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Severo Perez

Severo Perez
Severo Perez

Click HERE for a printable inventory in PDF format

A Guide to the Severo Perez Papers
1972-2010 (Bulk dates: 1980-2010)
Collection 115
44 boxes (22 linear feet)
 

Biographical Sketch

Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1941, acclaimed filmmaker Severo Perez earned his B.A. in American Literature and Contemporary History from the University of Texas.  Perez moved to Los Angeles in 1972 to pursue a career in the motion picture industry. His films have won more than 50 awards, including three CINE Golden Eagles. Perez is also an accomplished playwright and novelist.

Perez began working in theater in 1974, teaming up with legendary actress Carmen Zapata to translate and adapt the Mexican play Los desarraigados (Uprooted) for American audiences. Later, Perez became playwright-in-residence at El Teatro Campesino, where he wrote Soldierboy with his wife, Judith Perez. That play is based on Perez’s own personal story in San Antonio as the son of a returning U.S. soldier after World War II. Soldierboy has been staged around the country and appears in the 1989 anthology Necessary Theater: Six Plays About the Chicano Experience. Perez’s credits as a dramatist also include Speaking of Cats, inspired by Tejana activist Emma Tenayuca and the 1938 pecan shellers strike in San Antonio.

Perez’s 1995 film, …and the earth did not swallow him, is adapted from Tomás Rivera’s classic 1971 Chicano novel, …y no se lo tragó la tierra, and follows the lives of a South Texas family of migrant farmworkers in the 1950s. Perez’s nuanced, powerful film beautifully evokes the substance and spirit of Rivera’s work, and it has won international critical acclaim, including top honors at film festivals worldwide. Some of these honors include Sol Award CineSol at the 1995 Latino Film Festival, Best Feature Awards at both San Diego Independent Film Festival in 1994 and the Minneapolis Rivertown Film Festival in 1995.

In 1998, Perez finished a documentary about a remarkable woman—a pioneering African American pilot who took to the air in the 1930s and defied Jim Crow laws. The resulting film, Willa Brown: An American Aviator, was a success.

Perez’s other films include a documentary on artist Carmen Lomas Garza, a feature film on Tejano hero Juan Seguin, and an adaptation of Mark Twain's The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. He has created documentaries on a wide range of subjects, including La Raza Unida’s 1960s political uprising in Crystal City, Texas. He also negotiated the deal at Universal Studios that allowed Luiz Valdez to direct the film version of Zoot Suit.

Scope and Content Note

The papers of filmmaker and writer Severo Perez span 1972-2010 and document his career in film and television, and as a writer. The collection is arranged into six series: 1) Film; 2) Television; 3) Plays; 4) Books; 5) The National Endowment for the Humanities; and 6) Audio and Video Materials.

The bulk of the collection relates to Perez’s film work, and includes the complete production archive for his 1995 film, …and the earth did not swallow him, an adaptation of Tomás Rivera’s 1971 novel. The material relating to ….and the earth did not swallow him is arranged into a number of subseries including screenplays, scripts, research, art, casting, production materials, photographs (location and continuity), financial and legal materials, post production, publicity, and film festivals.

Other films represented in the Perez Papers are Elders by Judith Perez, Yolanda’s Story, Willa Brown, Plaza de la Raza, and Carmen + Cesar. Of these, Willa Brown, Perez’ documentary about African American aviator, is the best represented with screenplays, production materials, and publicity files. 

The series, Television, includes various scripts, proposals, correspondence, and production materials relating to his work in that field. Plays includes drafts of scripts for Soldier Boy and Speak Only of Cats. The series Books relates to Perez’s novel about pioneering African American aviators and is comprised of multiple drafts representing all stages of the writing of the book. Perez submitted several proposals to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and these are represented in the fifth series of his collection.

The final series, Audio and Video materials, is extensive and includes film reels and prints for …and the earth did not swallow him as well as many of his other film projects. A complete list of these items can be provided upon request.

Mr. Perez donated his archive to the Wittliff Collections in 2014.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Open for research
Preferred Citation: The Severo Perez Papers, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University
Acquisition Information: Donated by Severo Perez, 2014
Processing Information: Processed by Russell Hill, August 2015


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Films

Box     Folder

            …And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him… (1995)

                        Screenplay, 1989-1991

1          1                      Draft August 1989

1          2                      Draft (partial), Aug 1989

1          3                      Draft, August 1989

1          4                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          5                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          6                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          7                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          8                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          9                      Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          10                    Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

1          11                    Draft, December 1989 2nd Draft

 

