributor

While many are interested in their ancestors and make efforts to find out about them, few make their years-long journey and make it into a documentary for the public, which is just what filmmaker Walter Dominguez did.

Dominguez and Morrison at the Genesis Awards
Dominguez, with the help of wife and executive producer Shelley Morrison (Rosario in NBC’s “Will & Grace”), made “Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery” based on his effort to find out about his grandfather’s life. At first, Dominguez simply knew his grandfather, Emilio Hernandez, to be a compassionate, admired pastor in the community. Once he looked into the story of Hernandez’ mysterious past further and interviewed family members and others who knew him, he discovered a complex and dark early life. He documented the journey and made it into the 2-hour documentary.

“When I began, it was not with the intention to make a feature film,” Dominguez said. “But by the end of the process of discovering things about my grandfather’s early life and talking to people about his later life as well, I realized that it was a story that could be shared with the public.”

Dominguez’s past film credits include working with legendary directors such as Stanley Kramer and Robert Wise (“The Sound of Music,” “West Side Story”), but he took a 20-year hiatus from filmmaking prior to “Weaving the Past,” which took quite a bit of time itself.

The film took nearly 12 years to make and the couple funded the film with money from their own pockets so Dominguez could offer the creative version that he saw for the documentary.

“You can’t make these kinds of discoveries in a month, or even in a year,” Dominguez said. “Some things, you have to keep at it and it takes time for things to unfold.”

They described the making of the film has a highly emotional experience in itself, and they had to deal with further emotional trials then as well. Dominguez’s step-grandmother, who served as an instrumental interview during the film, passed away, as did his father. In addition, Morrison was busy with “Will & Grace” at the time and also had to undergo cancer surgeries. Still, while Dominguez said there were times when he wanted to give up, the film’s message kept them going, as did their relationship, which will be 40-years long in August.

“I put my money where my mouth was,” Morrison said. “I believed in him.”

Morrison believed that finding out all Dominguez did about his grandfather made him stronger and gave him the courage to keep going with the film.

The two also have another project coming up. They’ve been working together to make a series based on the history of Los Angeles. They have already interviewed 17 people and Dominguez said the series won’t be a very academic look at the history, but rather, a “character-driven” series. However, they’ve been focusing mostly on “Weaving the Past” recently.

They have already had a private screening of the documentary and they said many of the audience of 160 people were inspired to take on similar journeys of their own. They also have taken on using the film to raise funds and awareness for certain social issues.

Both are members of the board of Social Justice in Los Angeles. They will have a screening and benefit for the film on Saturday, May 18, at the Linwood Dunn Theater of the Motion Picture Academy’s Mary Pickford Center, in which all the proceeds from tickets and donations will go to the Museum of Social Justice. They also rented the theater themselves, along with funding the entire film with their own money.

“We’re not going to get rich,” Morrison said. “That’s not the point. The point is that we love what we do, we’re committed to what we do. We want to add something to the cinema experience and not add to the confusion of the world.”

They’re having a series of screenings and hope to show the movie at a film festival in the future. For more on events and to buy tickets for the May 18 screening and benefit, visit

at the elegant
Linwood Dunn Theater of the Motion Picture Academy’s
Pickford Center, in Hollywood, CA
1313 Vine Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90028
May 18, 2013
6:15pm – Red carpet, wine & hor d’ oeuvre reception
7pm – 9pm – Screening
9pm – 10:30pm – Coffee & desserts
Cocktail attire
Seating Is Limited
Please arrive on time due to Security Check – Photo ID Required
Benefit supports the
Los Angeles United Methodist Museum of Social Justice’s
Exhibits & Educational Programs
Plan to attend the benefit preview screening of the feature documentary,
“Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery” – a new film with powerful social justice
themes interwoven with one man’s quest to uncover his grandfather’s early life’s secrets.
The film is already garnering acclaim as one of the most moving and inspirational
documentaries in years. All proceeds from this elegant evening’s screening and reception
will support the historical exhibits and educational outreach programs of this new and
innovative museum located in the heart of Los Angeles’ historic birthplace at Olvera
Street and the Los Angeles Plaza.
To purchase tickets by check make payable to:
The Museum of Social Justice
714 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 922
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Memo: Benefit Screening
For Further Information and Inquiries contact:
Leonora Barron (213) 749-0212 ext. 4#,