But while de la Mora is politic in describing the complicated present, he's unrestrained about the pictures themselves. "I really love Al Hernandez's That Mission Rising. It's a hypnotic meditation on the native [Ohlone] spirits coming back to reclaim their territory. It has some really incredible editing: The rhythm of the film is really something else." Veronica Majano's Two Four elicits praise as well for its use of old footage of 24th Street during the 1980s. But describing the research Majano did for her film leads de la Mora to the other major theme of the series -- and one of its surprising troubles.
"It's an effort to find visual traces of the Latino Mission," de la Mora says of the project's focus. Far from finding the smorgasbord of source material one might expect, Majano was often stymied. "In Veronica's work, she's found it difficult to find images of Latinos in archival footage," de la Mora says, adding that such images are probably out there, but in private homes rather than in libraries or other public collections. Sounds like a job for a diplomat.