Spanish and Latin Film Festival

Cynthia Jessup, Staff Writer

As its first year debut, Professor Roman- Mendoza and Professor Rabin of the Modern and Classical Languages Department have worked diligently with Pragda and various organizations on campus to enlighten aspects of foreign cultures and expose students to new experiences. The Spanish and Latin Film Festival is now being featured on Mason’s campus.

“We want to promote multiculturalism on campus. We wanted to offer different perspectives on other cultures other than the mainstream, stereotypical views of the Hispanic culture(s) like on Netflix,” Professor Roman-Mendoza said.

Mason is constantly trying to find new ways to expose students to different cultures. “We now offer a multilingual class- World Cinema. (FRLN 331),” said Rabin. This is a new section offered by the University. “I believe students learn more from a movie, rather than a lecture when it comes to exploring different cultures. There is a growing interest in multilingualism film.”

The Modern and Classical Languages Department have been choosing films that students can relate to. They believe it “would be optimal choices, for instance, coming of age and social issues,” Roman-Mendoza said.

This project would not have been made possible without Pragda, a film distribution company. This company promotes, disseminates, and maintains the legacy of the Spanish and Latin American cinema through cultural initiatives. It has access to films outside of the United States that would be otherwise difficult to obtain for viewing.

Mason student and founder of the Global Film club, Michael Kamel, was excited to lead a discussion after the film, 7 Cajas.

“I’ve learned, or more so, realized the use of multilingualism as a tool of power and as a tool of community. For example, in 7 Cajas, the street people spoke Jopará, a mix of the indigenous language Guaraní and Spanish,” Kamel said.

This film festival gives viewers perspectives from other cultures.

“I would like seeing more movies made portraying a perspective from other cultures (which is why I founded the Global Film Club),” Kamel said. “I believe that we need to see more movies from other countries and cultures made specifically by people originating from those cultures; we need to hear their own voices. Yes, an American filmmaker can make a film about indigenous Paraguayans who are known as ‘street people,’ but they don’t really know the experience, therefore it could hinder the reality of their stories”

Kamel found this experience to be enlightening because I opened his eyes to a culture that he never knew much about.

“Now, I would like to learn more about this culture and it’s language (I didn’t even know Jopará existed). I’m on a constant journey to build my cultural knowledge and learn more about the many cultures around the world,” Kamel said.

This festival is going to last until April 8. The following are the movies and show times that are offered this semester:

Monday, Feb. 2, 7:20 p.m., Research I, Room 163: Thriller 7 Cajas (7 Boxes, pictured above and directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori, Paraguay, 2011). See trailer.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 4:30 p.m., Research I, Room 163: Crime Drama Pa Negre (Black Bread, Agustí Villaronga, Spain, 2010, in Catalan). See trailer. Film introduction by Sergi Martín, scriptwriter for TV3-Televisió de Catalunya and OAS, and writer.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m., Johnson Center Cinema: Stolen Education (A documentary by Enrique Alemán, Jr., and Rudy Luna, US, 2013). Pizza provided by Manhattan Pizza after the screening.

Monday, March 2, 7:20 p.m., Research I Room 163: Family Drama Zona Sur (Southern District, Juan Carlos Valdivia, Bolivia, 2011).

Monday, March 23, 7:20 p.m., Research I, Room 163: Coming-of-Age Drama La Yuma (Florence Jauguey, Nicaragua, 2011).

Wednesday, April 8, 4:30 p.m., Johnson Center, Room F: Coming-of-Age Drama Wilaya (Pedro Pérez Rosado, Spain, 2012, set in a Sahrawi refugee camp).

The festival is free and open to the public.

The festival is made possible with the support of Pragda, and with the additional contributions of Spain Arts & Culture and the Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Film & Media Studies, University Life, Hispanic Culture Review, Latin American Studies, University Libraries & WGMU Radio at Mason. (