Legendary tales of a brave but greedy explorer seeking an ancient land known as "Crystal Canyon" floated around in the late 19th century. The story went that this explorer, a Spaniard by the name of Ignacio Maximo de Chavez, arrived in New Orleans in 1839 and, with a team of men, set off for western lands but never returned. Years later, one man claiming to have been a part of de Chavez' party spoke of the expedition making it far west but encountering monsters, losing men--including de Chavez--and fleeing within inches of their lives. Crystal Canyon--which, based on legend, would likely have rested somewhere in New Mexico--or any records indicating the existence of an expedition thereof, were never found.
Instituto Cervantes at the National Hispanic Cultural Center is launching another film series this week with Óperas Primeras, spotlighting the first works of young directors that have not been widely distributed around the world. Obscure though they might be, these films have all been singled out for praise, awards and/or film festival recognition.