As part of the U.S. government's Good Neighbor Policy, Walt Disney and a group of artists and filmmakers took a 10-week trip to South America in 1941.
The remarkable journey is chronicled in the film "Walt and El Grupo," which will be shown Feb. 26 at the State Theatre for the third annual San Joaquin International Film Festival.
The festival concludes Feb. 27 with showings of "The Young Victoria," starring Emily Blunt; "The Messenger," starring Woody Harrelson; and "Shorts 1: Discovery," featuring five short films.
This is the first year the State Theatre has been part of the festival, which is mainly held at Stockton's Empire Theatre. "I've always admired the State Theatre," said creator Sophoan Sorn. "It's the only year-round art-house theater in the 209. We thought it would be a great idea to bring a selection of the main slate down to Modesto."
The showing of "Walt and El Grupo" will be special because it will include appearances by director Theodore Thomas, an alumnus of the University of the Pacific, and his wife, producer Kuniko Okubo.
The film has been shown around the world, including at film festivals in Rome and Rio De Janeiro.
" 'Walt and El Grupo' time-travels through five nations to capture a story that is both a tale of making art in a time of war and a geopolitical saga that has pressing relevance in our own time," says the film's Web site.
Those who attend "The Young Victoria" will receive Gillian Gill's book "We Too. Victoria and Albert: rulers, Partners, Rivals" and will be greeted by a queen who will hold court in the lobby.
Inspired by such film festivals as Sundance and Cannes, the San Joaquin International Film Festival seeks to showcase new, innovative and award-winning works from emerging talents and seasoned artists from the Americas and the world.
"This is an opportunity to experience the spirit of cinema in its totality, it's essence," said Sorn. "It gives you an opportunity to see films you may never see the rest of your life."