On November 15 at John Legend Theater in Springfield, the documentary film Guatemala: On the Edge of Discovery will be shown at a free and open to the public event.
The film is the first full length documentary by Springfield native Brent Winebrenner. Following his graduation from North High in 1976, Winebrenner went on to college and then became a CPA. But, a lifelong love of traveling and photography eventually pulled him toward a more artful career path.
“I ended up in California, I went back to school in midlife to go to a photography school named Brooks Institute and after graduation I ended up teaching there.”
Along the way, Winebrenner took on freelance work as a photographer. He says the film Guatemala, “really fell in my lap. I'd spend some time by the time in Latin America and I ended up getting an assignment for a Guatemalan tour company, and it was based in LA. I start shooting stills for them, building up a portfolio of images and then I had the opportunity to do the film and I just leveraged that initial experience.”
That experience included some extensive travel in Latin America and Winebrenner even lived in Costa Rica for a time.
“If you had never been before, it would kind of blow you away I think. The Mayan women are still wearing their indigenous dress, really colorful, elaborate tapestries and fabrics, and it's one of the things Guatemalans are known for. Certainly the ancient Maya, was one of the five founding civilizations in the world, so that ancient civilization piece is really mind bending. You’ve got the tropical forest - you go from one region to another and it's completely different.”
Winebrenner’s film is a nod to Guatemala's ancient past, but also its more recent history as a civil war torn region affected by outside influences and calamitous natural disasters.
The film’s trailer promises some visually stunning images of the country and its people. Winebrenner likens it to some of the Audubon Society movies he was shown in high school and says it’s a film that’s meant to be experienced by live audiences.
Guatemala: On the Edge of Discovery will be shown at the John Legend Theater at 7 PM on Thursday, November 15, 2018. There is no cost to see the film, which will be followed by Q&A session with the audience.