The Story

Sandra was 27 when her dad called to tell her he had shot her mom and was going to kill himself. This act shattered the myth that her family was perfect and living the American Dream. At her parents’ funeral, Sandra and her siblings vowed that the legacy of domestic violence handed down by their father would end with them. But today – confronted with her nephew Lorenzo’s arrest for domestic violence – Sandra knows that the cycle hasn’t been broken and she has to act.

Be the buffalo.

Sandra first heard this famous Cherokee life lesson from her oldest brother just a year before their mother’s murder. On a bicycle trip from Portland, Oregon to Washington, D.C., he told her to pay attention to the buffalo she would encounter along the route. 

“When there’s a storm, cows and other animals run away from it,” he said. “But, the buffalo charges directly toward the storm and gets through it quicker.”  

Little did Sandra know that only one year later this life lesson would be so tragically significant to her life. After her mom was murdered, Sandra was overcome by grief and used dubious ways to deal with the pain, thinking she could outrun it. When Sandra finally hit rock bottom, she realized the importance of her family’s vow. She wants to help fulfill that vow and because of her nephew Lorenzo, she has to do it now.She also wants to create a new legacy for her mother, one that truly represents her mother’s life. Her mother wasn’t just a victim despite being victimized—she was more than that. 

Sandra has to “be the buffalo” to fulfill these goals. She has to charge directly towards the family’s disease, in search of answers to the difficult question, “How do you end domestic violence?”


The Team

Sandra Salas :: Producer, Director, Writer

 An award-winning writer, Sandra has written shorts, promos, and features. Her independent productions include, co-writing, co-producing, and directing a documentary-style TV pilot. She has field produced broadcast news spots and corporate videos for Medialink. Her on-going work on her feature documentary, Recovering Irma, has garnered funding and creative support from the Sundance DFP fund, nextPix “firstPix humanistic media award, the NALIP Latino Media Market, the NALIP LAMP Fellowship program, and the NALIP/HBO LPA Fellowship program. Salas was also awarded fiscal sponsorship from the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) for her documentary and continues to receive their ongoing support.

Sandra's industry experience includes working behind the scenes on numerous commercials, promos, films, and TV shows. She has had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the television and film industry, including Dustin Lance Black, Michel Gondry, Julie Fong, Janusz Kaminski, Aaron Zigman, Frank Pierson, among others. Her career has taken her across the United States and abroad, providing Salas with the opportunity to teach screenwriting at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore, and also script consult for the Singapore Film Commission.

In 2009, Sandra founded Georgie Girl Pictures in the SF Bay Area and made it its mission to develop and produce projects with strong vision designed to induce socially responsible change based on the following core values: Non-Violence, Empowerment, Integrity, and Beauty. In August 2014, she and Georgie Girl Pictures relocated to Los Angeles where she is working to complete Recovering Irma and develop other projects. During her off hours, she can be found skateboarding through the streets of Hollywood and hiking in Griffith Park with her dog Georgie Girl.


Raymond Telles :: Co-Producer

Raymond Telles' twenty-five year career in film and television includes the production of documentaries and news magazine segments. He has produced and directed for Public Television, Turning Point and Nightline-ABC, Dateline- NBC. His independent productions include films for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). 

Ray has won numerous awards including three Emmy Awards, two PBS Programming Awards for News and Current Affairs, The Ohio State Award, an ALMA Award, a NATAS Community Service Award, top honors in the San Francisco, American Film and Video Association, Chicago and New York Film Festivals, the DuPont-Columbia Gold Baton, 2 Cine Golden Eagles, as well as numerous other awards for his work in film and broadcast journalism. He is bilingual-Spanish/English and lives with his family in Oakland, California.


Don Thompson :: Executive Producer

Don Thompson (executive producer) - Don has over 15 years of production experience, having produced, co-produced and/or co-funded over 16 feature films, many of which have received international recognition and acclaim. 

Projects have included his debut film Clouds, the Sundance award-winning documentary Tibet in Song and Hal Hartley's Ned Rifle, starring Aubrey Plaza.

See for more info on Don.


David Waldman  ::  Director of Photography

David's work in HD earned him the International Cinematographers Guild 2005 & 2006 Emerging Cinematographer Award for the films, Embryo and June and Orlando. Embryo also earned him a Best Cinematography award at the 2005 HDFest. David worked with Director John Landis on the Emmy Award winning, Mr. Warmth:

The Don Rickles Project and shot Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg! for Peabody Award-winning Director Aviva Kempner. He shot the feature film, Beach Kings for MGM and was the DP on the Starz Network series, Head Case. He has also shot numerous commercials and music videos throughout the US and Japan. David received his MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute in 2001. 


Gloria Moran :: Editor

Gloria Morán is an award winning filmmaker and writer based out of Los Angeles, California, working on producing, directing and editing digital content. Gloria first short documentary about gentrification in the Mission District of San Francisco and one San Francisco native’s interpretation of this change titled Homes for the Homies (2010), and was reviewed as SF Weekly’s “Best Pick” for The Mission Cultural Center Videofest 2010. She is also director and producer of The Unique Ladies (2013) a short documentary that follows an all women’s lowrider car club in San Diego. A first of it’s kind documentary that has screened nationwide in film festivals and garnered the “Best Local Film” award from the San Diego Latino Film Festival. 

Gloria’s credits include the WGBH and WORLD Channel broadcast of her short documentary Every Girl Matters (2015), a short documentary that takes a personal look at the success of young women in single sex education. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). 

Gloria completed two shorts for PBS’s American Experience, creating biographical documentaries, The Voter (2014) andThe Activist (2014), following two prominent workers during the 1964 freedom movement, a project in conjunction with the release of Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Summer (2014). 

Gloria has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American and Latino Studies with a minor in Journalism and a Master of Arts degree in Social Documentation, both from the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Tina Banchero :: Associate Producer

Tina Banchero is a feminist producer, choreographer and activist. She began her activism for women’s rights and health care while working for Planned Parenthood of Western New York. Tina toured and performed with the feminist based dance company the Dance Brigade for 15 years and co-founded and directed their award winning junior company the Grrrl Brigade. Tina has produced, directed and choreographed for the One Billion Rising events SF/Oakland/Los Angeles, the opening ceremonies for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the Light in the Grove Benefit for the National AIDS Memorial. Other choreography credits include; Trolley Dances SF, the Porazone Music project, Scalpel the Musical, Malfa Music Videos and Devious Inc. Movies. Tina most recently produced a month-long series of events in conjunction with the city of West Hollywood for women's history month called Women Manifest. These sold out events celebrated the artistic achievements of women artists in Los Angeles. Tina is committed to co-creating a world where education regarding domestic violence and access to resources for everyone affected by domestic violence, is available to all.  


Joie Estrella Horwitz :: Social Media and Engagement Producer

Joie Estrella Horwitz is a southwestern artist with a diverse background in film and fine art. With a strong feminist lens, she has worked on several activist projects. Currently, she is the social media and engagement producer for Recovering Irma. Other feminist works include her first film, Under The Mesquite, which explores issues of domestic violence, as well as founding PLATFORM, a film screening for emerging female filmmakers. Joie is a core member of Women Manifest, an organization working to create events that include a diverse group of women and their perspectives during Women's History Month. She has also worked as a curator and coordinator for Sorry Archive (NYC) and The Brooklyn Rail magazine

Website imagery by: Roberto Salas "Dia de los Muertos Altar/Art Installation", Escondido, California