2          1                      Draft, January 1990 2nd Draft

2          2                      Draft, January 1990 2nd Draft

2          3                      Draft, February 1990 2nd Draft

2          4                      Draft, February 1990 2nd Draft

2          5                      Draft, February 1990 2nd Draft

2          6                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

2          7                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

2          8                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

2          9                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

2          10                    Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

 

3          1                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

3          2                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

3          3                      Draft, March 1990 2nd Draft

3          4                      Draft, February 1991

3          5                      Draft, March 1991

3          6                      Draft, March 1991

3          7                      Draft, March 1991

3          8                      Draft, March 1991 plus one page from article in Hispanic Link Weekly Report from May 15, 1989

3          9                      Draft, April 1991, plus outline

3          10                    Draft, April 1991

 

4          1                      Draft, April 1991

4          2                      Draft, April 1991

4          3                      Draft, April 1991

4          4                      Draft, July 1, 1991 rewrite

 

4          5                      Draft, July 1991 American Playhouse rewrite

4          6                      Drafts, September 1991

4          7                      Drafts, September 1991 American Playhouse rewrite

4          8                      Draft, undated

4          9                      Draft, undated

 

5          1                      Draft, undated

5          2                      Draft, undated

5          3                      Draft, undated

5          4                      Draft, undated

5          5                      Draft, undated

5          6                      Draft, partial, undated

5          7                      Draft, edits by Judy Perez, undated  

5          8                      Comments on screenplay by Julian Olivares, September 11, 1989

5          9                      Notes by Antonio Castañeda, September 15, 1989

5          10                    Comments and notes on screenplay drafts, September 1989

5          11                    Notes for rewrite, undated

 

                        Scripts, 1990-1991

 

6          1                      Working version before production, July 18, 1991

6          2                      Working version before production, August 1991

6          3                      Working version before production

6          4                      Working version before production

6          5                      Working version before production, plus Adair and Armstrong script

 

7          1                      Script and supervisor’s notes

7          2                      Shooting script, December 1990

7          3                      Shooting script, December 1990 American Playhouse rewrite

7          4                      “Shooting script Tierra Productions” with Severo’s notes

7          5                      “Lined script-Orig.” with original Script Supervisor’s notes

7          6                      Narrator’s Script

7          7                      Draft of final script

 

                                    Research, 1989-1991

 

8          1                      Iowa Film Office Information Book

8          2                      Iowa Maps – Local Information

8          3                      Texas Maps – Local Information

8          4                      Samples of period clothing & shooting location

8          5                      Black and White photos from Russell Lee Collection

8          6                      National Geographic (January 1991) and Texas Journal (Fall/Winter 1989)

 

                                    Art

 

8          7                      Storyboards – 8 1/2 x 11 Master

8          8                      Storyboards

8          9                      Storyboards

8          10                    Stage Plan Blueprints

8          11                    Outline and Drawing Instructions

8          12                    Sketches by Cesar Martinez

 

                                    Casting

 

8          13                    Casting Photos and Bios

8          14                    Resume for Antonio Ogaz

8          15                    Ernesto Salcedo, Musician/Composer resume and demo audiocassette

8          16                    Marcos Loya Photo and Bio

           

                                    Production Materials, 1990-1994

 

9          1                      Call Sheets

9          2                      Shooting Schedule

9          3                      Shooting Locations – South Texas

9          4                      Tierra Production Schedule

9          5                      Production Schedule, July 6, 1992

9          6                      Tierra Locations/Breakdown

9          7                      Production Binder

9          8                      Production Binder

9          9                      Production Binder – Location Scouting, Casting List, Letters, Calendar, and Script

9          10                    Production Binder – Oneline Schedules, Press Releases, Letters, Photos

9          11                    “Code Book” for every Scene and Reel

9          12                    Handwritten notes, one page

 

10        1                      Tierra Scholars Meeting

10        2                      Transcript of the Tierra Advisory Meeting, Feb 24, 1990

10        3                      Tierra Productions Script with notes by Perez while shooting

10        4                      Tierra Newsletter and other material

10        5                      Narrator’s Script, Oneline Schedule, and Crew List

10        6                      Narrator’s Script, End Credits

10        7                      Prairie House Motel Brochure

 

11        1                      Spanish Subtitles Draft July 29, 1994

11        2                      Spanish Subtitles List August 15, 1994

11        3                      Severo’s outline for making …and the Earth did not swallow him…

11        4                      Various production materials, correspondence, notes

11        5                      Scene List

11        6                      Domestic Distribution - Television

 

                                    Location Scouting Photographs

 

12        1                      Crystal City by Severo Perez

12        2                      Crystal City

12        3                      Crystal City

12        4                      Minnesota and Iowa – photos by Severo Perez

12        5                      SC 27 Sunrise Hwy in Midwest

12        6-7                   Location Scouting Photos

 

13        1                      Cologne Catholic School, Rectory, & Cemetery”

13        2                      Cologne, Methodist Cemetery

13        3                      “Tomas Rivera’s Actual House” (Photo with Tomas Rivera’s brother,

                                                Henry)

13        4                      “Tomas Rivera’s Zoo Island”

13        5                      Duncan, Iowa Field, Zoo Island

13        6                      Don Cleto Int.

