Latin diversity within film festival

The third annual Latin American Film Festival kicked off Thursday with “Which Way Home.”

This festival is organized by Dr. Annabella España-Najera, assistant professor of the department of Chicano & Latin American Studies.

“I coordinate this festival. I think about what films we can bring, and I try to do a mix of different countries… I reach out to other community organizations or groups in campus to collaborate,” said España-Najera.

This year, the festival will be presented in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate.

The idea behind the festival is to bring more knowledge and information about Latin America to Fresno State students, España-Najera added.

“Latin America is very important to the U.S., and the ties between the two are very long and strong. We’re just trying to generate more interest in Latin America,” she said.

España-Najera said the United States and California have a long connection with Latin America.

She said that even though there are strong ties to Mexico, Latin American is more than just Mexico. There are many other countries.

The idea of the film festival is to bring films about Latin America and by Latin Americans to the community which will facilitate a discussion while allowing students and those attending to learn about other experiences and to see how they are similar or different from their own.

The films will take place on various dates and are free and open to the whole community.

“We try to reach out to other community colleges and the community as a whole to get them to campus because we also see this as a great tool to kind of build connections and links between Fresno State and the wider community,” España-Najera said.

The Latin American Film Festival gives students a chance to see films that they may not normally see, because they don’t make it to the big screen.

There will be speakers for the majority of the films to allow the audience to ask questions about things that they may not understand or that they want to learn more about.

“Which Way Home,” the first film, was a documentary made in 2009, which shows the journey of the undocumented children coming from Mexico and Central America to the U.S.

“The film won a number of awards, including an Emmy, and it was nominated for an Academy Award… and basically what it does is it follows a group of children who are trying to cross to Mexico to go north to the U.S. , which can be really dangerous,” said España -Najera.

The next film that will be screened on Oct. 8 is “Fogo.”

España-Najera said that what is interesting about this film is that it was made by a Mexican producer, but takes place in Canada.

Dr. Stephany Slaughter, producer of  “Which Way Home,” will also be present for the discussion of  “Fogo.”

The films included in this festival are a mix of different languages, from Spanish to English to Portuguese. Most of them will be in Spanish with English subtitles although there will be parts that may be completely in English.

“Que Horas Ela Volta” is a Brazilian film which will be in Portuguese and subtitled in English. That film will be shown on Oct. 16.

Other films included in the festival will be “Ixcanul,” “La Guerra de Manuela Jankovic,” and “Ghost Town to Havana.” They are scheduled for April 2016.

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