Hispanic Film Festival open eyes to new culture

Jackson Mainellis

It’s January once again and that means it’s time for the Annual Hispanic Film Festival. The festival showcases the rich film industry of Spain and Latin American countries for the Augustana community and the Quad Cities area to enjoy.

The festival is a five-week event that takes place every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm in the Hanson Hall of Science. A different Hispanic film is shown each time with English subtitles for those who don’t know the language. The films shown are internationally recognized and many have been highly awarded.

Dr. Jeanneth Vazquez, the professor in charge of choosing the films, spoke on why she chose the films scheduled throughout the next five weeks.

“Many of the films shown have either won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, or have been nominees,” Vazquez said.  “Every year, young directors with a new vision emerge, and we take great pleasure in introducing their masterpieces to the Augustana and Quad Cities community.”

The long running tradition of the Hispanic Film Festival dates back to 1994,

Jackson Parrish, first year and Spanish 301 student, said he loves the idea of the festival.

“I love being immersed in new ideas and new cultures that I am unfamiliar with. I think my Spanish education has allowed me to explore these foreign cultures in a way I couldn’t before I knew the language,” Parrish said.

Parrish also said that a language barrier shouldn’t discourage students or anyone from the quad cities community  from attending the event.

“Although an understanding of the Spanish language helps with these films, they are still quite intriguing and accessible to English speakers thanks to the English subtitles and real world depth to them,” Parrish said.

The films shown are typically highly personalized stories that deal with real world problems and triumphs that can create strong emotional reactions with the audience.

‘Sin nombre’ in particular, tackles the current issue of immigration through the viewpoint of Honduran teenager, Sayra, as she tries to immigrate to the United States and a boy dealing with the gang violence of his area.

The film won awards for directing and cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival.

The goal of the festival, according to Dr. Vazquez is to, “[the goal is] to teach Augustana students about the art and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. We want to challenge students with political, social, economic, and cultural issues.

Most films students see, are American films so we give them this magnificent opportunity to broaden their knowledge about the world.”

Overall, the Annual Hispanic Film Festival is a golden opportunity to learn more about the Spanish-speaking world and experience some incredible foreign cinema.

The films take place all across the Spanish-speaking world, from Peru to Cuba, to Honduras, and Spain.

The festival is an opportunity for students to follow stories in places they may never experience, right from their school.