• BY Aaron Schock | IN Arts & Culture
    Premiered May 3, 2012

About the Film

The Ponce family circus has been living and performing in rural Mexico for seven generations. Its history dates back to the late 19th century, when Genaro Ponce founded the Circo Ponce Hermanos. Today, the circus members are still carrying on their ancestors’ traditions. But their performing days may be numbered. MORE

Tino, the ringmaster, has long been driven by his dream to lead his parents’ circus to success. He urges everyone in the family, including his four young children, to help meet this goal. But Tino’s wife Ivonne is determined to make a change. Feeling exploited by her in-laws, she regrets that her children have spent their childhoods laboring in the circus. Can Tino choose between his circus dreams and a wife who wants a better life for their children?

Filmed along the back roads of Mexico, Circo is an intimate portrait of a family trying to stay together despite mounting debt, dwindling audiences, and simmering conflict. With a marriage in trouble and a century-old tradition hanging in the balance, the Ponce family circus struggles to make a living off its artistry, sweat, and wit.

The Filmmaker

Aaron Schock

Aaron Schock holds a MA in government from Columbia University and worked for several years in non-profit community development in New York City before moving into filmmaking. His first film, Song of Roosevelt Ave. (2005), an award-winning documentary short about undocumented immigrants in Queens, has played in over a dozen film festivals around the world. Circo, his first feature, screened in more than 40 film festivals around the world, and was released theatrically in the US, Canada, and the UK in 2011. LESS

Film Credits

Produced, Directed, & Photographed by
Aaron Schock

Edited by
Mark Becker

Produced by
Jannat Gargi

Gran Circo México
Juventino “Tino” Ponce Ledezma
Ivonne Galindo Valenzuela
Juventino “Cáscaras” Ponce Galindo
Julio César Ponce Galindo
Moisés Ponce Galindo
Alexia Guadalupe Ponce Galindo
Alfredo “Don Gilberto” Ponce García
Guadalupe “Doña Lupe” Ledezma Ortiz
Gilberto “Tacho” Ponce Ledezma
Erika Ponce Ledezma
Reyna Irene Ponce Ledezma
Alejandra García Tirado
Naydelín Virgen Ponce

Original Score by

Joey Burns - Guitars, Cello, Upright Bass, Mandolin, Keyboards
John Convertino - Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, Keyboard
Marco Rosano - Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Melodica
Jacob Valenzuela -Trumpet
Naim Amor - Violin

Recorded by
Chris Schultz

Mixed by
Craig Schumacher

Assistant Editor
Viviana Díaz

Editorial Consultants
Richard Hankin
Paola Gutiérrez-Ortiz

Language Consultant
Paola Gutiérrez-Ortiz

Written by
Aaron Schock & Mark Becker

Sound Edit and Mix
Ron Bochar
Lidia Templenizza

Chad Birmingham

Will Cox

Graphics by
Kristyn Hume

Filmed in the Mexican States of

Thank You
Circo Dunbar
Circo España
Circo García
Grayson Craddock
Film Independent
Carlos Gutiérrez
Independent Film Project
Justine Jacob
Connor Kalista
James Longley
Lorena Luciano
Nadine Maleh
Albert Maysles
Dan Pepper
Filippo Piscopo
Thom Powers
David Redmon
Ashley Sabin
Marya Schock
Lorca Sheppard
Timothy K. Smith
Renee Stonebraker
Jaime Omar Yassin

Major Funding Provided by
New York State Council on the Arts
Jerome Foundation
The Paley Center for Media

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Circo is a co-production of Hecho A Mano Films
and The Independent Television Service (ITVS)
with funding by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This program was produced by Hecho A Mano Films which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2010 Hecho A Mano Films LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Do you think the Ponce family’s way of life can survive into the 21st century?