ESU Celebrates Latino Heritage Month With Second Annual Film Festival

Attendees of the Latino Heritage Month Mixer enjoyed shish kabobs on Tuesday. Photo Credit / Jamie Reese
Attendees of the Latino Heritage Month Mixer enjoyed shish kabobs on Tuesday. Photo Credit / Jamie Reese
Attendees of the Latino Heritage Month Mixer enjoyed shish kabobs on Tuesday.
Photo Credit / Jamie Reese

By Susan Ambrose
SC Contributing Writer

Latino Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. ESU is celebrating with a film festival to highlight recent works from Latin America, Spain, and the United States.

The observation of Latino Heritage Month officially began in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan and ESU is proud to uphold this tradition.

ESU’s tribute to Latino Heritage Month is a collaborative effort between the Department of Modern Languages, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Student Activity Association, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Frederick Douglass Institute of ESU, and the departments of English, theatre, history, sociology, social work, and criminal justice.

The next films to be featured are Pelo Malo (Bad Hair), a coming-of-age drama about a young, under-privileged boy living in Venezuela and Pensé que iba a haber fiesta (I Thought it Was a Party), a story of friendship, romance, and facing one’s fears.

Pelo Malo will be shown Saturday, September 20 at 2:00 PM with a discussion session led by East Stroudsburg University professors to follow.

Pensé que iba a haber fiesta will play on Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 PM. Following this showing, there will be an opportunity for viewers to participate in a question-and answer session with Pensé que iba a haber fiesta’s director, Victoria Galardi.

Galardi is an Argentinean director and scriptwriter who has written and directed several films and won two awards from the San Sebastián International Film Festival.

This film festival has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Pragda-Spanish Film Institute and the embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jeff Ruth, ESU’s Department of Modern Languages chair was familiar with this organization and its work towards funding film festivals at universities across the United States that showcase independent filmmakers and artists.

In the Spring of 2013, ESU’s Dr. Annie Mendoza of the modern language department applied for and won a grant from the Pragda-Spanish Film Institute, and organized our university’s first film festival.

Dr. Mendoza is happy to carry this cultural event into its second year, and said, “I felt that a film festival is something that we should have here, as a university community.”

She hopes that these films will demonstrate the huge cultural diversity between the many different countries and cultures featured.

The films have each been made in the past year or two, and tackle contemporary issues faced by people everywhere such as human rights, racism, and loneliness. For these reasons, some hope they will be relatable to ESU students and the community.

Dr. Mendoza stated, “That’s why I think these movies are so powerful, because they make us think and interpret these themes in relation to ourselves and our place in society.”

Both films will be screened in Beers Lecture Hall and the event coordinators encourage both students and community members to attend. The films are free of charge and are recommended for mature audiences only.

ESU is also hosting several other Latino Heritage Month events. The Office of Multicultural Affairs is organizing a trip in October to Museo del Barrio in New York City.

Dr. Mendoza said, “I think this is exciting because this is a neighborhood in New York City with so much history and culture, not just for the Puerto Rican community, but also for all Latinos in the United States. Students should definitely contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs to find out about going!”

Photos and more information about Latino Heritage Month can be found at the Facebook page: “ESU Latino Heritage Month Film Festival.” These resources can also be found on the ESU language department’s Twitter: @ESUModLang.

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