In an effort to bring more Latinx films to MSU and the surrounding area, Michigan State University is hosting its first Latinx Film Festival February 1-4, which will take place in theaters across Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos.
The idea for the festival came from Assistant Professor of Spanish Scott Boehm, who is the director of the festival.
“When I moved to Lansing, I noticed that despite having a robust film culture and a great Film Studies program at MSU, there was a lack of representation of films from Latin America, Spanish and Portuguese language films, and Latinx cinema in general,” Boehm said. “Since much of my work and teaching covers Spanish cinema, and because I believe academics have a responsibility to the communities they serve, I decided to organize a film festival to fill a void in the Lansing-MSU film scene.”
The seven films that will be featured at the festival include:
• The Second Mother, a 2015 Brazilian film written and directed by Anna Muylaert
• Sealed Cargo, a 2015 Bolivian film directed by Julia Vargas-Weise
• NN, a 2014 Peruvian film directed by Héctor Gálvez
• Bad Hair, a 2014 Venezuelan film written and directed by Mariana Rondón
• Tempestad, a 2016 Mexican film written and directed by Tatiana Huezo
• As I Walk Through the Valley, a 2017 film directed by Charlie Vela and Ronnie Garza about Mexican-American culture and musical history
• The Cliff, a 2016 Spanish film directed by Helena Taberna
Boehm hopes festival attendees walk away with a “greater appreciation for Latinx cinema and a desire for more of it” and “a sense of community through the formal discussions and the informal interactions organically generated by film festivals, as well as the conversations around the topics highlighted by the films we choose, many of which are marginalized or even demonized in our current political climate.”
“I also hope that students, and especially local Latinx filmmakers or potential ones, are able to make personal and professional connections with the directors we’ve invited by attending one of the special events. And although a lot of the films deal with serious issues, we hope the space produced by the Latinx Film Festival becomes a bright spot on people’s calendars for winters to come.”
In addition to bringing Latinx films to the local community, the festival seeks “to bridge gaps between the university and the greater Lansing community and bring a wide variety of people together, which is why the Latinx Film Festival is being held at five different locations, both on and off campus, from Lansing to MSU to Okemos, working in conjunction with the East Lansing Film Festival and Studio C!, as well as The Robin Theatre and Casa de Rosado in REO Town,” Boehm said.
The organizing committee members for the festival include Boehm, Associate Professor of Spanish Miguel, and a team of Ph.D. candidates in Hispanic Cultural Studies – José Badillo, Claudia Berrios-Campos, Judit Fuentecuesta, and Osvaldo Sandoval.
For more information on the festival including a schedule of events, visit the MSU Latinx Film Festival website.