Mother and Son Team Wins Honorable Mention from Sundance Grand Jury

Dominican University of California history instructor Gretchen Grufman and her writer/director son Cary Fukunaga are the duo behind the award-winning short feature film Victoria para Chino. The film was selected to show nine times at the Sundance Film Festival, receiving an honorable mention from the Grand Jury. Locally, the film is due to be shown at the Tiburon Film Festival, which is held March 11 to 17, and at the San Francisco International Film Festival, which is held April 21 to May 5.

Fukunaga, who grew up in Sonoma County, is completing a master’s degree at New York University. “He has always been passionate about social justice, which explains why he wrote the screenplay and directed the film's story which is based on an actual event in Victoria, Texas,” says Grufman. A large truck carrying a number of illegal immigrants was found abandoned. The driver, who was paid for transporting the illegal immigrants, left all those inside dead, including several women and at least one child.

Victoria para Chino was filmed in Monterrey, Mexico, and is in Spanish with English subtitles. The film also won first place in its category at the Woodstock Film Festival and audience favorite at the Austin Film Festival. It is due to be shown at local venues in upcoming months.

Producer Grufman has been teaching history at Dominican University of California for six years. Her classes include “U.S. Environmental History” and “Ancient and Medieval Civilizations.”