Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana hosts 27th annual Hispanic Film Fest

Jessica Ramirez

Augustana has a rich tradition of hosting a Hispanic Film Festival for students and the surrounding community, and this year marks the 27th annual festival organized by the college’s Spanish Program. The festival started Nov. 1 and will end on Dec. 6. 

Jeanneth Vázquez, a Spanish professor at Augustana, founded the film festival. Since its beginning, the festival has worked to bring attention to Hispanic culture. 

“The festival is part of the Spanish program’s continuing effort to increase the Quad Cities and the Augustana College community awareness and appreciation for Hispanic culture,” Vázquez said. 

One way that the festival reaches the local community is by engaging high school students. The movie list is sent out to local high schools, and many classes from these schools come to showings.

There are also devoted community members that have been coming to the festival for many years. 

“We usually have a group that come with their husbands or friends,” Vázquez said. “They have been coming [since the festival started] and you can see how they have progressed in age because when they first started coming they were young.”

Along with local community members, Augustana students are encouraged to come to the festival. Vázquez’s Spanish class, among others, uses the movies shown as a learning experience for their students.  

“The First-Year students are required to go to one film and write a report where they comment on the film and the connection they feel between the film and the class,” Vázquez said.

Monica Mawi, a First-Year student, said she enjoyed the films and said the movie offered her a new perspective.

“There were some Hispanic films that I watched in high school but those were more English appropriated. This one was heavily based on their culture and their way of talking was more fluent,” Mawi said.  

First-Year Renee Holloway said that the movies were unique and their messages were impactful.

“It’s a type of storytelling that I don’t watch very often,” Holloway said. “It offers a window into another person’s life and another person’s experience, and I think when we get to know how other people live it improves our empathy and awareness of the world.”

The movies are carefully selected by Vázquez with the goal of promoting less mainstream and sometimes lower budget movies from different genres. Another criteria in the selection is that the movies have either won or been nominated for some type of movie award. The awards range from Oscars, Golden Globes, the Goya awards (the Spanish version of the Oscars) and other smaller awards from film festivals. 

Vázquez’s end goal in choosing the movies is to give attention to Hispanic and Hispanic American countries’ art while also spreading the art of film (called the seventh art). 

“These movies demonstrate the originality of the cinema, directors and producers from Hispanic countries,” Vázquez said. “We strive to have the seventh art to be known by our community.”

This month, two movies have been shown so far. The film festival started with an emotional and personal film called “Canción sin nombre” which translates to “Song Without a Name.” 

“The first one students enjoyed tremendously and they were very touched by the film,” Vázquez said. “Some of them were crying because it is about a mother in Peru whose daughter is stolen by a fake health clinic.”

Each movie shown brings a very different story and emotion, ranging from sorrowful personal stories to goofy comedies. The comedy “Campeones,” which translates to “Champions,” was shown on Nov. 15. 

There are two movies left in the festival this year. A documentary called “El botón de nácar,” which translates to “The Pearl Button,” will be shown on Nov. 29 and the Oscar winning drama called “Argentina” will be shown on Dec. 6. 

All students are encouraged to come join the movie night and get a taste of what the Hispanic film festival has to offer. The movies will be shown in Hanson 102 at 7 p.m. 

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