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Indybay Feature
Tue Sep 28 2010 (Updated 10/01/10)
George Elfie Ballis Left for Another Reality...
Tue Sep 28 2010 (Updated 10/01/10)
...But He Will Remain in Our Hearts Forever
George “Elfie” Ballis, photographer, Indybay contributor, organizer, and chronicler of Fresno’s progressive movement died Friday, September 24. He was 85.

Ballis held an “End-Game” party in November 2009, where he was joined by friends and family who shared their stories about how they knew him. Agustin Lira, who is the co-founder of Teatro Campesino, first met Ballis in the 1960's when the United Farm Workers union was organizing in the Central Valley. Lira said “of all the photographers, George got the humanity and what it means to be in struggle, what it amounts to in terms of energy and spirit - he caught those things in the photographs. Fantastic photographs - all of the other photographers that came in tried to do that, but the only person who completed it was George.”

His father named him George; but the “Elfie” name came from Chris Welch of KPFA. She called his playful style of talking and dealing with heavy issues “elfin” during several interviews with him on her KPFA morning show.

In recent years George “Elfie” Ballis spent much of his time producing video documentaries of the progressive movement in Fresno and the Central Valley. Some of his footage about Peace Fresno’s infiltration by the sheriff’s department ended up in Michael Moore’s 2004 hit movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."

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