This year we present six documentary films about arts in Latin America and the Hispanic communities in United States, as part of a “Celebration of the Arts in the Hispanic World,” organized in conjunction with the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at UVic. The Film Week runs from Wednesday October 11 through Sunday 15 at our usual venue, Cinecenta. All films with English subtitles. Regular prices apply.
On Friday October 13, the Annual Colloquium of the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies takes place from 10.30 AM to 3.45 PM in DSB Room C122 at the UVic campus. The Colloquium is free an open to the public. Check out the schedule of events here.
On Saturday October 14, don’t miss “A Night of Latin Music with Pablo Cárdenas and The West Coast Cuban Orchestra” at the Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad St., downtown). Doors open at 7.30 PM, salsa dancing at 8.00 PM, show at 9 PM ($ 25 general audience / $ 15 students with ID – tickets for sale only at the VEC website or in person.)
A daring, self-reflexive documentary on the extraordinary Mexican/Chicano performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña's 40-year career of radical artistic practice alongside his international troupe La Pocha Nostra. At a time when the mainstream media is filled with demonizing stories about the US-Mexico border, the film presents the philosophical frameworks of an artist with a sustained dedication to highly impactful, innovative artistic interventions on that border, and presents a unique portrait of his beloved troupe. Featuring exclusive footage from his personal archive, Gómez-Peña enacts his artistic interventions by reclaiming and "queering the border" as a laboratory for utopian ideas and artistic experimentation.
Lazaro and The Shark: Cuba Under the Surface is a feature documentary that brings us to the world of Conga competitions in the Carnival of Santiago de Cuba - one of the poorest Carnivals in the world. Lázaro, the leader of the Conga de Los Hoyos, is determined to win the coveted award granted to the neighborhood that presents the most spectacular Conga. Like leaders of rival congas, Lazaro must join with his neighbors and scour the strictly rationed marketplace to find the necessary materials to create a show-stopping performance. Director William Sabourin O'Reilly, an Afro-Cuban native to Havana, offers a rare window into communist Cuba. Ignore the oversimplified versions created by outsiders, and listen to the revealing words of Cubans, candidly shared with native filmmakers.
Singing Our Way to Freedom is a vibrant, multilayered look at the life of the Chicano musician, composer and community activist, Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. As a young man in the 1960s, Chunky joined the picket lines in the California fields with Cesar Chavez, demanding justice and better wages for farmworkers. Early on, he discovered that the music he was creating could be a powerful weapon in creating social change and overcoming prejudice and racism. The film chronicles Chunky’s life from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California to the dramatic moment when he received one of his nation’s highest musical honors at the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2013.
As a result of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), many French settlers travelled to Eastern Cuba with African slaves to escape the revolt. The Tumba Francesa Societies, brotherhood and a mutual aid networks, emerged from these waves of slave migrations. Eventually, they became integral constituents of Cuban culture. La Tumba Mambi is a docu-fiction film based on the Tumba Francesa, La Caridad de Oriente, in the city of Santiago de Cuba. We meet Andrea and her daughter Queli, two charismatic knowledge keepers of their rich cultural traditions. The original film soundtrack, composed and produced by Cuban-based D.J. Jigüe, in collaboration with Tumba Francesa members, is a rhythmic and striking reminder that the present is grounded in a history of struggles for freedom.
Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo—live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together, Los Hermanos / The Brother offers a nuanced, intimate and often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.
Dont miss later “A Night of Latin Music with Pablo Cárdenas and The West Coast Cuban Orchestra” at the Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad St., downtown)
Doors open at 7.30 PM, salsa dancing at 8.00 PM, show at 9 PM. Tickets at the VEC website or in person.
Stay for a conversation and Q&A with multidisciplinary artists Kay Gallivan, community art educator, and Megan Sandover-Sly, owner of Thrift/Craft Alternative Art Supply
Street Heroines is an award-winning documentary celebrating the courage and creativity of women who despite their lack of recognition have been an integral part of the graffiti and street art movement since the beginning. With authentic cinema-vérité storytelling interwoven with interview-driven narrative, Street Heroines juxtaposes the personal experiences of three emerging Latina artists from New York City, Mexico City, and São Paulo as they navigate a male-dominated subculture to establish artistic identities within chaotic urban landscapes. Best Documentary Jury Award at the 2022 Portland Film Festival.
Our 12th instalment took place from September 20 to 25, 2022. It features movies from Cuba/US, Brazil, Mexico, and Spain.
We had two special events: on Friday September 23, the director of the film Guie’dani’s Navel (El ombligo de Guie’dani), Xavi Sala, was in attendance and joined in a conversation with UVic professors Dr. Carmen Rodriguez de France (Indigenous Education) and Dr. Gabriela McBee (Hispanic and Italian Studies).
On Saturday September 24, after the screening of the documentary Omara, Vancouver-based Locarno performed at Vertigo in the Student Union Building.
Check out some pictures below.