We’ve recently completed a short documentary film following artist Gary Sweeney as he created his site-specific installation, A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015. We traveled to Manhattan Beach, California to visit Gary’s childhood home and captured his process and the final work.

Walley Films Behind the Scenes filming A Manhattan Beach Memoir by Gary Sweeney
Mark behind the scenes filming the installation of “A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015”

In 1945, while Sweeney’s father Mike was returning from Guam after World War II, his mother Anita bought a small house at 320 35th St in Manhattan Beach, California. It was their family home for 70 years. Sweeney sold the house in July, 2015, with the understanding that the new owner planned to demolish the house and put a new development it its place.

Mark films artist Gary Sweeney during the of installation “A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015”

A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015

As a tribute to his family, hometown, and father’s photography, Sweeney covered the exterior of the house with over one hundred large scale family photographs, and occupied the house during its final month – February, 2016.

A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945-2015

The final work received an incredible amount of press and international coverage. We really enjoyed working with Gary again and capturing this very personal, but universal story of family and memory.

Learn more about his work at GarySweeneyArt.com

– M&A

Happy New Year’s Eve! I started a tradition in 2012 when I posted our Favorite Moments in a “Best of” blog post. Well, it’s New Years Eve again, so it’s time to take a look back on 2015. This year was a great one, we celebrated 12 years together, released two new short documentary films, our films received over 240k views online, and we made a lot of progress on our debut feature film following the late artist Chuck Ramirez. From January through December, here are our top five favorite moments from 2015, enjoy!

DCCD Creatives of the Month of May
1. Creatives of the Month, The Department for Culture & Creative Development
In May, we were selected by the DCCD as Creatives of the Month. It was an honor to be recognized and featured in their weekly newsletter Atmosphere. Read our full interview on GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.

Vimeo Staff Pick All Stars
2. Vimeo Staff Pick All-Stars
We couldn’t believe we made this amazing list of Vimeo Creators! Jason Sondhi, Sr. Manager, Curation at Vimeo said of our work, “Husband and wife creative duos are the epitome of cute. Amirite?? Texas-based, this couple has found their niche in creating delightful artist-profile documentaries. With a careful eye and effective interviewing style, they somehow manage to find that deeper layer in an artist’s work and manner, the space beyond the surface gloss so many profile documentarians get hung up on.” Thanks Jason and Vimeo for being such great supporters of our work over the years. Read the full article.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
3. Rueben Singleterry: Made of Steel
This summer we released a short documentary unlike any other we’d produced. The film follows the inspiring story of my young cousin Rueben. We followed Rueben as he battled encephalitis, a rare virus which causes seizures, and as he pursued his passion for basketball. He hopes to inspire others to never give up, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Watch the film. Read more in a previous Blog Post.

Intersections - Anila Quayyum Agha
4. Intersections by Anila Quayyum Agha
In September we visited Rice Gallery in Houston for our 9th film in our series following their space for dynamic site-specific installations. We were absolutely floored by the beauty of Intersections by Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha. The completed film received lots of attention online including our 10th Vimeo Staff Pick and features on Colossal, National Geographic Short Film Showcase, and The Atlantic Editor’s Pick. We loved working with Anila and following the story behind her work, thanks to everyone for watching and sharing! Watch the film.

Behind the Scene Chuck Ramirez's Broom Series #TiaChuck
5. Tía Chuck , In-Production
This year has been busy with research, editing, and filming for our debut feature documentary following the late artist Chuck Ramirez. We’ve posted 7 Production Updates, which detail the work that’s kept us busy. We still have lots of work to do before it’s ready for release, but we’ve already had positive outcomes from our work. In August we met with Dya Campos, Director of Public Affairs at H-E-B in our research process for the film. We presented our project and discussed the connection between Chuck’s 14 years working in Brand Development at H-E-B and how it impacted his work. Not only did we receive a grant from H-E-B to continue production, but they also selected artwork for Chuck’s Broom Series for the new H-E-B South Flores Market! Dya states, “We knew we wanted to work with an artist for the opening, but we didn’t know who, and then the Walleys called to talk to us about Chuck’s work here and we knew immediately it would be a perfect fit for the South Flores Market”. Learn more about the film at TiaChuck.com

Those are some great memories to look back on, thanks for reading and watching. Here’s to a productive and inspiring 2016!

