Latino Film Festival Spotlights Cuban Diaspora

Humboldt State professors in collaboration with colleagues from College of the Redwoods are highlighting Latin America's African heritage with the 17th annual International Latino Film Festival, scheduled for 3-5 p.m., March 3, at Arcata’s Minor Theatre. Events take place each night from 6 to 10:20 p.m., and feature a film screening in Spanish with English subtitles followed by a discussion in English. The event is open to the public and admission is $5 per film. The festival is free to students enrolled in SPAN/ HIST/ ES 396 and SPAN 99A courses.

This long-standing community event is a collaboration of the College of the Redwoods Humanities Department and the Humboldt State World Languages & Cultures Department. Films being shown are: Cecilia (Humberto Solás, 1982); A Dios Momo (Leonardo Ricagni, 2006), and Pelo Malo (Mariana Rondón, 2013).

Dr. Armando Chávez-Rivera, an expert in literature of the Cuban diaspora, will introduce each film and provide the audience with insights into the content and key social issues portrayed in the films. The former journalist turned Spanish professor will also lead a panel discussion in English following each film.

About Dr. Chávez-Rivera

Dr. Chávez-Rivera, who holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic literature from the University of Arizona and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Houston Victoria, is this year’s featured guest speaker. Chávez-Rivera has published four books, among them Cuba per se. Cartas de la diáspora (2009), which summarizes extensive information about Cuban writers located off the island. He received fellowships for scholarly research from the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin/Andrew Mellon Foundation (2012), the New York Public Library (2011) and the Tinker Foundation (2010). He worked as a journalist for more than a decade in Latin America, with long stays in various countries in the region, and has he has been published extensively in magazines and popular journals. Currently, his academic research is concentrated on Spanish-American literature, while he maintains his work as a columnist for the Latin American and Iberian Institute of the University of New Mexico.

Festival Schedule

March 3: Cecilia (Humberto Solás, 1982)
The film takes place in 19th-century Cuba. Cuban society is split over race, as there are deep divisions between the whites, their black slaves, and the mulattos, people of mixed race, who are caught in between. The story follows Cecilia (Daisy Granados), her experiences with love, and the beginnings of the Cuban slave rebellion.

The moderator for this film will be Marlon Sherman, HSU Professor of Native American Studies. Panelists will include keynote speaker Armando Chavez-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Director of the Spanish Program, University of Houston-Victoria; Michelle Cartier, CR Professor of Cinema; and Suzanne Pasztor, HSU Professor of Latin American History.

March 4: A Dios Momo | Goodbye Momo (Leonardo Ricagni, 2006)
An 11-year-old street boy, OBDULIO, who sells newspapers for a living but cannot read or write, finds a magical “Maestro” in the night watchman of the newspaper’s office. OBDULIO’s charismatic mentor not only introduces him to the world of literacy but also teaches him the real meaning of life through the lyrics of the “Murgas”(Carnival Pierrots) during the mythical nights of the irreverent and provocative Urugauyan Carnival.

The Moderator for this film will be Susan Gilbert, CR Professor of French. The Panelists for this film will include keynote speaker Armando Chavez-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Director of the Spanish Program, University of Houston-Victoria; Joseph Dieme, HSU Professor of French; and Montel Vander Horck, CR Professor of Digital Media.

March 5: Pelo Malo | Bad Hair (Mariana Rondón, 2013)
Junior is a 9-year-old boy living in a poor neighborhood in Caracas. School is about to start, and he has to have his picture taken. Junior, like many Venezuelans, has European, indigenous, and African ancestry, which gives him thick, tightly curled hair. He becomes obsessed with straightening it, trying everything from blow-drying to applying gobs of mayonnaise. That last attempt drives his mother, a struggling widow, insane. She threatens to “cortarle el pelo,” just cut all his hair off.

The moderator for this film will be Julie Raich, HSU and CR Professor of Spanish. Panelists will include keynote speaker Armando Chavez-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Program at the University of Houston-Victoria; George Potamianos, CR Professor of History and Cinema; and Ramona Bell, HSU Professor of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

For more information, contact the Humboldt State World Languages and Cultures Department at 707-826-3226.