Fr. Eric Forbes said the driving force behind putting his “I Am Chamorro” lecture into DVD form is to preserve Chamorro culture for future generations order for them to understand where they come from.
The Capuchin priest, who used to live on Saipan in the early ’90s, attended last week’s fundraiser at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan that successfully raised $9,300 for the DVD project.
Forbes said time is of the essence in making the “I Am Chamorro” DVD.
“It needs to be done now because we’re saying goodbye to a lot of elderly people who have that knowledge and the proficiency of the language who lived through the war and even before the war and they’re dying off.”
Forbes said the documentary would try to get the points of view of all Chamorros in all corners of the world and not only those in the Marianas.
“We want the stories of all the Chamorros wherever they come from, whatever island they come from, or if they live in the U.S. mainland. It’s a treasure to give to our children and our grandchildren so they would know their history, their heritage, and have pride in themselves. ‘I Am Chamorro’ is a story of the Chamorro people of all the islands in the Marianas.”
He shared that it took him years of research and travels to Europe and Asia to create his lecture and his work is not done yet since the DVD version will need updated information.
“I’m visiting and interviewing many of the elderly as possible. It’s also a historical documentary. I went to many archives in Europe, the United States, and in the Philippines, wherever I can find archives relating to the Marianas. It’s about history, culture, and language.”
He said the organization that initiated the DVD project, Manhita Chamorro, is looking to raise $150,000 to pay for the production and distribution of the documentary.
DFS Saipan president Marian Aldan-Pierce, who organized the fundraiser last Jan. 22, thanked Forbes for all his work. By preserving Forbes’ work on DVD current and future generations of Chamorros would learn something about where they come from, she added.
“It’s everything about the Chamorros that you could find. He went to Spain. He went to Germany. He interviewed the man’amko on Saipan, on Tinian, and on Rota, and on Guam to get as much information as he can. It’s going to be a movie and it will be an hour and a half in length when it’s done. It will be available and we will give it to all the libraries. He already has all the materials so it’s just a matter of compiling and getting a professional crew.”
An “I Am Chamorro” trailer was recently completed, professionally done by a group of film artists from Hollywood.