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Tejano Filmmaker Challenges Texas History As She Honors Her Heritage

La Voz de Austin

The mythic image of the Texas frontier is made more complex by the newly released indie film “Atanasia.” Written and directed in South Texas by Austinite Alicia Villarreal, (who also stars as the title character), the film is now available on the newly-launched website It Will Be Told, where her family’s company, VAMOS, Inc., also sells books and videos on Tejano history and culture.

“The iconic image of the Texas frontier is incomplete. There were many dark atrocities committed against Tejanos in order to create the Texas ranching empire, and certainly in South Texas,” comments Alicia. “It is a part of American history that is not being taught, yet it is a part of my people’s story.”

“‘Atanasia’ is the culmination of 16 years of grassroots efforts and sacrifice on the part of nearly 300 persons from South Texas, Austin, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. It was inspired by the true story of my great-great-grandmother Atanasia Escobedo and her journey from Mexico to South Texas in search of a better life. Fleeing from the French invasion of Mexico in the 1860’s, Atanasia and her family struggled to survive the tensions and violence of the era and make a life in a land that was once their own.”

Currently a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, Alicia is launching the website not only to honor her heritage but to contribute to Texas and American culture.

“Not being included in mainstream popular culture — film, books, TV, etc. — marginalizes a person, makes one feel left out, unaccepted. We at VAMOS, Inc. want to join others who are working to remedy this situation and honor our heritage as we do so.

It is a story of struggle and ultimate triumph, as we seek to be and are a part of what makes America great. We are grateful to the nearly 300 Texans who worked — mostly unpaid — to make this film possible, and we now invite the public to visit our website and check us out.”

Grammy-winning Cast Members

Included in the cast are the late Grammy-winning singer Freddy Fender, five-time Grammy winner Flaco Jimenez and Grammy Winner Augie Meyers of the Texas Tornados, and country singer Johnny Rodriguez.

“They all believed in the film and worked for free,” comments Alicia. “We are very grateful for their support.”

Independent Marketing: Raising Funds on

Starting today, the production team is also raising money on the website to finance further publicity efforts. Alicia explains, “We hope to market the film both in Austin and other key cities in Texas.” is an Internet platform for “crowdfunding.” Projects of a wide variety are showcased on the site and visitors pledge and donate funds to a project of their choice.

The “Atanasia” fundraising campaign will last for 30 days. Contact: Alicia Villarreal, Writer/Director (361) 389-6257

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