On January 15, 2017, over 425 tampeños turned out to the majestic Tampa Theatre to attend the world premiere of a new documentary film about the legacy of Spanish immigrants in the city of Tampa. The Weight of Remembering, by Luis Argeo and James D. Fernández, was co-produced by the Centro Español de Tampa and White Stone Ridge Productions. It is Argeo and Fernández’s second film about Tampa; their first film, A Legacy of Smoke had its premiere in the Tampa Theatre in November of 2015. A DVD containing both films was released at the premiere, and can be ordered here.
The event was opened by John Rañón, President of the Centro Español de Tampa, who reaffirmed the Centro’s commitment to the preservation of the legacy of Spanish immigrants in the US. Spain’s Consul General in Miami, Cándido Creis Estrada, also made opening remarks, congratulating the Center and the filmmakers on their efforts aimed at recovering and disseminating of the shared historical memories of Spain and the US.
For the last ten years, Fernández and Argeo have been crisscrossing the US and Spain, interviewing descendants of the tens of thousands of Spanish who, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emigrated to the US. In their opening words, Argeo and Fernández spoke of a poignant scene that occurs during almost every interview that they conduct, when their informants –often tearfully– lament not having asked their ancestors more questions. “Our film aspires to be an exercise in listening; all of those unasked questions, all of those untold stories haunt our film, and for us constitute the true ‘weight of remembering.'”