Films from the Hispanic Studies community

How does one create a sense of community in the raging political and religious turmoil in the context of a world preoccupied with power struggles and recession, and where to we begin the conversation about these touchy subjects?  From the semester start through the first week of November the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, together with the Hispanic Studies Program, brings the Seventh Annual Hispanic Film Festival to campus initiating the conversation about community on campus.
This year’s film festival includes a series of three Hispanic films and a conversation event with the director of the Seattle Latino Film Festival. Director of the Seattle Festival and published author Jorge Enrique González Pacheco comes to campus to expand the discussion centering on the theme of community.
Each year the Hispanic Studies Program views stacks of contemporary Hispanic films searching for quality cinema that not only entertains, but also educates and helps facilitate the year’s thematic debate.
“The goal of the film series is to explode and change common preconceptions about the chosen themes. We want to open the conversation of community to the campus in a way that looks at the issue through moral dilemmas, ethnic and philosophical angles, to show the wide variety and possibilities of community in the Hispanic world,” said Assistant Foreign Language Professor Brendan Lanctot.
The Film Festival now in its seventh successful year, never fails to pack the house. What is so unique about the Film Festival that makes it such a success year after year? Of the three films that comprise this year’s film series, two are in Spanish and one is in a German dialect spoken in Chihuahua, Mexico. Do not let the diversity of languages frighten you; each movie is equipped with subtitles to allow the entire campus community to enjoy and engage in the cinema.  While the choice of introducing a German film into a Spanish film festival sounds strange, the Hispanic Studies Program chose the film on purpose to demonstrate the variety of Hispanic communities around the world and to expand the compass of previously held ideals.
Normally to enjoy foreign films of this caliber you would need to take one of the numerous film classes offered on campus, or blindly search through the stacks of the local Blockbuster hoping to find the golden movie among the throng. The trio of movies showing this semester encourages students of all levels of Hispanic studies and all majors to come together in an informal setting and expand their horizons, or to just enjoy some films in the down time between homework and Facebook sessions.
There is an added bonus to the Festival this year: the chance to engage in conversation with an experienced film festival coordinator and published author Jorge Enrique González Pacheco. Mr. Pacheco, a native Cuban,  has not only had multiple books and poetry anthologies published, but has also helped create courses in the study of Cuban Culture that have been introduced in multiple University programs in the United States and Paris, France. Mr. Pacheco’s campus visit will allow you to interact with an author of international caliber and to find out what it takes to be a published writer, the ins and outs of creating a film festival, and ask any other questions you may have.
The Hispanic Film Festival is designed to engage the entire campus community and hopes not to be restricted to any specific area of study. The films chosen are expected to be attractive to students and educators from all majors. If you are interested in film technique, Spanish, debate, increasing your awareness about community, or if you just want to watch an engaging cinema sprinkled with dark humor and insight into different cultures then why not plan on participating in the Hispanic Film Festival this year?