Last November I was lucky to start working on this documentary created by my friend, Manny Cervantes. I was so excited and honored to have this opportunity to work with such a talented person, whose work I admired and personally, was a very unique individual who had such a passion for what he did, a true visionary. He saw the beauty in people and in things that most take for granted and he would challenge you to think about life, art, music, and tons of other topics and to take a different approach and outlook to life.
After he finished filming all over the states, twenty plus cities, he stayed with me in Atlanta for about three weeks in April, as we started post-production. I will always treasure those days, even that day he got on my nerves; you still had to love him for being real. Sadly in May, Manny passed away and his passing left many unanswered questions. I don’t know if we will ever fully find out what happened to him but I know that he would have wanted us to continue to live our lives and live them to the fullest, filled with love for one another and to keep riding. In my own family the summer was just as cruel with the deaths of several relatives. I've seen an outpour of love, comments and gestures in their honor that has touched my heart as they all left such a positive impact in our lives.
During this time, I finally started working again on the film. It was very tough to hear his voice without crying but even then he continued to teach me so much thru the interviews and other videos he produced. At times I can still feel his presence and guidance as I work on the film. Working on this project has been an extremely emotional process and a very rewarding one, in the sense that it has put many things in perspective. What has really helped me thru it all was YOU, his friends, family and even people who never met him but are now becoming aware of him, you have all helped me with your support and words of encouragement. You have all welcomed me in to your worlds, shared your "Manny stories" with me and helped me in ways beyond words. I only hope to keep his vision for the film intact and help to pass on a part his legacy with his film.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 541
Manny has touched us all in so many ways and will forever be a part of us. Thank you my friend for touching my heart.
I want to thank everyone who has contributed, in so many ways, to help to make this project, his dream, a reality. I was working on this thank you message the last few days of the campaign and again I felt his presence last night telling me to use his words. This was something I wanted to use for the film but what better way to say thank you now than straight from him. This is something Manny wrote in a notebook: