The Making of REBEL: The Story of Loreta Velázquez, Civil War Soldier and Spy

We here at Latino Rebels are thrilled to learn about “REBEL,” a fascinating documentary premiering May 24 at 10pm EST on PBS (check local listings). The film tells the story of Loreta Velázquez, the untold story of “a Cuban raised in New Orleans, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the American Civil War. She fought at Bull Run, was wounded at Shiloh, and served as a spy for the Confederacy until becoming a double agent for the Union.”

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The film was written, directed, and produced by María Agui Carter.

We reached out to the filmmaker about why she decided to tell this story, and this is what she told us via email:

Like Loreta, I too was an immigrant to the United States and brought to this country at the age of seven. I never owned a television in Ecuador and I grew up in NYC an undocumented “dreamer” (only I was called much worse things growing up). It is a privilege to be able to have a voice in this industry. As a Latina woman director, I am one fewer than 2% of Latino directors, and one of the less than 1% of Latino writers working in the American TV and film industry today. Loreta Velázquez, the main character in this film, is a complex and tragic figure, not a plaster saint, but a woman whose fascinating search for identity led her to betray her own gender and ethnicity in a search for belonging, and who ultimately turned against war and its corruptive influence on society. This film about a woman, a myth, and the politics of national memory, has been a labor of love and 12 years in the making, in between commissioned projects for PBS and cable.

You can follow the film’s progress and future screenings on its Facebook site.

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