The London Independent Film Awards awarded Best Documetary for April 2018 to a feature documentary, South Texas Gentle Men of Steel—Los Padres, written, produced and directed by former Alice Echo News Reporter and William Adams High School graduate Armando P. Ibáñez, currently an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University- Kingsville.

“London Independent Film Awards is a monthly competition with annual screenings, recognising and awarding the work of independent filmmakers worldwide,” states a description posted on “A selection of best films will be shortlisted to compete in our Grand jury competition and screened at our annual festival held on Sat 30th March 2019 at The Roxy Bar & Screen, London.”

The Jakarta International Humanitarian and Culture Awards awarded South Texas Gentle Men of Steel – Los Padres, written-produced-directed by Assistant Professor, Armando P. Ibáñez, two Platinum Awards in the Documentary and Directing categories and a Gold Award in Editing.

“The Festival mission is to promote humanitarian issues and inspire others through filmmaking and events,” states the JIHCA’s website. The festival will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 13-17, 2018.

The feature documentary, produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a nonprofit, has garnered more than 20 film awards so far.

“This film would not have been possible without the help of local residents Norma Escobar and Lalo Perez,” said Ibáñez, adding that Escobar and Perez spearheaded a fundraising campaign to help produce the documentary, primarily appealing to parishioners of St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church in San Diego, as a way to honor the last two Dominican friars to minister at the parish.

The documentary focuses on the departure of the last two friars, Fathers Epifanio “Epi” Rodriguez and Benito Retortillo, who left the country in 2013. Dominican friars, headquartered in San Diego, had a powerful and lasting impact on the history and development of central South Texas, especially assisting Mexican-Americans struggle against racism, which speaks to the experiences of many in the Southwest.

“We are very excited,” said Ibáñez, who teaches digital filmmaking and serves as Director of Radio, Television and Digital Film at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. “The wins are a testament to the talented crew and the documentary’s voice,” added Ibáñez, who

worked as a general assignment reporter at the Alice Echo News in the early 1980s.

A licensing agreement for the distribution of the documentary was signed with Content Farm, ALLCAST Media, an international distributor, will distribute the film via both streaming platforms -- including Amazon Prime, Vudu, Amazon, and Apple iTunes—as well as conventional venues.

"It's truly an honor to help bring this film to audiences," said Michael Holstein, Chief Content Officer & President, ALLCAST Media.

The documentary, produced by Pluma Pictures Inc., a nonprofit film production company, has won:

Accolade Global Film Competition, 2015: Award of Merit, Documentary-Feature Competition

Impact Docs Awards, 2017: Award of Merit Special Mention, Editing

Impact Docs Awards, 2016: Award of Excellence, History/Biographical, Award of Merit Special

Mention, Documentary, Religion/Ethics, Editing, Contemporary Issues/Awareness Raising, and


Docs Without Borders, 2016: Award of Exceptional Merit; Documentary-Feature Length

Mexico International Film Festival, 2016: Silver Palm Award, Documentary

Oregon International Film Awards, 2016: Platinum Award, Documentary Feature Competition.

International Independent Film Awards, 2015: Gold Award, Documentary Feature, Directing and

Animated Visuals

The IndieFest Film Awards, 2015: Award of Excellence; History/Biographical, Award of Merit

Special Mention, Christian

iHolly Next Generation, Best Documentary

WorldFest Houston, 2015: Gold Remi Award, Religion/Ethic/Spirituality

The film's production crew is comprised of Todd Schmidt of Slidell, LA, producer, editor and special effects artist; Emmy Award Nominee, Joe O. Barrera of Los Angeles and native of San Diego, music composer; Neil de la Peña of Los Angeles, Director of Photography; and Alan Jouet of New Orleans, audio engineer.

The documentary is produced by Pluma Pictures, Inc., a nonprofit film production company. The board of directors includes: Dr. Thomas Hedberg; Dr. Erlinda Grey; and Ned Greene, all of whom are from Los Angeles; Christopher Renz, O.P., Berkeley; Bruce Schultz, O.P., Atlanta; Dr. James Moises, New Orleans; and Michael Paz, Destrehan, Louisiana.