Timing Is Everything - So Is The Debriefing

Emerging from a long hiatus away from the project I spent 8 years on, I am ready to once again march ahead by mentioning the status of The Price of ProteKt.

Two years ago I took on a big challenge. The emotional toll it took on me, was crippling.  And, I was still left with facing reality of finding the funds for editing and to pursue the end of documenting the journey.  The haunting question, "how am I going to get this story finished?" keeps looming.  What was worse, however, was the debilitating trauma I was left with after I arrived as a solo traveler in 3rd world Latin American countries.  I disrupted the status quo among my friends which knew me as a professional costume designer or social media blogger. But, by devoting myself to taking on the story of Latina American women survival, it led me to feel misunderstood by my fellow film colleagues as to my intentions for my choices.  They asked if I had done this for news outlet, or if I was hired to discuss costumes.  Upon returning to the safety of my own country, nobody seemed to understand what danger I actually put myself through in order to get this story shot. 

While I moved across the country so I could be closer to the industry that feeds my soul - show biz, traveling by backpack in Central America was actually so life threatening that I should have done a debriefing.  I never did. It was a profound experience which left me curious and inspired to share with the world, yet I was mentally exhausted.  The situations in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua I harrowed through were politically deeper than I had expected.  Sadly, I never cleared my head of the drama that impacted my decisions then that both helped me survive, as well as to those choices I took upon arriving here safely in the US.  Uprooting myself across the country several times since then, I am now taking control and continuing to pursue the end of making this film and the subsequent stories to follow. I chose to leave my beloved NYC for hometown of Hollywood.  

In the past year, I devoted myself to other people's stories while I focused on making a substantial living.  As an artist, sometimes we loose ourselves in story we want to share, but sometimes our discomfort of being a natural born artist overshadows our decisions to make a difference. And, in my case, it fuzzied my instinct.  I ultimately moved stories along social media for other brands by delivering and impacting their businesses, and bottom line, while naturally helping nurture their success. However, now, and upon positive reflection, it is important to keep my story - The Price ProteKt documentary, going towards finish and onto big screens.  

The goals haven't changed, but the reason to continue this project has a deeper significance. The cause now seems to be to help inspire, champion and deliver a story worth telling as a relevant experience among many Latino immigrants here in the US.  Yes, it is close to my heart, but it also allows for most of us Americans either black, white or Asian to connect with our roots, while freeing us Latinas to be understood as a community on a deeper level.  Some of us see my culture as "the help,"  yet most of by brethren may have been doctors, or politicians, had lived well in their past countries and now are forced to wash dishes and clean our bathrooms.  They are the hired help happy for employment while subjected to encounter discrimination in everyday life as a result of their brown skin and type of profession. It is fitting to share this story now more than ever because it tells our story.  The cause is to share this among all immigrants of every nation that comes to the US.  The cause also is to help to bridge knowledge for our fellow brothers and sisters from other nations that hope to live their dreams of democracy, have a sense of pride.  The cause maybe for ourselves to feel accepted and welcomed to live by our own beliefs, and keeping our traditions from our roots alive here peacefully without anger or danger.   

We Americans are living in complicated times, and it is more my mission to provide a gesture of hope to many undocumented and documented Latinos to protect their rights as human beings around the world.  It is my hope that any of my blogs, my articles posted on Foxnews, and films I have both worked on, and produced inspire hope to many women of color. It is my hope that these women want to preserve their values and to protect their families from indignities, yet stay proud to live safely.

As we begin again the search to fund the project, I will work tirelessly to find partners, brands and distribution entities to bring The Price Of ProteKt onto screens for the world to see.  I am in the middle of the editing process and searching for partners to work with me on both reshoots for more coverage and finishing the editing process. I am open for conversations and would love to hear from professionals that would like to hear about any opportunities availabe.



Mother Knows Best

Mothers sometimes know best when to keep their children away from what they consider a family tragedy. And sometimes mother knows best because what you don't already know, won't hurt you. Case in point, my mother knew how to protect her kids ( us ). And, as a member of a Guatemalan distant family, I couldn't agree with her more.

Coming from Guatemalan roots was always a sticking point for my Puerto Rican father, and I never understood why.  He was never one to wear his emotions out in public.  So, when my mother would burst out with strong words about defending her Guatemalan roots, I never understood what the big deal was?  Since it has been eight years since my mother's spirit moved on to be with God, I had been ready to understand her painfully poor upbringing in Guatemala, but what I never expected to learn was to realize that sometimes it's better to leave the past as things of the past.  Assessing the disturbing issues of my mothers past did, however, lead to a discovery of many stories that makes up ProteKT (proteKt ©) the documentary, the book and the scripted webseries. Unveiling the past P-R-O-T-E-K stands for (K'ATUN) - T ©. Seven Letters - Seven Kings and based on my family's history.

Stories which I am committed to sharing within ProteKt are all inclusive of hilariously funny, fondly admirable, and sometimes down right alarming. As a member a family that can also include some unforgiving characters and sometimes an unsettling bunch, my grandfather and his many lives included a legacy befitting to be called "A ladies man" that spawned our legacy of  the Davilas. My personal significance was in healing old wounds while learning about gracious and generous cousins, meeting locals with shared mutual curiosity while attempting to understand our many family's secrets.  Sometimes my family was unable to be anything short of distant. Families with members that scrutinize people of their own same bloodline for circumstances out of their control, would sometimes prefer to keep the Guatemalan silence instead of shame others, and sometimes for their desire to hide the truth.  

