“Cinehassee” Film Festival Explores Latin American Culture
Hispanic Graduate Student Association (HiGSA) celebrates its fifth edition “Cinéhassee” Ibero-American Film Festival throughout the month, with films that showcase Indigenous communities. Film festival director Luis Porto said the theme emerged after careful planning to highlight the history and continued cultural significance of these communities in Latin America and beyond.
“I find it interesting to see how much we are influenced by our indigenous communities,” says Porto. “It is sad to see how the evolution and transition to modern culture has often left these Indigenous communities behind. The festival organizers wanted to showcase films that draw attention to how Indigenous communities can be found in our modern culture. ”
One of the last films to screen at this year’s festival, “El sueño del Mara’akame” strives to achieve that goal on Friday, October 22. The film follows Nieri, a Huichol Indian who dreams of playing with a rock band in Mexico City. In this coming of age tale, Nieri’s father, the shaman of the tribe, wants a different life for his son.
Porto claims the film meets the criteria for this year’s festival as it juxtaposes both modern and traditional values and highlights the Huichol tribe.
As a passionate film buff, Porto is intrigued by films that speak of the vastness of humanity in its many facets. One of his favorite films is the science fiction drama “The Martian”, starring Matt Damon.
Problem solving in movies and design
“I love movies where you can see how humanity is able to do something for the good of humanity,” Porto says. “I love these movies where we humans are challenged and how do we deal with those challenges. Not only on a technical level, but also on a social level. “
Porto’s penchant for problem-oriented films is reflected in his background as a mechanical engineer. Porto graduated from the Technological University of Bolívar in Cartagena de Indias. He obtained his Masters in Renewable Energy from the University of Jaén in southern Spain and worked for two years designing, simulating and installing solar photovoltaic systems.
Porto is pursuing a PhD at Florida State University as a Fulbright Fellow and received information about HiGSA from a friend in Colombia.
The organization is made up largely of Hispanic graduate students.
Their mission is to raise awareness of Ibero-American social and political problems through cinema. Previous festivals have featured films on social justice, environmentalism, and the Hispanic experience. Porto says the members are focused on finding alternative films and directors who bring unique perspectives to the big screen.
Films highlight Hispanic culture
The film selection process begins in late April and early May. Porto thanks sponsors like Pragda, the Ibero-American cinema distributor, which offers a grant to HiGSA to show films at half price.
As films are selected and previewed, Porto reaches out to other organizations in Tallahassee to partner with FAMU and the Askew Student Life Center. HiGSA also provides popcorn and other foods at screenings to immerse audiences in Hispanic culture.
“Thanks to the film, we can show people in the community what matters or what concerns our culture,” says Porto. “Thanks to the films, we can see different things that happened and took place in Latin America. People can travel through our culture without leaving the region and get to know our culture better.
Learn new sides of history
Porto says the film festival also works both ways. Not only is the community informed, but he has also learned a lot. He is eager to learn more about new sides to his own home country with this year’s film, “Ciro and Me,” which is rescheduled for airing later this month.
The story follows Ciro Galindo in Colombia in the 1950s. Ciro loses his son in the war, then his wife, an ingenious woman, due to the loss of their child.
Although Porto was born many years after the war, he says he can recognize aspects of the conflict from family stories or memories to the news. He had a similar experience watching last year’s documentary “I am the people: Venezuela under populism”.
The film shed light on the mechanisms of authoritarian power and stories that Porto had no idea existed even though he grew up in a neighboring country.
“Thanks to these films, we can see our countries from a different perspective,” Porto explains. “I relate my experiences and memories to what I can watch in movies and I can learn more about my culture. ”
Amanda Sieradzki is the feature film writer for the Council on Culture & Arts. COCA is the Capital Region’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (www.tallahasseearts.org).
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If you are going to
What: Cinehassee: Tallahassee Ibero-American Film Festival
When: 6 p.m. on October 22
Or: Askew Student Life Center, 942 Learning Way
Cost: Free and open to the public
Contact: For more information, visit https://higsa.fsu.edu/cinehassee/cinehassee-2021.