Global cinematic perspectives: Ibero-American film festival exposes students to different styles of cinema

Film can bridge cultural divides and bring the art of a whole region to a room at the bottom of College Hill.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, there has been an ongoing Ibero-American film festival in Buck Hall. It began Sept. 21, with the purpose of commemorating Ibero-American films (Ibero-American means a person from Latin America or Spain/Portugal), thanks to a collaboration between the Office of Intercultural Development, the Foreign Languages & Literatures Department, the Latin American & Caribbean Department and the Film & Media Studies Department. The festival runs until Oct. 19.

The main progenitors of the film festival were assistant professor of Spanish Daniel Quiros and visiting assistant professor of Spanish Katherine Stafford. Quiros said that he felt there was a lack of education on Ibero-American culture, and an event like a film festival would bring it into the spotlight, giving it exposure and allowing people to better understand a different culture.

He was able to secure funding for the film festival through Pragda, a grant which uses prestigious Ibero-American films to spread and promote Hispanic culture through the distribution of films. After Quiros got the grant, he then chose films from Pragda that he thought would both resonate with the greater Lafayette-Easton community, but also tie in with his teachings.

Quiros said that he hopes that the film festival can be continued into future years and possibly become a unique facet of Lafayette College. However, that depends on Pragda and other funds.

Three of the five films from the festival have already been shown (“Guarní”, “Malacrianza” and “Ixcanul”). The most recent showing was “Ixcanul”, which was held on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Landis Cinema in Buck Hall at the new Williams Arts Campus down the hill. The film is about the working conditions of Guatemalan Mayans and the complex family and society structures that govern the characters lives. The film won a Silver Bear Prize at the lauded Berlin International Film Festival and was Guatemala’s entry to the Academy Awards.

The fourth film is “Pa Negre (Black Bread),” which takes place in Spain in the midst of the Spanish Civil War between the Republicans and the Fascists. It was heavily awarded, winning nine Goya awards (including Best Picture & Best Director). The final film is “Asier Eta Biok (Asier & I)” which is about two children living in the Spanish city of Pamplona. One eventually becomes an actor in Madrid, while the other joins the Spanish terrorist organization ETA. It won the San Sebastián Film Festival Irizar Award.

Written by Tucker Huston ’20