5 Questions with Sergio Chapa
Sergio Chapa is a reporter for Al Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper created by The Dallas Morning News. He grew up in Harlingen in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Oak Cliff in 2006. He recently produced the mini-documentary, Fuera del Closet: Gay Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas. It can be viewed at www.youtube.com/TXReporter or www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVv5qD1zRmE.
How did you come up with the idea for your mini-documentary?
Our mini-documentary was just supposed to be a short video collage specifically made for a panel discussion about gay immigrants at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s conference in San Diego. I received help and support from photojournalist Ben Torres Jr. and his girlfriend, Wendy Salinas. We all worked on the project together.
What do you hope to accomplish with it?
Our original intent was just to give viewers a quick glimpse into the Latino side of Dallas’ LGBT community. I think the film does that, but also provides some context and history and leaves the viewer wanting to see and know more.
What did you learn that you did not know before you took on the project?
My background is in print journalism, so this project was a very quick lesson on how film has different needs and rules. For example, print interviews are more like conversations between two people, whereas film needs to be more one-way communication. We also had to learn some fairly technical software but got the hang of it to put in subtitles, music and lay video over audio. It was fun, like back in college working on an all-nighter project.
What sort of reaction have you had from the LGBT community and others?
As it turns out, this was the first film about the LGBT Hispanic community in Dallas. We have received strong support and encouragement from the LGBT community. More than anything else, we have received requests to do a longer, more in-depth piece. LGBT Latinos were recently featured in a special on LOGO-TV, and I hear another local filmaker is doing another documentary about gay Hispanic immigrants. Obviously, interest in the subject is high, and this short film came in ahead of the crest.
What’s your next step? Do you have other projects in mind?
I would like to try to enter this project in a short film contest or maybe do the expanded version. We are definitely working with Gabi and the other entertainers featured in the documentary on another piece at the end of the month. Also, it has been in my heart to make a documentary about the “cheese” heroin epidemic that has claimed the lives of almost 30 area teenagers.
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