My Story

- A note from Jenna

Creating a film about my dad’s life and career has been my lifelong goal. To this day, it remains my supreme dream. Where there is a will, there is a way, and I know in my heart someone out there knows how I can make this dream come to life. I can trace the dream as far back as early childhood. Film crews and reporters frequently visited our family home in Espanola, NM. From national networks, to small local newspapers – they were always there for one reason – to meet my parents and learn about my dad’s remarkable journey as an artist.

In the early years, I knew the presence of those reporters meant my sister and I had to play quietly. (The smart crews kept us quiet with bribes of forbidden treats like Cheetos and chocolate bars.) But as the years passed, my curiosity slowly simmered. I remember peering around the corner of our kitchen and into the living room, where strangers set up lights, cameras or tape recorders.  One day, I finally realized that these people had the best jobs in the world. They got paid to meet strangers and tell stories.

I decided early, I would pursue a career in journalism. As my career unfolded, so did a very persistent idea. I knew in my heart that it was my destiny to share my father’s story. I wanted to share his story in a way that maybe others couldn’t. I wanted people to see the things that maybe reporters with deadlines didn’t have time to dig into. Or maybe the things that only a child recognizes about a parent -- the most beautiful things that only family members know about each other. 

As years passed and my career continued, I admittedly procrastinated. My procrastination was fear-based. After all, my greatest fear was that perhaps I would fail my parents – that the piece I’d end up creating wouldn’t be worthy of their life stories or even match the way I see them – or match the way I feel about them and the remarkable journey they created together. But time and life have a funny way of guiding us. In the fall of 2015, in the matter of 3 months, I lost three very important people in my life. It became more apparent than ever that time is never on anyone’s side and that nothing is promised, not even tomorrow. I realized waiting one more day could result in a lifetime of regret. As scared as I was, I listened to the words that have echoed in my mind and heart for decades – the words that my father, himself, lovingly drilled into my head for as long as I can remember. He’d say, “Jenna, you can do anything you want, you can be anything you want. All you have to do is try. Anything is possible.” He was living proof, that yes, anything was possible and so I knew that he absolutely meant what he said. How could I pretend his words weren’t true, or that I might fail? In that reflective moment I realized that regardless of the outcome, I needed to try.

I worked up the courage to quit my job and saved enough money to invest in the piece that led you to this web site. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. After speaking to and meeting with directors of photography Bill Stengel and Seth Fuller, I knew I found the team that would help me achieve this goal. I am thrilled to partner with them on this project because they’ve manifested the visions from within my imagination and made them real. They took a script and helped me turn it into something that surpassed my expectations. When we finished working on the short piece you hopefully just watched, I knew that my dream might actually have a chance at becoming more than just a figment of my imagination. The next step is to create a full-length feature piece. While I funded the short “preview version” of this film myself, funding a full feature is not something I am capable of (but I’m continuing to buy lottery tickets just in case).

I’d love to hear from anyone who might be able to help us complete this project. I am certain that the end product will be one that everyone involved will be proud of. I hope it will be a source of inspiration for school children, veterans and just about anyone with a dream…

Talk soon!

Jenna

Me and my dad. A hat. A harmonica. Happiness.

Me and my dad. A hat. A harmonica. Happiness.