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The Origin Story

Any origin story of Permanencia Voluntaria and Baticine would have to start with the wild tales that came from the beloved grandmother of Viviana García Besné. For Viviana, it all began with these unbelievable stories that her grandmother told about her flame with a movie star, glamorous events in Hollywood, and a love of cinema. These stories were the seed that was planted and grew into the giant that Permanencia Voluntaria is today.

 

Viviana's cinema family tree includes several generations of distributors, producers and filmmakers that were active in the Mexican film industry for most of the last century. Her Great Grandfather José and his brothers, Mauricio and Rafael Calderón, were early theater owners based originally in El Paso/Juarez and developed an extensive film distribution empire in both Mexico and the US (at one point distributing Mexican films to over 500 Spanish-language theaters in the US). In the 1930s, in order to keep up with the demand for films, they began producing movies themselves, eventually forming their own distribution company, Azteca Films. Through this company they encouraged film production by giving distributing money in advance to producers. At the highpoint of their business, the Calderón brothers had offices in Mexico City, Chihuahua, El Paso, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nueva York, San Antonio and had branched into the music industry as well.

 

By the late 1950s, along with most of the Mexican film industry, the family’s various filmmaking enterprises turned increasingly to genre films including wrestler films, exploitation, horror and science fiction. Viviana’s grandfather, Jorge García Besné produced the first films starring the Mexican wrestler El Santo, basically creating the Lucha genre of films in Mexico. The popularity of this character, and the films, is hard to overstate. In both the US and Mexico, El Santo remains extremely popular.

The stories surrounding these films inspired Viviana to explore more about her family's film history. The result of that work is Perdida, a documentary with many interviews with family members that explores the truth behind the success of the Caldrón family and Azteca Films.

María Teresa Calderón, Viviana's grandmother.

What followed Perdida was the founding of Permanencia Voluntaria which was made possible with the ultimate team up of close friends Viviana, Paulina Suarez and Michael Ramos. Be sure to check out our FOUNDERS page to learn more about these superheroes!