La Ahorcadita

story by: Katy Hurado
photos: Katy Hurado, Lorna Logan & Kristopher Torra

La Ahorcadita tree, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico

La Ahorcadita tree, Todos Santos

As legends would have it, about 200 years ago, the story of La Ahorcadita began. Living a simple life on the rancho, a young woman became with child under mysterious circumstances… or so says her mother-in-law! As time went on and her belly grew, so did the imagination of her “suegra” until it was so great that she decided  it must be the work of sinister forces and the girl had to be freed from evil by striking her down with a metate! In order to cover up the dirty deed committed upon the innocent girl, her body, wrapped in a cow hide, was taken to a beautiful olive tree far from the center of the pueblo and made to look like she took her own life by hanging and was consequently buried there. As time went on and the truth of this lovely young woman’s death became known to the public, people have come from all over Mexico, far and wide to offer gifts and prayers to her and the unborn child. In return, La Ahorcadita grants miracles to many who come visit her tomb, next to the majestic olive tree still standing in the desert, just outside of Todos Santos.

Camera crew on La Ahorcadita, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico

Camera crew on La Ahorcadita, Todos Santos

Now…fast forward to the summer of 2012, when the legend once again comes to life under the cinematic guidance, passion and expertise of Leonardo Perel. As one of the premiere features next year at the Festival de Cine Todos Santos, a dream of Leonardo’s will come true with the making and the completion of this fictional film.

As part of Leonardo’s dedication to promoting the culture of the cinema, he especially enjoyed all the hands-on aspects of making films and sharing his knowledge. Participating in the creative and conceptual parts of production, he found pure enjoyment being with all the people involved and was a natural producer. He found the challenge of working with minimal amounts of equipment in rugged natural environments and settings to be very exciting, including creating a dolly for the camera that would work in sand, mud, rain and wind!

This latest production of the Youth in Video program grew to be a large mass of creative energy—young children, adults, seniors, todosanteños, extranjeros and professionals from Mexico City—providing acting workshops, casting tryouts, costumes, make-up, narrators, horses, catering and even a helicopter for the camera!

Leonardo Perel, Festival de Cine Todos Santos, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico

Leonardo Perel 1944 – 2012

2013 will mark the 10th annual Festival de Cine Todos Santos presenting Latino films, documentaries and shorts from across Mexico, Latin America, the United States and Europe. With the continuation of The Youth in Video Program as a visionary project, Leonardo’s work will be recognized and continue to grow to new levels in the future. This program has already produced many documentaries and given a large number of young people and children in our community the opportunity to learn the art of film making.

La Ahorcadita will be opening the Festival de Cine Todos Santos on February 20, 2013 as a tribute to Leonardo’s memory, his contributions to the town and his passionate work that touched so many.