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The Last Conquistador

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PBS Premiere: July 15, 2008


Renowned sculptor John Houser has a dream: to build the world's tallest bronze equestrian statue for the city of El Paso, Texas. He envisions a stunning monument to Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate that will honor the contributions Hispanic people made to building the American West. But as the project nears completion, troubles arise. Native Americans are outraged — they remember Oñate as the man who brought genocide to their land and sold their children into slavery. As El Paso divides along lines of race and class in The Last Conquistador, the artist must face the moral implications of his work. A co-production of Independent Television Service (ITVS). A co-presentation of Latino Public Broadcasting, Native American Public Telecommunications and KERA Dallas/Fort Worth.

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TAGS: american history, arts, hispanic, native american, public art, texas

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Film Information

The Last Conquistador (60 min.)

Premiere Date: July 15, 2008

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmakers: John J. Valadez, Cristina Ibarra Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Critical Acclaim | Fact Sheet | Press Release


John J. Valadez
John J. Valadez
Cristina Ibarra
Cristina Ibarra

It was a challenge to try to step back and not bring our own bias or prejudice to the mix, to try to be fair to all sides and to try to recognize that everybody's perspective is legitimate... ”

— John Valadez, Filmmaker


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

The Last Conquistador is more than a documentary about a big statue and the trouble it caused. It's about a struggle almost as epic as the metal sculpture itself, raising questions about the role of public art, the framing of history and racial and economic divides.”

&mdash Doug Pullen, El Paso Times

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