Race, romance and issues de la familia headline Gainesville Latino Film Festival
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.
If there's a topic understood the world over, it's the profound emotions at play when mother and child are separated.
If you go
The Gainesville Latino Film Festival will screen six films from Sept. 12 to Oct. 13 at the Harn Museum Chandler Auditorium and other venues. Free.
“Madres 0.15 el Minuto” (7:10 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. Sept. 12): Documentary directed by Marina Seresesky chronicles stories of women who travel to foreign countries to work and communicate with their children by phone or online. (General audience)
“Tapas” (2 p.m. Sept. 14): Comedic drama directed by Jose Corbacho and Juan Cruz about a tapas restaurant in Barcelona. Also 2 p.m. Oct. 13, Newberry Branch Library. (Adult content)
“Sin Palabras” (2 p.m. Sept. 21): Love overcomes language barriers in this film about an affair between a Colombian man and a Chinese woman. Directed by Diego Fernando Bustamante and Ana Sofia Osorio Ruiz. (Adult content)
“Susana Baca: Memoria Viva” (2 p.m. Sept. 28): Documentary on Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca, a prominent figure in the recent revival of African music in Peru. Directed by Marc Dixon. (General audience)
“Salsa Tel-Aviv” (2 p.m. Oct. 5): Romantic comedy that also looks at the plight of foreign workers in Israel. Directed by Jorge Weller. Also 2 p.m. Oct. 6, Alachua Branch Library (Adult content)
“Plumiferos Aventuras Voladoras” (2 p.m. Oct. 12): Children's animated film follows the adventures of a flock of city birds. Directed by Daniel De Filippo and Gustavo Giannini. (General audience)
Colombian Folk Art Display: Colombian drafts and clothing, Sept. 9-Oct. 11, Headquarters Library
Latin American Folktales Series: Children's bilingual storytime, dance and activities, Sept. 18 and Oct. 2, Headquarters Library; Sept. 17 and 24, and Oct. 1 and 8, Library Partnership Neighborhood Resource Center
A Night in El Barrio: Salsa music by Gilberto de Paz and TROPIX, and artwork from Latino artists join Artwalk Gainesville and the Free Fridays concert series, 8 p.m. Sept. 27, Bo Diddley Community Plaza
Bird exhibition: Children's activities to preview the birds depicted in “Plumiferos,” 10 a.m. Oct. 12, Florida Museum of Natural History
Complete events listing: latinawomensleague.org
Which is likely why the film selected to kick off the ninth Gainesville Latino Film Festival on Thursday, Sept. 12, is the documentary by Argentine actress and director Marina Seresesky, "Madres 0.15 el Minuto" or "Mothers, 15 cents a minute."
The film tells the stories of women who travel to other countries in search of work. Oftentimes the only contact they have with their children is over the phone or via the Internet.
"When we started making the documentary, we asked ourselves, is it possible to be a mother (from a) distance?" said Seresesky, who will introduce her film at Thursday's opening gala. "The answers were many and varied. Our conclusion is that there are many ways to be a mother. No one better than the other one. All mothers try to (do) the best that they can to educate their children, and the distance doesn't lessen the quality of the love."
The Gainesville Latino Film Festival will screen six films at the Harn Museum Chandler Auditorium and other venues. Thursday's opening night gala, featuring live flamenco dancing and food from Emiliano's, Mi Apa and La Tienda restaurants, begins at 6 p.m. at the Harn Museum.
"A Night in El Barrio," a free salsa concert with Gilberto de Paz and TROPIX at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, is scheduled for Sept. 27.
The films, set in Spain, Colombia and Israel, address issues people identify with around the globe, said Maria Elena Quintana, who is treasurer of the Latina Women's League.
"It doesn't matter where you live. Love, family, struggles — these are life issues," she said.
Victoria Condor-Williams, the festival director and president of the Latina Women's League, said Seresesky's documentary offers a view of the experiences of those who go abroad to give their families better lives.
"Perhaps this will help us to better understand issues like immigration here," Condor-Williams said.
Race is another topic filmmakers address at the festival.
Peruvian anthropologist and activist Monica Rojas introduces the film "Susana Baca: Memoria Viva," which profiles the prominent Afro-Peruvian singer, on Sept. 28.
"I hope to help expand people's experience and knowledge of Afro-Peruvian culture which goes beyond Susana Baca," said Rojas, who is founder and director of Seattle's DE CAJóN Project, which aims to raise awareness of the African diaspora in Peru. "This tradition is old, strong and involves a long history of survival, resistance and pride."
"I have been following (Rojas') work for the last couple of years," Condor-Williams said. "It's not an easy job. In Peru, this community has been forgotten for the most part. She gives them a voice that is now heard around the world."
The Latina Women's League began sorting through 300 films last December to arrive at the final selection. Quintana said she believes the six films will raise questions for audiences.
"We try to pick movies that highlight a country or an issue affecting the Latin American community," she said.
Condor-Williams said she hopes audiences connect with the films.
"All these films have meaning for us and portray the lives of many of us or of those who will come to the festival," she said. "We can hear our own voices through these films."
The University of Florida's Center for Latin American Studies has helped fund the festival since its inception because of its educational and cultural value, said Mary Risner, associate director of business and outreach programs at the center.
"This festival opens up the dialogue to show things in common between people of different regions of the world," she said. "We can all learn from each other by making these connections and finding those similarities."
Genesis Lara, the executive director of UF's Hispanic Heritage Month, said the festival helps increase awareness of the Latino community at a local level.
"Latinos have a history and a culture that need to be recognized and respected," she said. "It's from learning our stories and heritage that we can join forces."
Condor-Williams said she hopes audiences leave the festival with not only a better understanding of the cultures and environments they saw, but with a desire to affect change in their own environments.
"When you enter the auditorium, you are transported to another place and you become part of the movie," she said. "When you leave the auditorium, you will have the chance to do something with the information you just learned."
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