13        7                      Don Cleto Ext.

13        8                      Cemetery – Duncan, Iowa

13        9                      Iowa Cemetery

13        10                    Crystal City Cemetery

13        11                    “Ford Truck found near Sacramento”

13        12-18               Location Photos

 

14        1                      Misc. Store Fronts, Rectories, etc. Drive-bys

14        2                      San Antonio Locations

14        3                      SC 15 + Salon Hidalgo

14        4                      SC 16 + Cotton Field

14        5                      SC 87 + Trailer/Carpenter Train

14        6                      SC 128 Power Plant

14        7                      Potato + Carrot Farm, Midwest Farms, Clearance Iowa

14        8                      Midwest School

14        9                      Haxton House California

14        10                    Chicken Coops – Garner, Iowa

14        11                    Iowa Farm, Garner

14        12                    Sugar Beet Field – Renfield Co. Minn

14        13                    Minn. Roadside Attractions, Barns, etc.

14        14                    Jordan, Minn.

14        15                    Small Schools, Minnesota

14        16                    Crystal City Locals, Creeks & Rivers

14        17                    Iowa – Potato – Muddy Field

 

                                    Continuity Photos

 

15        1                      Day 1

15        2                      Day 2

15        3                      Day 3

15        4                      Day 4

15        5                      Day 5

15        6                      Day 6

 

16        1                      Day 7

16        2                      Day 8

16        3                      Day 9

16        4                      Day 10

16        5                      Day 11

16        6                      Day 12

16        7                      Day 13

 

17        1                      Day 15

17        2                      Day 16

17        3                      Day 9-2-92

17        4                      Day 20

17        5                      Day 21

17        6                      Day 22

17        7                      Day 23

17        8                      Day 24

17        9                      Day 25

 

18        1                      Day 27

18        2                      Assorted Days

18        3                      Piru Party Dance

18        4                      Undated

18        5                      Set Shots

 

                                    Photographs from the Film, Various Photos

 

18        6                      Photographs from the Film, photos and negatives

18        7                      Various photos

18        8                      Various photos and negatives

 

19        1                      Photographs during filming

19        2                      Color negatives, Photos by Carlos Rene Perez

19        3                      Production stills photography (1 of 2)

19        4                      Production stills photography (2 of 2)

19        5                      Photographs, Perez and others

19        6                      Photographs – Black and White 8 x 10s

19        7                      Photograph of Crystal City and Carrizu Springs; pen drawing of three men

 

 

 

 

20        1                      Budget Sheets

20        2                      “Old Tierra Budgets”

20        3                      Tierra Revised Production Budget

20        4                      Tierra Reimbursement Receipts

20        5                      Production Manager Budget

20        6                      Travel/Meals/Per Diem

20        7                      Art Department Budget

20        8                      Production Binder used by Perez to track budget while shooting

20        9                      Budgets

20        10                    Receipts and Invoices

                                   

                                    Legal Materials

 

20        11                    Legal documents/contracts

20        12                    Film rental contract

20        13                    Screen Actors Guild documents

20        14                    Screen Actors Guild information

20        15                    “Agreement with Concha Rivera”

20        16                    San Diego State University agreements

20        17                    Moscow International Film Festival documents/agreement

                       

                                    National Endowment for the Humanities

 

21        1                      “Tierra Proposal –NEH”

21        2                      “Tierra Reviews NEH Proposal”

21        3                      “Working Draft – NEH Proposal”

21        4                      NEH Grant documents & application

21        5                      NEH application, budgets, Panelist evaluation sheets

21        6                      NEH Panelist evaluation sheets with comments

21        7                      Toby Quitscand & NEH Award Letter

21        8                      NEH documents and correspondence

 

22        1                      Editing Notes

22        2                      Rough Cut Notes and Scoring Log

22        3                      Optical Sheets/Sound Notes

22        4                      Foley Tracks, Sound Effects

22        5                      Notes for Music Mix

22        6                      “Tierra Credits”

22        7                      Tierra Credits September 28, 1993

22        8                      Trims from the editing of …and the Earth did not swallow him…”

