As a producer and director, Patricia Garcia-Rios has created rich and compelling visual narratives for both elaborate historical documentaries and vérité films.
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War focuses on the struggle for equal rights in the South during the aftermath of the Civil War, and the violence that ultimately allowed white Southerners to “win the peace.”
The film follows the stories of a handful of men and women on different sides of that battle.
Aside from co-writing and co-producing episode 2, Garcia-Rios directed the dramatic re-enactments, filmed in Georgia and Louisiana.
In the episode she produced for the series Unnatural Causes: How Inequality Makes Us Sick, Garcia-Rios’ challenge as a director lay in gaining the confidence of the main subjects, a Mexican mushroom picker and his family, who had recently immigrated to Pennsylvania, while capturing unique images that would convey their struggle both truthfully and eloquently.
Using a vérité style, she focused on the daily life of the family, tracking the ways in which their experience spoke to the issues at the center of the series: the impact of inequality and social discrimination on our health.
As a bilingual and bicultural producer, and an immigrant herself, Garcia-Rios was able to more fully understand the challenges of the film’s protagonists in all their complexity, and convey them to a broad audience.
Whether it’s a deeper dive into post-Civil War Reconstruction or a case study about Detroit’s collapse, Patricia’s films continually challenge our understanding of the relationships that shape society, reminding us that the conflicts and challenges we face as an American culture are of our own making. Working with Patricia, I’ve always admired her thorough, patient research; add to this her ability to weave together many viewpoints into an urgent narrative, and it becomes clear why her work is a boon to anyone curious about how the delicate plaster holding our social contracts in place works—and what can happen when that essential glue breaks down.Llewellyn M. Smith – producer/director (Reconstruction), co-executive producer (Unnatural Causes)