Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Hispanic Film Festival gives Augie students a glimpse into another culture

The festival was created by Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez in 1994. Dr. Vázquez stated that “the goal of the film festival is to teach Augustana students about the art & culture of Spanish-speaking countries and to challenge students with political, social, economic and cultural issues”. Dr. Vázquez states that most of the films students get to see are American films and so the Hispanic Film Festival is an opportunity to broaden their knowledge about the world.
An additional factor that influenced the founding of the festival was the growing number of Hispanic students attending Augustana. The film festival is also open to the Quad Cities Community and the goal for this is very similar: to increase the community’ awareness and appreciation of Hispanic culture and art. Ever since its creation, Dr. Vázquez says that the festival has been enthusiastically received by the Augustana and Quad Cities Community. People even travel from neighboring cities to attend.
Kristen Biefeld, an Augustana student who is studying Spanish for professional use, went to the first film in the festival. She heard about the film festival through her Spanish classes and friends. Biefeld said: “I love the Spanish culture and learning about it. I had visited Costa Rica in high school, and will be going to Ecuador for the summer, and I hope to be working in Latin America.”
According to Biefeld, El boton de nacar (The Pearl Button) was a really interesting movie, because it highlighted the dark history of Chile that usually goes unknown. Biefeld explained that “El Boton de Nacar” was able to spark discussion about this history that usually is not addressed in normal classroom environments.
Dr. Vázquez said that when selecting the films, special preference is given to those which have been given international recognition. Many of the films shown have either won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, or have been nominees. Other films have won awards at Film Festivals around the world. Dr. Vázquez stated that “there is a rich film industry in Spain and Latin America countries and we take great pleasure in introducing their masterpieces to the Augustana and Quad Cities community”.
One of the films selected for the festival that will be shown on January 24 is Tarde para la ira (The Fury of a Patient Man) by director Raúl Arevalo. This film has received high marks from the critics, and several awards: among them, “Best Picture”, “Best Director”,  and “Best Original Screen Play” at the Goya Awards in Spain. Another film El abrazo de la serpiente (The Embrace of the Serpent), nominated for the Oscar Award in 2015, which will close the festival on February 7.
Biefeld stated that having language film festivals on campus “bring[s] the campus together to get a glimpse into another culture, to have a change of perspective about a people possibly across the world, or in our own country that we haven’t learned about. They start discussions among friends and start a conversation about issues others may not have known about.”.Biefeld was happy to see non-Augustana students in the crowd because it showed how important the films were to everyone.

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Hispanic Film Festival gives Augie students a glimpse into another culture