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Professor's feature film wins best documentary award

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The London Independent Film Awards awarded Best Documentary for April 2018 to the feature documentary, South Texas Gentle Men of Steel—Los Padres, written, produced and directed by Texas A&M University-Kingsville Assistant Professor Armando P. Ibáñez, director of radio, television and digital film in the art, communication and theatre (ACT) department. 

“London Independent Film Awards is a monthly competition with annual screenings, recognizing and awarding the work of independent filmmakers worldwide,” according to a description posted on “A selection of best films will be shortlisted to compete in our Grand Jury competition and screened at our annual festival held March 30, 2019 at The Roxy Bar & Screen, London.” 

In addition, the Jakarta International Humanitarian and Culture Awards awarded the documentary two Platinum Awards in the Documentary and Directing categories and a Gold Award in Editing. 

“The Festival’s mission is to promote humanitarian issues and inspire others through filmmaking and events,” states the JIHCA’s website. The festival is currently underway in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

The feature documentary, produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a nonprofit, has garnered more than 20 film awards so far. “We are very excited,” said Ibáñez. “The wins are a testament to the talented crew and the documentary’s voice. 

“Students here at Texas A&M-Kingsville are most interested in filmmaking,” he said. “They have the talent, the vision and drive to become successful filmmakers.” 

The documentary focuses on the departure of the last two friars, Fathers Epifanio “Epi” Rodriguez and Benito Retortillo, who left the country in 2013. The Dominican friars, headquartered in San Diego, had a powerful and lasting impact on the history and development of central South Texas, especially assisting Mexican-Americans in their struggle against racism. 

A licensing agreement for the distribution of the documentary was signed with Content Farm, ALLCAST Media, an international distributor, who will distribute the film via both streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime, Vudu, Amazon and Apple iTunes, and conventional venues. 

"It's truly an honor to help bring this film to audiences," said Michael Holstein, chief content officer and president, ALLCAST Media. 

The other awards won by documentary include 

• Accolade Global Film Competition, 2015: Award of Merit, Documentary-Feature Competition

• Impact Docs Awards, 2017: Award of Merit Special Mention, Editing

• Impact Docs Awards, 2016: Award of Excellence, History/Biographical, Award of Merit Special

Mention, Documentary, Religion/Ethics, Editing, Contemporary Issues/Awareness Raising, and


• Docs without Borders, 2016: Award of Exceptional Merit; Documentary-Feature Length

• Mexico International Film Festival, 2016: Silver Palm Award, Documentary

• International Independent Film Awards, 2015: Gold Award, Documentary Feature, Directing and Animated Visuals

• The IndieFest Film Awards, 2015: Award of Excellence; History/Biographical, Award of Merit

Special Mention, Christian

• iHolly Next Generation, Best Documentary

• WorldFest Houston, 2015: Gold Remi Award, Religion/Ethic/Spirituality 

The film's production crew is comprised of Todd Schmidt of Slidell, LA, producer, editor and special effects artist; Emmy Award Nominee, Joe O. Barrera of Los Angeles and native of San Diego, music composer; Neil de la Peña of Los Angeles, director of photography; and Alan Jouet of New Orleans, audio engineer.  The board of directors includes: Dr. Thomas Hedberg; Dr. Erlinda Grey; and Ned Greene, all of whom are from Los Angeles; Christopher Renz, O.P., Berkeley; Bruce Schultz, O.P., Atlanta; Dr. James Moises, New Orleans; and Michael Paz, Destrehan, Louisiana.


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