Private Project

Santa Rita House

Santa Rita House, a 4 1/2 minute documentary short that shares one woman’s experience of her 1960s teen-age years in Santa Rita, New Mexico, when her family’s house and the entire town is dismantled, moved and buried to make way for mining the copper ore that lies beneath the town site. With a local corrido composed during the time of this population displacement as the sound track, animator Kate Brown uses her clay-paint technique, as well as old footage and photographs, to tell this moving and mostly forgotten story.

  • Kate Deming Brown
    Ursa Dream, Human Thing, First Light,
  • Kate Deming Brown
  • Kate Deming Brown
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    local history
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Bayard Public Library
    Bayard, New Mexico
    United States
    October 17, 2019
    Grand Premier
  • Gila River Festival, 2O2O online, online
    Silver City , New Mexico
    United States
    September 19, 2020
    Online Premier
  • New Mexico Historical Society Conference
    Silver City, NM
    United States
    March 31, 2023
Director Biography - Kate Deming Brown

Kate studied animation at Evergreen State College in Olympia,WA, during a sabbatical from her long career as a potter in rural New Mexico near the Gila Wilderness. At home in her remote studios, one for animation, one for clay, she continues her experiments with the plastic nature of both clay and time. She has now reconditioned and augmented an antique Oxberry Animation Stand and. experiments with the myriad possibilities of animating on multiple layers at once. Her new multi- plane was funded by her successful 2014 Kickstarter campaign, The Oxberry Project.
Kate was selected as a "2014 Success Story" by the Arrowhead Center for Small Business Technical Assistance, to recognize her successful completion and implementation of the assistance provided by engineers from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces.

In 2005, she completed the animated short Ursa Dream, which was featured worldwide in the Women in Film Showcase on International Women’s Day, 2006. In 2007, she was commissioned by the Canadian band, The Be Good Tanyas, to make an animated music video of Frazey Ford’s song, Human Thing. Her 2021 animated short documentary, Santa Rita House, is now ready to enter in film festivals.

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Director Statement

I began work on Santa Rita House in 2015, after learning that my then 10 yr old granddaughter, Araceli Sias, had done her 4th grade NM history project on her Sias grandparents experience of growing up in Santa Rita, and then as teenagers having no choice but to move from their condemed town. In the video of her interview with her Nana, Socorro Sias, I heard this woman, who I had come to love and highly regard, speak of the devestation of being forceably uprooted.This shocked me into seeing I had driven by that pit for over 30 years, knowing the outline of what occurred there,knowing about People Born in Space, but never thinking of the lived experiences of the actual people involved. I felt the silence of so many voices in the wake of one more episode of mining displacement.

I decided to use my skill to focus on one of those stories. But it took several years of experimenting before Socorro and I came to the agreement that she would be the “star” who tells the story. When Socorro joined the project, she told me about the Corrido de Santa Rita, locally writtin and recorded during the time of the displacement, 1957-67. I met with Mr. Julian Jaquez and his bandmates in La Rondalla de Santa Rita, and worked out an arrangement to compensate the members for sharing there performance. I have nearly fulfilled that obligation and have note cards, with images of the Santa Rita Houses I painted, to sell to raise the funds.