El Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez is a co-production with FOPROCINE-México. The members of this community are committed to keeping their culture alive at any cost.
Detail of the Chapel in the Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez with the figure of the Santo Niño de Atocha in the background.
Soon-to-premiere documentary feature about José Gálvez, who despite living in Los Angeles, California, has decided not to leave his almost uninhabited El Ojo de Agua ranch in Mexico. There lies the history of his ancestors, his most beloved memories and most intense experiences. Such is his determination that he has motivated others to follow in his footsteps. The documentary expresses the love that this man feels for his personal and family history, and the dignity with which he refuses to let it vanish.
El Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez is a co-production with FOPROCINE-México. We carried out the filming of the documentary during 2019 and 2021, in Ojo de Agua, Jalisco, and Los Angeles, California.
We’ll soon have information on the premiere. In the meantime, we invite you to watch the trailer for the film.
The origin of the project
The first contact we had with José Gálvez and his family was making a series of videos about the artisans behind the fine upholstery of Cisco Home, which allowed us to learn about their skills to create sofas, chairs and beds, among other furniture. On the other hand, we discovered his love for horses and what his first trade really is, that of a horseman.
Shortly after, we spent more time together with the Gálvez family when we made the documentary titled “Artesanos / Artisans” for the KCET-Link television program Artbound, where we explored the role migrant artisans play in making the city of Los Angeles a creative capital.
As we got to know each other, there came a time when José and his wife, Lucrecia, told us about their ranchería el Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez, located in the Northwest of Jalisco, very close to the border with Zacatecas; and the great effort they have made to organize, for four years, almost 1,500 miles away, the patronal festival in honor of the Santo Niño de Atocha, which gives cohesion to their community.
The old building of the Miguel Hidalgo school in the Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez.
Detail of the filming with José Gálvez for the documentary El Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez.
The Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez is a ranchería of about 15 houses that is reached by a dirt road 30 minutes from the highway. It is a unique land, full of rocks, cacti and corn fields. The few houses that exist blend in with the earth and the undergrowth. They are made of adobe and soil, and it is difficult to see them from afar because their color is the same as that of the rocks, and they are hidden or camouflaged with the landscape.
The houses are true living museums that have witnessed the lives of many generations of Mexicans. The constructions incorporate the previous buildings. For example, in a house you can find a wall of what was a kitchen in the 1900s or go through a door frame from the same period. The vestiges of architecture and past life are everywhere and are part of the current furnishings.
The experience of being in El Ojo de Agua and meeting its people shows a part of Mexico that we find very valuable. They are hard-working people with a lot of dedication to their way of life. They are committed to keeping their culture alive at any cost. It is a unique community that we have not seen in other parts of Mexico. There is a lot of love for nature, the countryside, a sensitivity to represent beauty. We think this is something beautiful, such a place is an example for our compatriots.
For us, the most valuable thing that the current inhabitants of El Ojo de Agua and those who were born there have, are their memories and their stories. They are trying to get back to them all the time. Memories contain their customs, traditions, community life, culture, the culture of a part of Mexico that refuses to disappear despite migration, the near extinction of community life, modernity and individualism.
The history of El Ojo de Agua de los Gálvez is the history of many towns in Mexico today that have been left almost uninhabited. People have been forced to emigrate for reasons such as lack of employment, neglect of the countryside by governments, lack of water. The documentary reflects on what is lost when this happens: culture, traditions and also on how affective and community relationships are damaged.