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Good and evil battle it out in ‘The Lost Pueblo;’ film picks up two awards at film festival in NY

David Midthunder plays a medicine man in “The Lost Pueblo.” (Courtesy of Sanchezfilms)

David Midthunder plays a medicine man in “The Lost Pueblo.” (Courtesy of Sanchezfilms)

As a filmmaker, Tomas Sanchez aims to get as many eyes on his production as he can and tell a strong story.

This is why the New Mexico-based filmmaker took on the project of “The Lost Pueblo.”

“The Lost Pueblo,” written and produced with his son Gabriel Sanchez, was inspired by the book, “Saints of the Pueblos” by Charlie Carillo.

Sanchez produced and directed the film because he wanted to produce a movie that would have a positive story line and inspire people.

“I have been a stunt man and actor in over 65 films. I got tired of New Mexicans being portrayed in stories filled with drug addiction, drug cartels, gangs and violence,” he says. “I wanted to bring the message that hope and love conquers evil.”

“The Lost Pueblo” recounts the story of one of the pueblos that revolted when the Spanish settlers came to New Mexico.

Set in modern day New Mexico, two best friends and co-workers – Tomas, played by Andres Segura, and Calvin, played by Jeremiah Bitsui – are going to survey land for a new casino.

They talk about a local legend in which forgotten saints haunt the land in search of their churches and people. The characters encounter good and evil, including a fierce battle between saints and the devil.

The film reveals the rich, composite tapestry of New Mexico culture and history in a story that features Catholic saints interacting with northern New Mexican Hispanic, Pueblo Indian, and Anglo characters. The characters each speak in their own languages.

The film recently screened at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival in Buffalo, N.Y. On Aug. 20, the film received two awards – one for best special effects (short) and one for best sound.

“I am very honored that ‘The Lost Pueblo’ was selected for two awards. Jeremy Shabo did an amazing job with the soundtrack. Brendan Hawkins was our sound designer, and Bayard Carey mixed the sound on-set,” Sanchez says. “We were also blessed that our special effects team, Nick and Zack Young of Machineyes, treated this short film with the same level of technical expertise that they employ on major feature films. I was proud that our team competed and won on a national playing field.”

Sanchez says telling the stories of New Mexicans is his focus.

“There are so many stories to be told,” he says. “It’s a cultural piece that I think audiences would be interested in.”

Ruby Rael wrote the screenplay, and Sanchez was the head writer.

Along with Bitsui and Segura, the film stars Monique Candelaria, Jenny Gabrielle, Carlie Grace, David Midthunder, Luce Rains, Alma Sisneros, Boots Southerland, Fabián Valle and Ava Wagenman.

Sanchez is proud that the cast and crew was 95 percent New Mexican.

“There are a lot of talented actors and crew,” he says. “This was a story about New Mexico, and I looked to hire New Mexicans to play the roles.”

Ann Lerner, the city of Albuquerque’s film liaison, is proud that the “The Lost Pueblo” filmed in Albuquerque.

“‘The Lost Pueblo’ showcases the beautiful scenery of New Mexico and the talented work of our local film crews,” she says.