Producer Julie Manriquez and the Cultural Relevance of Her Spark Documentary

Julie is a freelance marketing and creative writer, screenwriter, and producer. Julie currently works as associate producer for nonprofit, Amateur Films, LLC. As content contributor and writer for the company’s current documentary project — Spark: A Systemic Racism Story — Julie also oversees post-production marketing and outreach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion leaders within corporations, organizations, and academia. Julie specializes in original content for diversity, health and wellness pub

lications; technology and lifestyle brands; and she counsels high school seniors through the college application process. How did you get involved with SPARK? I became involved with SPARK very organically early on in the pandemic. I’ve always been an activist and social justice seeker, so I attended a handful of Black Lives Matter marches in June after the murder of George Floyd. Most of these were in urban areas, but there was one located in my neighborhood in La Jolla — a conservative, predominantly white suburb of San Diego — on June 12th. Although our little slice of suburbia is more liberal than it was 20 years ago, I didn’t have high expectations. Our community turnout was surprising! The event was very well organized by students and activists outside of La Jolla and I think some of the speakers may have even changed some antiquated views in our older, white demographic. It was there that I ran into neighbors Tom and Mary Gegax. They invited me to a (socially distant :) gathering at their house to view photos from the march with some other activists and creatives from our community. Tom threw out the idea of pulling together a team to tackle creating a documentary film as a quarantine project. I was instantly on board. As a writer, I was thrilled to have a meaningful project to work on during a very dark time. The idea of offering a resource that could possibly be used to educate others on becoming allies during a time of racial reckoning was energizing. What do you want the viewers to get out of this film? I want viewers to recognize it’s not enough to simply say you'r