Latino Film Festival returns for second year

Maquilapolis: City of Factories
Maquilapolis: City of Factories

NIU’s second annual Latino Film Festival returns March 27.

Organizers will screen three films.

First on the docket is the award-winning documentary “Maquilapolis: City of Factories,” which will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in Room 121 of the Latino Center, 515 Garden Road.

The Spanish-language film examines the struggle of two women to improve working conditions in maquiladoras, or multinationally owned factories, that sit on the border between Mexico and the United States.

Linda Saborio, an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Vanessa Segundo, a research and project specialist for NIU’s Latino Resource Center, will lead a discussion after the screening.

Sponsors are the Women’s Studies Program, the Center for Latino & Latin American Studies and the Latino Resource Center.

“Precious Knowledge” will screen from 6:30 to 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in Montgomery Hall. Filmmaker Eren McGinnis will lead a question-and-answer session following the screening; McGinnis also will hold a meet-and-greet from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Latino Center.

Precious KnowledgeThe documentary brings viewers into the classroom of the Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School, and introduces them to students, teachers, administrators and members of the community.

Students credit the program with inspiring them to continue their education through knowledge of their history and culture. Data shows that 93 percent of students enrolled in the program have graduated, and 85 percent have enrolled in college; these numbers contrast the 48 percent drop-out rate of Latinos across the entire school district.

In January 2012, however, the school district closed the Mexican American Studies Program. The film documents the ongoing struggle of Latino students and teachers to reinstate the program in a hostile political environment.

Sponsors are the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations,  the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy, Unity In Diversity and Women’s Studies.

Tambien la Lluvia“Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain)” will show from 7 to 9 p.m.Tuesday, April 3, in the Cavan Auditorium of Gabel Hall (Room 126).

This 2010 Spanish-language film by Icíar Bollaín follows Mexican director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and executive producer Costa (Luis Tosar) to Bolivia to shoot a film depicting Christopher Columbus’s conquest.

Sebastián and Costa unexpectedly find themselves in a moral crisis when they and their crew arrive at Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the intensifying 2000 protests led by their key native actor, Daniel.

Spain’s official Oscar submission to the 2010 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, the movie sets up an intriguing dialogue about Spanish imperialism through incidents taking place some 500 years apart while examining the personal belief systems of a film crew making a revisionist picture about the conquest of Latin America.

For more information on the Latino Film Festival, call (815) 753-1531 or email latinostudies@niu.edu.

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