King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
In the winter of 1969,13-year-old Ascencion Banuelos leaves his 13 siblings and his home in Lobatos, Mexico, risking his young life to cross the river into the U.S., where he believes all things are possible. The dangerous crossing is
a story in itself, but what happens next is the real story.
Against all odds and defying the limitations placed on Mexicans, Ascencion will become one of the greatest horsemen of his time. His hope was to work with horses – magnificent creatures he had grown to love and understand – and to send money home to his parents and siblings. Through years of sacrifice, hard work, and proving himself to be extraordinary in a world of ordinary, Ascencion has gained world renown as a champion cutting horse competitor, earning millions and is the first Mexican American to be inducted into the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame.
Ascension's story has never been told before. Like a WW II veteran, he’s never talked about it. This is the story of guts, grit, and the triumph of one man who broke through racial and economic barriers to set a new precedent in the competitive cutting horse world – a world where Mexicans were only found cleaning stalls, washing, and saddling horses, but never among the respected competitors. This is Ascencion…the story of one man who refused to take no for an answer while following his dream.
In October of 2017, 'Ascencion' made it's premiere at the Isis Theatre in downtown Fort Worth, Texas to a sold out crowd.
Mariachis and charros greeted the crowd upon arrival creating a festive mood. Inside, politicians, friends and relatives came to screen the movie and most stayed for the Q&A afterwards. Moving and inspirational, this story touched people of all ages and ethnicities and encouraged people to follow their dream. No matter how out of reach it may seem.
For more videos, click here.
Ascencion embodies the story of America itself, where hard work can build a legacy of greatness."
- Director, Rusty Leaver
'It’s so wonderful that he can tell his story in the film with the political state of the world as it is and with all kinds of people having all kinds of ideas about immigration. It has a lot to say to us at this moment. Not only as a story of an incredible person but also, it's incredibly timeless.'
- Bart Weiss, Producer, 'Frame of Mind'
INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR RUSTY LEAVER AND BART WEISS ON PBS
One of Ascencion’s important mentors, many of whom were strong women, was Helen Kleberg King Groves, the bilingual great granddaughter of Captain King, founder of the The King Ranch. Helen’s parents inspired the main characters in the film classic Giant, and the legendary King Ranch provided a dramatic backdrop for Ascencion’s growth as a horse trainer. Also important to Ascencion was Buster Welch, an iconic figure in American western culture. Robert Duvall has said that the character Gus McCrea in Lonesome Dove was partially based on Buster Welch. Lifelong friends and throwbacks to a way of life that is quickly fading away - both Helen and Buster recently passed away.
Helen Kleberg Groves
Great Granddaughter of Captain King
King Ranch, Kingsville, Texas
REVIEWS / TESTIMONIALS
"I'm extremely passionate about this film because it's a story we not only need to watch, but we need to feel it and love it."
Ramon Romero, Jr.
“If I really, really want this, there's nothing standing in my way except myself. So go get it. This is the American dream.”
“Ascencion didn’t just triumph. He is a national role model, and best in what he does."
-Francisco de la Torre
Consul General of Mexico
ROCK CREEK PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS “ASCENCION” |
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY JAGG PETTE | AUDIO ENGINEERS: BLAZE HARDAGE & ZACK JONES |
PRODUCER NICOLE WEBSTER | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER RUSTY LEAVER |
PRODUCED BY DEVON LEAVER | CAMERA OPERATORS BENJAMIN WILBANKS, ELIAD KIMHY, DEVON LEAVER, BLAZE HARDAGE, & MAX SCOTT | STILL PHOTOGRAPHER RETTA LEAVER-HESS | DRONE OPERATORS:
ZACK JONES, BEN CRENSHAW, & CHAD FULLER | EDITED BY JAGG PETTE & RUSTY LEAVER