By Ana Martinez-Ortiz Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Published Dec 13, 2021 at 5:56 PM Photography: Ralph Pabst

Georgia and Ralph Pabst have had a busy year.

They moved to a different state, aired their documentary on PBS Wisconsin, brainstormed ideas for their next project.

Oh, and they’ve won an Emmy.

The couple’s documentary, “Latino Wisconsin,” won the award for “outstanding achievement for documentary programs – topical” at the 63rd Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy Awards, which took place on Sunday, Dec. 5.

The show was livestreamed, so the couple, who moved from Milwaukee to Chicago earlier this year, watched the broadcast in their living room. Upon hearing they won, Georgia broke into tears.

“I thought: Well, we have a one-in-three chance of winning, and the fact that we won after all the years we spent on it and not knowing if anybody would watch it or care about it, all the emotions came rolling up, and it was really, really thrilling,” she said.

Latino Wisconsin directors Georgia and Ralph Pabst
Georgia and Ralph Pabst plan to make another documentary, but for now, they're celebrating their win.

The documentary highlights the important roles Latinos play in the state from the farm and rural communities to art and activism to education and the future.

The story was specific to Wisconsin, Ralph said, so winning the Emmy shows that the story has value and significance beyond the state.

“We just hope that more people will be curious to see it,” Georgia said. “That’s the whole goal: that people watch and hopefully learn something they didn’t know before about the importance of the Latino community.”

The Pabsts aren’t sure what their next documentary will cover, but they plan to focus on a simpler topic. This first one was ambitious, Ralph said. In the meantime, Georgia plans to work on a book that will include additional interviews from the documentary.

Their advice to budding documentarians? Choose a topic that is focused. And finish what you start.

“If you do something simple the first time around, rather then a monster like this one was, then it’s a little easier to get through it,” Ralph said.

For more information

The documentary is available to watch for free on the film’s website.