Our Stories to Share

“The story is a universal story. It is a really important question for all of us to ask, ‘Where did we come from? And how did we get here?’”

Stories are shared things.

They belong to our family—past and future generations who draft and inherit them. And in sharing stories, we find community beyond the known—other people who have shared the journey. Perhaps not in space or time, exactly, but in substance.

In the canon of great Santa Clara stories, there is perhaps none for which this is more true than for Francisco Jiménez ’66.

“Stories build bridges,” Jiménez ’says. He is honored to have his out in the world, belonging to so many who may not have seen themselves on the page before. Now people can find his story in a new medium—on film.

Santa Clara professor emeritus Francisco Jimenez ’66 pictured on the set of The Unbroken Sky in Santa Maria, Calif. Image courtesy Normandie Ramirez.

The project started when executive producer Normandie Ramirez interviewed Jiménez more than 20 years ago. She had fallen in love with his books and wanted to make his life story into a movie.

“It’s an incredible pull. It was a calling that had to be answered,” Ramirez says.

It took time to put together the funding and team, but a crowdfunding campaign for the short film raised money from around the world. “The story is a universal story. It is a really important question for all of us to ask, ‘Where did we come from? And how did we get here?’” she says.

Filming took place in Santa Maria, California, the central coast farming community where Jiménez’s family worked and where an elementary school bears his name today. The crew shared the movie, The Unbroken Sky, with the community in October 2022.

Watching the filming was a full-circle experience for Jiménez. Ramirez’s crew got the details right: They replicated his father’s lunch box and enlisted his toddler grandnephew to crawl under a fence as Jiménez once had as his family immigrated. Watching the re-creation of the moment he and his family were deported to Mexico brought Jiménez to tears and moved him to comfort the actress playing his mother when the scene was done. His own story, playing back to him just as he has shared it with so many others.

Learn more about upcoming showings at theunbrokensky.com

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