My Bolivia can be watched on the World Channel site until January 8, 2018

Michael Fox, writing in KQED Arts

A filmmaker and historian, Rick Tejada-Flores has made a nice career out of telling other people’s stories: Cesar Chavez (The Fight in the Fields), Diego Rivera (Rivera in America) and José Clemente Orozco (Orozco: Man of Fire), among others. Like the vast majority of documentary filmmakers, the veteran East Bay producer-director and all-around mensch was deeply allergic to stepping in front of the camera and making himself the subject. Ultimately, he realized he had no choice in order to recount his family’s saga in Bolivia.

The patiently probing and highly rewarding My Bolivia, Remembering What I Never Knew traces the strands of the Tejada clan from La Paz to Los Angeles (where the filmmaker was born) back to La Paz and on to the isolated rural countryside. Tejada-Flores’ personal journey expands into a mini-history of Bolivia in the 20th century, an edifying and gratifying development for viewers (like this correspondent) whose entire knowledge of the landlocked South American country was gleaned from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Tejada-Flores informs us at the beginning of My Bolivia of his ancestors’ prominence: He knew as a small boy that his grandfather had been president (José Luis Tejada Sorzano, from 1934 to 1936). But he was intentionally kept in the dark for decades about the ways in which the Tejadas gained—and lost—their wealth and influence. It’s a shocking legacy, and how Tejada-Flores decides to handle it gives the one-hour doc its transcendently bittersweet ending.

Interview on Chronicles of La Raza, with Julieta Kusnir, starts at 19:50

For those who speak Spanish, here’s my first Spanish interview, with Samuel Orozco on Radio Bilingue’s Linea Abierta

Other Reactions to MY BOLIVIA
Following are a few of the comments from the United Methodist Bolivia Missionary Reunion on July 21, 2017 in Little Rock, AK.   Full disclosure — one of my brothers was born in a Methodist Hospital in Bolivia.

A multi-generational systemic burden was lifted by the combination of truth and reconciliation through an act of restitution. We are more free when others are also free.

We don’t always see the perpetrators at the top; we came in and worked with the people on the bottom. It was very interesting to see how the patrones felt.

I didn’t know anything about Afro-Bolivians and their history. I didn’t realize there was such a caste system.

I particularly appreciate that your position of non-violence comes through clearly, and that you do not sugarcoat war, but portray it realistically for what it is.