Latin-American Film Festival Spices Up May

Whether you’re a foreign film junkie or just enjoy movies in general, the UCI Latin-American Film Festival has lots to offer its viewers.
During this month-long film showcase, the UCILAFF has compiled films from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
The first showing was on April 29 and will continue until May 21. All shows are held at the Humanities Instructional Building and are open to the public as well as students.
The UCILAFF was organized through the collaboration of various departments and individuals. Among them are the UCI Film and Video Center, Latin-American studies director Jaime E. Rodriguez and Carmen Serrano, a graduate student in the Spanish and Portuguese department at UCI.
‘[Serrano] and the Latin-American Studies department actually did pretty much most of it. They found all these films and they worked with the different professors who recommended some of these films. [The Film and Video Center] needs help like this to do cross-disciplinary events because they help us share expenses and everything. [The Latin-American Studies department has] been really good co-sponsors with us,’ said Ben Yater, assistant director of the Film and Video Center.
Yater worked closely with the department in planning and scheduling the screenings, and often had to work around scheduling conflicts.
‘We had to switch a couple of the dates from a Saturday to a different Sunday because the projectionist had other obligations,’ Yater said.
Another key player in orchestrating the UCILAFF is Jaime E. Rodriguez. His involvement in the film festival spans across the past four years, when he first became the director of Latin American Studies. The previous director, Jacobi Sefami, first started the festival six years ago and Rodriguez continued it after his retirement.
‘Film in Latin America has become very important and received recognition worldwide for its art. It is an important aspect of the vibrant, active Latin-American culture,’ Rodriguez said.
In regards to the funding for the UCILAFF, Rodriguez used a Title VI grant from the Department of Education that the Latin-American Studies department received two years ago. Every year, each state receives $3 million in their Title VI grant which is divided into smaller grants for individual programs.
‘The federal grant ends this year so we’re hoping to acquire new funds for next year,’ Rodriguez said.
With the funding and location set, one thing was left to do: procure the films to showcase. That job was left up to Spanish graduate student Carmen Serrano.
Planning for the UCILAFF actually started last year when Serrano went to the Havana Film Festival in Cuba.
‘I wanted films from 2003 that had received awards and special mentions at other festivals,’ Serrano said when asked about the criteria she used for selecting the films.
One particular film that received many awards was ‘El Misterio de la Trinidad’ (‘The Mystery of Trinidad’), which was showcased on May 8.
The film followed the story of Juan, a divorced doctor, and how he copes with the death of his estranged father. The events that follow are in sync with the Mexican style of film that is both commercial and scandalous.
‘Be prepared for a different kind of film,’ said Juan Bruce-Novoa, professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department.
Among those in attendance on May 8 were students as well as members of the UCI community.
‘I bought the series pass so I intend to be here all the time,’ said Vera Viana-Asper, a local resident.
Diego Solares, a first-year ICS major, had mixed views on the film.
‘It had entertainment value