– Angela Walley

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Meet Rueben Singleterry

We have just released a short documentary following my cousin, Rueben Singleterry. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we’ve produced a short documentary film. We’ve been so busy working on Tía Chuck, our feature length documentary following artist Chuck Ramirez. We were actually in New York this past November filming interviews for Chuck’s documentary when I got the phone call from Rueben’s Mother, Roxanne, about this project. Roxanne told me that Rueben had gone through a difficult illness and they were trying figure out a way to share his story. In September Rueben had been diagnosed with encephalitis, a rare virus which causes inflammation in the brain and the resulting seizures he endured nearly took his life.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Rueben is cared for in a hospital ICU

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Rueben’s Grandfather holds his hand in the hospital

I couldn’t believe this had happened to Rueben, but what amazed me most was how passionate he was about sharing his story. When we visited Rueben at the end of November, we were completely surprised by how much he had matured in the short time since we’d last seen him. He looked straight into our camera and began telling us what had happened to him the previous months. Mark and I were in awe of his grace and courage as he described to us his near death experience in the hospital.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Rueben Singleterry’s Interview

We have had the privilege of interviewing dozens of subjects over the past several years, but nothing could prepared us for the reality of what Rueben had to say. I cried several times as he spoke in his interview. He described all the details of his illness and his struggles to get back the life he had before he was diagnosed with encephalitis. We knew right away that this was going to be a very different film than we had ever made. It was going to follow my family as they worked together to support Rueben’s recovery and ultimately his passion to pursue basketball.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Rueben is examined by Jerry J. Tomasovic, MD

We followed a lot of emotional moments during the course of working on this film, the first was a visit with Dr. Tomasovic. Rueben had been waiting for months to find out if he was going to be physically able to play basketball again. His school required a release form and Rueben’s reaction to Dr. Tomasovic’s decision to write one for him was priceless. That note meant so much to the family, because they knew that not only was Rueben going to be able to pursue his passion for playing basketball, but that he was finally healthy enough to do so.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Mother and Son embrace after an important Doctor’s Visit

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Jarrett Turner works with Rueben as part of his Mentoring Program Ballinisahabit

The first moments of film we captured with Rueben was a basketball practice he had with his trainer, Jarrett Turner. Jarrett and Rueben had already developed a close friendship when we began filming, so he was more than willing to come by and help us out on our first day. The pair worked on drills as the sun set in Rueben’s neighborhood. We continued to follow Rueben’s after school training with Jarrett as part of his Mentoring Program, Ballinisahabit. It was wonderful to see Jarrett as someone who could relate to Rueben on different levels, as a friend, a trainer, and a mentor. Jarrett was also one of the first people to learn about Rueben’s struggles and to become inspired by his dedication.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Rueben holds a Basketball given to him by Jarrett Turner on his first High School game of the season

Another emotional moment was Rueben’s 15th birthday party. It reminded us of a scene from one of our favorite documentary films, Hoop Dreams, which chronicles the lives of two teenagers who dream of one day achieving NBA stardom. In both scenes you’re hit with the realization that these young men are very lucky to be able to blow out their candles.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Film Still, Rueben on his 15th Birthday

“I hope that this inspires anyone who went through something like this or is going through a rough time or who has doubts or is losing faith in life, to never give up.”

– Rueben Singleterry

Rueben has such a natural charisma and confidence that made our job easier. I know he has a tremendous amount of potential that we just barely tapped into for this film. Thank you to my family, my friends, and everyone who supported this film and helped make it possible.

Rueben Singleterry #WalleyFilms
Rueben Singleterry with Director Angela Walley

It means a lot to me to share a story from my family, so I hope you’ll find this film inspiring!

– Angela