ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was two years of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
During that time, Erin Hudson and Chris Jonas were able to see a different side of New Mexico.
The pair worked on their latest documentary, “Our Time Is Now,” in Farmington, Acoma, Deming, Portales and Torreon.
Their documentary is set to air nationwide on PBS stations across the country. It will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 on KNME PBS, Channel 5.1.
“I’m really excited that audiences will get to see a side of New Mexico that goes unseen,” Hudson says. “It’s great to have this opportunity on such a big scale.”
“Our Time Is Now” is a character-driven, coming-of-age story that shares the lives of six rural New Mexican students as they work toward finishing high school, wrestle with personal challenges and pursue their dreams.
Hudson says she got the idea for the documentary when she realized that low graduation rates and poverty were problems in the state. She says when the problems are examined through the lens of rural students, a dynamic and more complex set of human narratives emerged.
“There is struggle in every community,” she says. “What was great is that each community welcomed us with open arms. We were able to have full access into the students’ lives.”
The documentary follows Waylon from Torreon, who is Navajo and lives without running water or electricity and helps provide the basic needs for his family; Jimmy from Farmington, faces the challenges of poverty and lives with a family torn apart by addiction; Juan, from Portales, balances his English-speaking school and his Spanish-speaking home; Mitch, from Acoma, stays rooted in her Pueblo traditions as she works hard to be the school’s valedictorian; Vicky, from Deming, lost her mother and must hold down a fast food job to help support her family; and Tiqua, also of Deming, must separate from the stability of her fifth-generation farm family.
Jonas says 80 students from five high schools participated in filmmaking and storytelling workshops during their junior year to help shape the documentary.
He says as the film started to take shape the number of students was reduced.
“What was great about this is that we had the opportunity to see where the stories were going,” Jonas says. “Nothing was forced and it was all done in a very organic way.”
Jonas says he’s excited to have the stories of New Mexican’s told to a national audience.
“The kids graduated with the film,” Jonas says. “We followed them around until May 2012 and now the film is taking the next step.”
Hudson says it was always a dream to make a film capturing the high school experience.
“It was important to find these students who had these amazing journeys,” Hudson says.
Hudson says the editing was done as the movie was filmed.
“That was an interesting process because that’s where the stories came to life,” Hudson says. “It was a tedious job, but it also made it a lot easier for me to do.”
Short segments of this program will air on PBS stations nationwide in conjunction with “American Graduate Day” at noon on Sept. 28 on Channel 5.1.
Get ready to party: After a summer hiatus, “The After After Party” variety show kicks off its new season with a live taping from 2-6 p.m. today at the Wool Warehouse. Producers plan to tape three shows that afternoon and admission is free.
Hosted by actor/comedian Steven Michael Quezada, the popular nighttime show has featured everyone from local comedians, musicians and personalities to the stars of the hit TV series “Breaking Bad.”
“We’re excited to get the show up and running again and get working on the new season,” said Quezada, who plays Steve Gomez on “Breaking Bad.”
The first show features actor Steven Gantt, who starred on Showtime’s “Gigolos.” Also appearing are comedian Curt Fletcher and musical guest Saving Damsels. The second show features Albuquerque comedian Matt Peterson and musical guest BlyndDryve.
The third show features New Mexico actor, writer and comedian, Marc Shuter and comedian Keith Breckenridge and musical guests THE SET. The show airs every Saturday night at 12:30 a.m. on the local NBC.