The Jumper Maybach Story

Texas-born Ben Workman was pushed to the breaking point after a lifetime of discrimination and bullying. Until one day, something magical happened:

The Jumper Maybach Story is the autobiographical tale of Ben Workman. The film chronicles the years of bullying and intolerance endured by Ben while growing up in the conservative state of Texas. As his story unfolds, Ben takes the viewer on a journey through space and time; illustrating how a lifetime of discrimination, bullying and the resulting pain serves as fertile ground for enlightenment and peace.  He is pushed to his breaking point and then on one very powerful day everything changes.

From the darkest moments in his life Ben discovers his alter-ego, Jumper Maybach. He also discovers that through Jumper he has a God-given ability to create. Through this newfound freedom of expression, Jumper uses art to spread his message of unconditional love and universal acceptance. This is the inspiring story of how one man finds the courage to fight for equality in the face of overwhelming adversity and, along the way, discovers his truth.

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Synopsis

Ben’s journey to become the artist Jumper Maybach begins in the 1960’s in Corpus Christi, Texas. Early in his childhood, Ben learns that he is different before he is even old enough to understand why. While he comes from a loving family, he is tormented and bullied by fellow students throughout his formative years and is shunned by his peers despite being an active student leader with academic accomplishments. Ben learns quickly that his kindness and academic success are no shield for hate. As a young adult, Ben struggles with the realities of his life including the realization that he is indeed gay. He seeks solace in his employment with a federal agency where he is recognized as a highly effective contributor to the team. However, his outstanding dedication does not protect him from discrimination in an environment where equal rights is nonexistent. He chooses to keep his orientation a secret to protect his family from any potential prejudice that may arise however he is “outed” by a co-worker. This begins a decade of Ben being ostracized daily in one form or another. His superiors, who fail to provide him with a safe equality-based workplace, participate in the discriminatory behavior. 

In 2010, after over three decades with this employer, having suffered emotional abuse and being marginalized for his sexual orientation, he finds himself on the brink of an emotional precipice.

From the ashes of a once productive life, the artist Jumper Maybach steps forward and becomes instrumental and vital to Ben’s healing process. Jumper, Ben’s alter-ego, arises at a moment in time when Ben is seeking strength and guidance. He finds the answer deep within himself. Artist and humanitarian Jumper Maybach emerges energized to become a part of the anti-discrimination, antibullying, and equality for all movement. Jumper’s mission is clear; no matter one’s sexual orientation, skin color or religious beliefs, Jumper is there to promote and to be a beacon for unconditional love, universal acceptance, and the freedom to be who and what you are

While Jumper’s paintings are an exorcism for all the pain that Ben has suffered, they also offer spiritual and emotional healing for all victims of persecution by revealing how to turn darkness and despair into light and comfort. 

The documentary features interviews with many important people in Ben’s life as well as in the equal rights community including Ben’s attorney Mary Sinderson; celebrated equal rights activist Reverend Helen Havens; and friend and painter/actor Pepe Serna (The Jerk, Scarface, American Me). Ben's life-partner and soulmate of 21 years, David Sanford, shares his feelings of support and devotion for the man and artist he dearly loves. The film also features a behind the scenes look at Ben's "Jumper" work as an abstract painter and the emotions and positive energy that go into each painting he creates. Director Alan De Herrera paints a candid portrait of a man split in two halves, trying to become whole again. He shows us behind the scenes snapshots of the art and the creative energy that have made Jumper Maybach a positive force for social change

Director's Message

I first passed on the Jumper project thinking I wasn't the right choice to tell this story. After all, I'd been only directing nature documentaries for the last 10 years. What did I know about being gay or about being discriminated against? I had lived a pretty carefree life growing up in Southern California. At first I thought this project was only a gay rights issue. But the deeper I delved into Ben Workman's life, I quickly realized it was more a story about survival; fighting for the right to simply be who you are without the fear of retribution or alienation. In that context, Ben's story was no different than the story of my seals and struggles they endure. It's all really the same. That was the inspiration for telling Ben's story. This is a very personal project for me and I'm hoping this film will speak directly to those individuals who still struggle to find acceptance for who they really are. I also think Ben is a very brave guy telling his story of pain and suffering on camera. But what's most inspiring is that he was able to turn his life around and find his real purpose in life; to promote peace and understanding though his art. Perhaps this film will help continue the conversation about equal rights.

Sincerely,

Alan De Herrera
Director, DP and Editor

Filmmakers

Alan De Herrera

Director/Editor

Award-winning filmmaker, and independent photojournalist Alan De Herrera, has always been fascinated with the technical and artistic process of creating powerful images and telling great stories. His vast array of work over the years is impressive. As an underwater cameraman, Alan has filmed seals and great white sharks off the islands of Mexico. He has also photographed doctors on humanitarian missions in South America, worked with the United States Military in Haiti and other locations, and was selected to shoot the final entry of the Space Shuttle Endeavor into Los Angeles LAX. The director of award winning documentaries, Alan directed and filmed a feature length documentary Seal Island, which is narrated by legendary actor Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Gallactica, Miami Vice, Stand and Deliver) and currently in post-production. Another documentary The Channel Islands-An Amazing Adventure, is also in post-production. Alan resides in Laguna Beach, CA with his dog Rio.

David Sanford

Executive Producer

Dr. David B. Sanford, was born in Ashland, Kentucky and has been a resident of Texas since 1974. A graduate of Texas A&M (BS. Biology, cum laude), Dr. Sanford received his medical degree from the University of Texas in Houston, and did his internship/residency in Internal Medicine at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas. He furthered his medical education with a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is currently a partner in a large oncology practice in Houston where he treats hematology and oncology patients The life partner of Jumper Maybach, both of them are busy enjoying the cultural diversity of Houston and are kept very busy by their energetic pug, Chappy. The Jumper Maybach Story is Dr. Sanford’s first endeavor in film production and has become a new and rewarding experience for him.

Pepe Serna

Producer

Serna's first break in movies came in 1970 on the Roger Corman directed filmStudent Nurses. Over the years Serna has appeared in over 100 films, most notably Scarface directed by Brian De Palma, where he played Montana's friend Angel Fernandez (whose character was involved in the notorious "chainsaw scene"). Other notable films include American Me, The Jerk, The Day of the Locust and Car Wash. He has also appeared on stage, including his solo show El Ruco, Chuco, Cholo, Pachuco which is Serna's version of the panorama of Latino cultural history. Serna has been honored by the Screen Actors Guild Heritage Achievement Award; the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Estrella Award for Arts & Culture from the Orange Country Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Michael Kirsch

Camera/DP

Michael Kirsch is a director, writer, and editor whose experience includes creative direction, brand strategy, and staff management. Michael has been involved in film and video production for over 15 years, with hundreds of projects to his credit. Working under the corporate banner of Cinematek Creative, Michael has been a consultant to other companies in addition to other creative work. His commercials, features, and television work have been viewed and enjoyed by audiences all over the world.

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