22        9                      “Censorship of “Earth”

 

                        Publicity, 1990-1997

 

                                    Press Releases

 

23        1                      “Press Book + Reviews-Master

23        2                      Folder with cast photo, newspaper, and press release

23        3                      Press Release/Reviews

           

                                    Reviews, 1994-1996

 

23        4                      Undated

23        5-6                   1994 - 1995

23        7                      1995

23        8                      1995 - 1996

 

                                    Press, 1990, 1994-1996

 

24        1-4                   Press

24        5                      Newspapers  - October 1990

24        6                      Newspapers – 1994 - 1995

 

25        1                      Photocopies of articles/newspapers – 1994 & 1995

25        2                      Photocopies of articles/advertisements - 1996

25        3                      Latin Style Magazine, includes a profile of Severo Perez

25        4                      Order forms for “…and the Earth did not devour him…

25        5                      Promotional flyers, folders, and postcards

25        6                      The 1993 Independent Feature Film Market Company Directory

25        7                      Montclair State Fotoescultura Exhibit

25        8                      Western Social Science Association 37th Annual Conference Abstract Book

 

                                    Film Festivals, 1978, 1992-1997

 

26        1                      1978

26        2                      1992

26        3                      1993

26        4                      February to September 1994

26        5                      September 1994

26        6                      16th Independent Feature Film Market – September 1994

26        7                      November & December 1994

 

27        1                      February to March 1995

27        2                      April & May 1995

27        3                      June to October 1995

27        4                      Moscow International Film Festival – July 1995

27        5                      International Cairo - 1995

 

28        1                      1996

28        2                      1997

28        3                      Other Festival Materials

 

                       

            Elders by Judith Perez, 1993

 

                        Screenplay, 1993

 

28        4                      Elders by Judith Perez - Draft July 1993

28        5                      undated

 

                        Photographs

 

28        6-11                 Elders by Judith Perez – Photographs

 

29        1                      Elders by Judith Perez – Photographs

 

                        Legal Materials

 

29        2                      Insurance Policy, Photoduplication forms, and SERVE Packet

 

 

            Yolanda’s Story

 

29        3          First Draft and Franciscan communications

29        4          Baptism File

29        5          Publicity- Invitation and Poster

29        6          Newspaper Clippings

 

 

            Willa Brown, 1996-1997

 

                        Screenplay, 1996-1997

 

29        7                      Working Draft, May 1996

29        8                      Draft and handwritten notes – October 16, 1996

29        9                      Draft, January 7, 1997

29        10                    Draft plus handwritten notes

29        11                    Draft, undated

29        12                    Script and Post Script

29        13                    Copy edited script

 

30        1                      Draft and notes [Removed from binder]

30        2                      Dan’s Draft

30        3                      Partial Draft

                                   

                        Production

 

30        4                      Handwritten notes

30        5                      Notes, contact list, and phone logs

30        6                      Code Book Notebook

30        7                      “Film Search”

30        8                      Production Sound Sheets

 

                        Publicity

 

30        9                      “Willa Brown: An American Aviator” publicity card

30        10                    Printout of photographs – cast and crew from …and the earth…, Soldierboy production, and Yolanda de Nuevo.

                       

            Plaza de la Raza, 1987

 

30        11        “Chicano and Film”

30        12        Plaza de la Raza

30        13        Plaza de la Raza articles, April 18, 1987

30        14        Documentation of Screening Activities for Plaza de la Raza

30        15        “First Weekend – Press Kit”

 

            Carmen + Cesar

 

31        1          “Carmen + Cesar Proof Sheets + negs” (1 of 2)

31        2          “Carmen + Cesar Proof Sheets + negs” (2 of 2)        

31        3          “Carmen + Cesar Proof Sheets + negs, also Elders.”

31        4          Clipboard for The Eraser

 

32        -           Two white proof sheet containers labeled “Carmen + Cesar”

 

 

Series II: Television, 1987-2001

 

Box     Folder

 

33        1          Resume of Severo Perez and Publicity orginals

33        2          “Tune in Yesterday”

33        3          Dreams of Flying – Script, revised 3rd draft, January 1989

33        4          Articles by Jesus Trevino and Melendez – Pelayo

33        5          The Pinata Makeers – Photographs

33        6          Seguin – Executive summary, publicity, press releases

33        7          Promotional brochures

33        8          “There Goes The Neighborhood” Promotional cards

33        9          “Stand and Deliver” script [Working title “Walking on Water”]

33        10        Manuel Ramos’ “The Last Client of Luis Montez” – screenplay April 11, 2001.

33        11        Alamo…The Price of Freedom – shooting script, August 23, 1987 plus media.