As an American woman, I visited the exotic country of Guatemala in Central America to better appreciate all the luxurious of being an American.  Perhaps through my eyes, all of us can become more aware of our past ancestors' stories from 3rd world countries like in Latin America. The pain many endure while immigrating to the US sometimes needs to pass beyond a generation or two for the legacy to be the fabric of our american experiences.  My story is a product of this history that attempts to be less painful for future generations of Latinos. Coming from an American perspective, I tell the story of my mother, who turned rags to riches. She firmly shielded her history from us and chose to establish new memories of her own and for her children.  I decided that I would tell her story and chose to no longer hide and pretend that being a Latina was easy. Without pontificating, I shall be honest about my findings and reveal what it might have been like for her and where I see my family now. I too shall attempt to be part of the process to help others draw hope in my story and heal wounds.  By sharing my research about my family's history, and not by virtue of playing victim to most of my families disfunction in not telling the truth, I share for all of us Latinos a common thread.  Most immigrant families understand the sacrifices of our families. Therefore, I hope that they see themselves in their own lives, as it sometimes takes a generation of those family reunions skipped as mine, to have a new breadth of clarity. 

As I look back on the journey to tell this story through my travels in Central America for the past two months, I came full circle in understanding the blood line that lends itself to my name.  Yet, the strong desire to connect with my ancestors I once had, has become less of a burden in my mind. 

Where some people have too many family reunions, tire of the drama and complain to their friends about all the bickering that comes with forcing a group together for the sake of joining hands in a kumbaya with their relatives, others, me included, wouldn't have the slightest idea of that type of family dynamic.  Alas, I have to thank my own mom for that.  

To find out more about my two month journey blogging throughout backpacking in Central America and the beauty of traveling in these countries, visit my blog.  I welcome your feedback and likes.


All material here and mention is copyright and cannot be duplicated without express permission by me - mildred brignoni.


Maya Sacred Grounds (lost villages are emerging)

In dedication to my Mother Catalina Davila Brignoni....  "You were the true love of my life."

Part of the journey to make ProteKt ( my passion project ) took me to exotic and not so desirable places. But in order to begin this exploration, we should look at the basics first because it is my hope that this story will bring a strong dialogue between people of different races and immigration within our great USA.  The purpose was not - just create a successful product that will be popular for the sake of trending topics. Rather, to leave a profound and indelible impression for our community. And, as some people might be working on programs similarly, that is just fine, but sharing the legacy of a people from the people themselves that lived it and spawned children is necessary to preserve its importance. For those of us who have indigenous roots, and living in a modern western civilization, I feel it at least my duty to keep our stories alive so others have the courage to be individualistic and proud.  As well, this is not to diminish the works of non Maya / non Guatemalan decedents because their work is as valuable as well. Rather, I hope a sense of self discovery and tolerance can be delivered through these messages.  

I now bring ProteKt to the masses... a story I developed and wrote, a set of documentary style videos covers the making of this experiment to bridge misconceptions with real facts and progress of a people, and finally, a philanthropic effort to help under-represented Guatemalans through my personal message.  I add images and rare intimate conversations that I am happy to have shared that discovers my own traditions and customs to that of the Maya Ancestors.

In the beginning and throughout this pilgrimage, I had been to breathtaking examples of a genius community.  I followed my heart, and visited those that created the SUM of 0= Maya  in frequent visits to various Guatemalan museums because Archeologists explained best the Pre and Classic Period (c. AD 250–900).  My own education didn't include Latin American history as I studied classic European History and Dramatic Arts, coupled with a focus on Afro American Studies.  Therefore, in order for me to grasp the breadth of the fundamentals, It was necessary for me to reacquaint myself and learn for the first time ( sadly) where and what happened to these great people. Hence,  along my travels, I referenced  Maya Code ( a great read on and breakdown of decipherment) .  

Maya - Their sacred pyramids and temples, and areas are now left as "Maya Ruins", their language is only as of recent findings of David Stuart ( a brilliant Archeologist I had the pleasure to have discussed my project with and endorsed my interests to follow my progress). Mr.David Stuart shared on Nova and discussed his discovering of the Maya Hieroglyphic Stairways, their meaning, their formula words and shares how they would have sounded like when Maya wrote and spoke. But, as we sit in our comfy sofas here in US, there are untapped lands yet to be found, and some are still being dug up - they maybe not shared with the public right now.  There are various territories and lands that seem to the eye of a western modern person like a fantasy or post Apocalyptic world but it is neither.  These include:  Kaminaljuyu, TIKAL, Atitlan, and the City of Guatemala, Guatemala.  These serve for me as much as history and understanding as they are sacred foundations of my being.

Before we start this exploration, there was something within the fundamentally valuable in getting the basics down and understanding the modern cultures that surround the beautiful ruins, this became a pilgrimage. My Pilgrimage

And my true transformation began the minute I landed