How the documentary AMANCIO…Two Faces on a Tombstone effected Yuma, Arizona and what has become of those immediately involved
The documentary AMANCIO…Two Faces on a Tombstone, directed by Tom Murray and produced by Bruce Presley and Downtown Loft Studio, was released in May 2008 and chronicles the murder of a young, gay man, Amancio Corrales, and the efforts of Michael Baughman to bring the killer to justice.
Since we released the documentary we have had numerous requests asking what impact the film had on the people in Yuma, Arizona - especially on the family of Amancio Corrales. We contacted Michael Baughman, and received the following letter from him.
Michael H. Baughman, Founder
The Amancio Project – October 20, 2011
On August 21, 2008, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Yuma County, the Honorable Andrew W. Gould accepted the Plea Agreement arrived at in the case of the State of Arizona vs. Ruben Solorio-Valenzuela, for the brutal murder of Amancio Corrales on May 6, 2005.
From the tragedy rose the documentary AMANCIO…Two Faces on a Tombstone, directed by Tom Murray and produced by Bruce Presley and Downtown Loft Studio. Recently Tom died from a heart attack. AMANCIO was Tom’s last completed documentary, and the one he considered his finest.
The AMANCIO documentary chronicles my journey to comfort the Corrales family and dogged efforts to enhance awareness of Amancio’s murder and struggle to bring his killer to justice. From these struggles and the release of the documentary, many positive effects manifested.
Amancio’s parents have completed the home they were building in Mexico. A small room was added as a shrine to Amancio’s life. I don’t see the family as much as I used to because of the distance. Amancio’s sister, Faviola, has two children now, Amancio, after her brother, and Miguel (which means Michael in Spanish) in honor of all I did for their family. I’m deeply humbled by their gesture of love and confidence.
The Amancio Project, backed by the ACLU-AZ helped students at Yuma High School secure the first Yuma Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). It was quite a battle in this rural conservative town. Yuma High School’s GSA paved the way for Gila High School’s GSA and Arizona Western College’s GSA. I’ve presented the AMANCIO documentary on all three campuses.
As a result of AMANCIO…Two Faces on a Tombstone, Yuma’s once stringent conservative attitude and “knee-jerk” reactions has softened to wide acceptance of our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender residents. I know this because when The Amancio Project was formed and began receiving media attention, especially in the daily paper, comments to articles were many and heavily vitriolic in tone. Now there are a scant few who still spew hatred for anyone who is LGBT. And those are quickly addressed by, not the LGBT leaders, but ordinary straight citizens. That’s progress!
Many have also inquired about how I’m doing personally. At one time when asked, “How are you doing,?” my reply was a spirited “Top of the World.” Unfortunately the many years of seizure preventing drugs have taken their toll. My vision is failing along with my liver and kidneys. Vaulted medical minds give me a year or two to live. I’ve heard these dire predictions three times before. Yet, I keep amazing them. Granted, this has been the longest and most severe bout I’ve encountered. Death does not faze me. I’ve been blessed by many rewarding things in my life: I had loving and understanding parents who embraced me being gay; recovered from brain surgery even though my parents were told I’d never walk or talk; was graced with a seventeen year monogamous love affair with Tommy who was killed in an auto accident; served my community actively as a Big Brother helping disadvantaged kids to become productive adults; advocated for Special Needs Kids; developed many LGBT groups that heightened positive visibility for the Yuma LGBT community; and, of course, found the killer of Armani.
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