33        12        “Alamo – Price of Freedom”

33        13        Reviews for “Alamo, Price of Freedom”

33        14        El Norte/The North – info and publicity

33        15        Mother of the Sun/Madre del Sol – Screening invitation

33        16        Letter and clipping from Arthur Ramirez, March 14, 1987

33        17        Note from DDLP + Kiki

33        18        Learning Garden – Brochure, drawing of a cow, and photographs

33        19        “The Lost Year”

 

Series III: Plays

 

Box     Folder

 

            Soldierboy, 1980-1987

 

                        Scripts, 1980-1987

 

34        1                      1980 [Working Title: Brother’s Keeper]

34        2                      1980 [Working Title: Return of the Soldier]

34        3                      1980 [Working Title: Return of the Soldier] First Draft

34        4                      1980 [Working Title: Return of the Soldier]

34        5                      Production script San Juan Bautista, September – December 1982

34        6                      Al Franklin, Stage Manager script – December 1982

34        7                      January 1983

34        8                      January 1983

34        9                      January 1984

 

35        1                      January 1984

35        2                      January 1984

35        3                      January 1984

35        4                      January 1984 plus notes

35        5                      April 1985

35        6                      April 1985

35        7                      April 1985

35        8                      April 1985

35        9                      April 1985

 

36        1                      April 1985

36        2                      “Working 11-86”

36        3                      October 1987 “not revised version”

36        4                      October 1987

36        5                      October 1987

36        6                      Work Copy, undated

36        7                      Draft, undated

36        8                      Draft, undated

36        9                      Draft, undated

 

37        1                      Draft, undated

37        2                      Draft, undated

37        3                      Draft, undated

37        4                      Draft, undated with notes

37        5                      “Return of the Soldier” draft with notes

37        6                      Spiral notebook with handwritten draft plus partial typed draft

37        7                      Handwritten and typed draft

37        8                      Draft plus notes, casting photographs and Bios

 

38        1                      Second draft and rewrite roughs, April 17, 1981

38        2                      Box for second draft and rewrite roughs, April 17, 1981

38        3                      Draft typed and handwritten

38        4                      Script draft handwritten and typed

38        5                      Draft with notes and pictures

 

                        Partial Drafts, 1983

 

39        1                                  Script partial draft with notes

39        2                                  Script partial draft

39        3                                  Script partial draft

39        4                                  Script partial draft with notes

39        5                                  Script partial draft, January 1983

39        6                                  Misc. notes, research, maps, and pictures

39        7                                  Soldierboy Stat – typed in various fonts

39        8                                  July 30, 1981

 

                        Publicity

 

39        9                      Soldierboy cover photo

39        10                    Newspapers

39        11                    Magazines

39        12                    “The Real War 1939-1945” Atlantic Monthly article, plus photocopy

39        13                    Flyers

39        14                    Programs and newsletters

39        15                    Synopsis of the play

39        16                    Handbill signed by cast

 

            Speak Only of Cats, 1997

 

39        17        Draft – Speak Only of Cats (working title), March 6, 1997

39        18        Draft – Speak Only of Cats , June 5, 1997

 

 

Series IV: Books

 

            The Challengers Aero Club, 2009-2010

 

                        Drafts, 2009-2010

 

40        1                      First Draft version registered with WGA                  

40        2                      January 2, 2009

40        3                      First Draft, March 31, 2009

40        4                      First Draft, March 31, 2009

40        5                      First Draft, March 31, 2009

40        6                      First Draft, May 8, 2009

40        7                      July 20, 2009

40        8                      July 23, 2009

40        9                      Draft of various chapters 2009-2010

 

41        1                      Draft, February 19, 2010

41        2                      Draft, undated

41        3                      Draft, undated

41        4-5                   Draft , undated

 

42        1-2                   Draft, undated

42        3-4                   Draft, Part 1 (1 of 2)

42        5                      Multiple drafts, undated

 

43        1                      Second Draft, Part 1

43        2                      Second Draft, Part 2

43        3                      Partial draft, undated

43        4                      Chapter outline/Timeline

           

           

Series V: National Endowment for the Humanities Proposals, 1990

 

Box     Folder

 

44        1          “Polynesians: Voyagers of Rediscovery.” September 1990

44        2          “Citizen Stalin”

44        3          “The Restless Conscience”, 1990

44        4          “Roman City”

44        5          “The Glory and the Power” September 12, 1990

44        6          “Five Suns: Origin Myths of Central Mexico” September 4, 1990

44        7          “The Creative Faculty”, September 1990

44        8          “Trinidad’s Calypso – Social, Cultural, Political Content”