Written by Mars Harren, COSS Communications Student Assistant

The Chicano and Latin American Studies department is on it’s fifth year showcasing Latin American culture on Fresno State’s campus with the Latin American Film Festival. The festival originated in an effort to reach out to and educate students about the new major offered within the College of Social Sciences, to include Latin American Studies.

“The film festival is kind of a way to raise awareness about Latin America with students, with the community – to think about how Latin America is linked to the U.S. How it is that maybe things happening in the U.S. are also happening in Latin America. And also to think about social problems in a different way. That was the thinking behind doing a film festival about Latin America,” associate professor Dr. Annabella España-Nájera said.

The next screening is Friday, April 12 featuring the film, Violeta al Fin. It is a Costa Rican film that tells the story of an older woman’s life post-divorce. Hilda Hidalgo, the film’s director, will be there for a discussion and Q&A.

The festival will conclude on Friday, May 3 with En el Septimo Dia, an American feature film that tells the story of Mexican undocumented immigrants living in New York City and the struggles they face. Fresno State’s adjunct Anthropology professor, Adela Santana, will be in attendance as the discussant.

The festival kicked off on February 1 with the film, Women of the Venezuelan Chaos. The Venezuelan-French film focuses on the lives of five women, all from diverse backgrounds, as their country collapses around them and the government denies it. The director of the film was present at the screening, discussed the movie, and answered questions from the audience.

“Films are visual and they tell a story. It’s a fairly engaging way for students to interact with new things they wouldn’t necessarily think about,” España-Nájera said.

The Latin American Film Festival is free and open to the public. Each time, the films screen at the Peters Education Center Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The festival is also co-sponsored by CineCulture.

For more information, contact Dr. Annabella España-Nájera at AEspanaNajera@csufresno.edu or 559.278.2848