Arts & Entertainment

PBS to air saga of Mexican-American family

Public TV will take viewers on a journey Sept. 16 that follows seven brothers on their quest into manhood, fatherhood and family legacy.

The journey takes them from Los Angeles to Washington and eventually to Texas as they carry the ashes of their mother, Rosa Pena, home to be buried.

Calavera Highway starts at 10 p.m. on PBS. Check your local listings for the channel.

Rosa was a migrant worker and single mother who raised her sons in one of the poorest counties in south Texas near the Mexican border.

She had two husbands during her lifetime, running off the second one with a knife when he beat one of her boys. This tough and loving mother instilled in her sons a strong sense of family and ethnic pride.

When she died, her grown sons drifted apart, scattering across the county. Six years later, two of the brothers, Armando and Carlos Pena, reunited the siblings and decided to take their beloved mother's ashes home to the Rio Grande Valley.

The trip is a quest into their mother's legacy where they learn her murky past.

The film is produced in association with American Documentary/POV and Latino Public Broadcasting. It's directed by veteran filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña, a Japanese-American filmmaker whose previous work explored her Asian American heritage. She also is the wife of one of Rosa's sons, Armando.

Tajima-Pena has earned numerous filmmaking awards, most notably an Academy Award nomination for her 1989 film Who Killed Vincent Chin.

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