Film Festival Launches To Highlight Issues In the Latin American/LatinX Communities

The first Latin American/ Latinx Film Festival at UCF launches over September and October with the intention of shedding light on issues the Latin American and Latino communities face.

The six films explore themes like gender issues, racism, colonialism and LGBTQ issues. The festival was created by School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs Lecturer Annabelle Conroy, Ph.D., Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Lecturer Esmeralda Duarte, and College of Arts and Humanities English Lecturer Jason Gregory.

“UCF has never had a film festival of this kind and this will be a really good way of showcasing the different perspectives and topics of the Latinx community,” Conroy said.

UCF was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2019 after exceeding a 25 percent enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students.

The organizers of the film festival said that it provides a “window to new experiences and perspectives.” Duarte said the films depict issues specific to the Latinx community that need to be solved.

For example, the film “The infiltrators” focuses on a group of young citizens who protest the unfair implementation of immigration laws. Immigration laws within the United States have been an ongoing issue with 60 million Hispanics having immigrant connections. About 20 million are immigrants themselves and another 19 million have at least one parent who is an immigrant.

Conroy said the purpose of hosting the Latin American/Latinx film festival is to expand UCFs initiatives that recognize the contributions of the Latinx community.

“While issues cannot be completely resolved, the film series provides different perspectives and strategies that have been used by the Latinx community to address unfair or discriminatory actions and/or institutions,” Conroy said.

Gregory said that it is critical that we hear these voices, see these images and bring awareness to the Latin American/Latinx experience.

“We’re in crazy times right now where there’s a lot of social injustice and, through film, we can put a lens on that social injustice in hopes of turning it into social justice,” said Gregory.

One of the experiences Gregory referred to is the economic crisis that many minorities face within the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January 2021 Employment Situation Summary confirms that nine months after the labor market bottomed out, Blacks and Hispanics still represented the higher share of job losses with unemployment rates of 9.2 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, compared with 5.7 percent for their white counterparts.

The theme of the films is social justice in which they showcase important topics relating to the Latinx community and reflect different challenges and conflicts. The six films will consist of Spanish dialogue — and one in Portuguese — with English subtitles. The films will run beginning Sept. 18 and through October, one film per week.

“Almost everyone likes film and it’s a very good mode of teaching the community and students. It’s a window to Latin America,” said Duarte.

The organizers of the film festival hope for an annual recurrence, and that it provides students a fresh perspective on the lives of other people.

The festival is free and open to the public.  It will be offered in a hybrid format.  There will be an on-campus screening every Thursday at 6:30 PM from September to October 28 with a post-film discussion.  In addition, there will be a virtual platform where both the films and the post-film discussions can be accessed online.

“We’re hoping the film festival will be a bridge between the university and the community because it’ll bring people from the community and allow a sharing of views, Conroy said. “Film is something that brings people together.”

If you go:

WHEN: September 16 – October 28 2021
TIME: 6:30 PM
WHERE: Online or in person at UCF/ VAB 132 (Visual Arts Building Auditorium). RSVP is required for either option. Click here to RSVP.
COST: Admission is free and open to the UCF community and the general public

For more information.

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