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SOLAS Celebrates Ibero-American Cinema with Sin Fronteras Film Festival

On February 1-2, 2013, the Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS) sponsored the 8th annual Sin Fronteras Film Festival. This year SOLAS partnered with a number of campus and community organizations to bring the festival to fruition. The Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque, the Graduate and Professional Student Association, El Centro de la Raza, and the Latin American and Iberian Institute were silent but supportive partners as SOLAS graduate students staged the festival. The Guild Cinema supported the festival as well by serving as the main venue for the film screenings.

Underlying the local organizers' efforts was the notable support of Pragda's Spanish Film Club, an initiative organized through the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C, Spain-USA Foundation. Each year the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, and its program for Cultural Cooperation with United States' Universities, supports North American universities in showing Latin American and Iberian cinema on their campuses. In 2012-2013, the LAII and SOLAS were one of 56 universities which received a competitive grant to bring Pragda's Spanish Film Club series to campus.

Receiving Pragda's grant ensured that SOLAS and partner organizations were able to bring five engaging and authentic films to Albuquerque. Below is a snapshot review of the films that were screened:

From the Land to Your Table / Que culpa tiene el tomato (2009) - An incisive documentary involving seven directors from seven different countries as they investigate the conditions and cultural diversity of popular produce markets in their individual countries.

Undertow / Contracorriente (2010) - A small community in Peru with deep-rooted religious traditions is the contrasting setting for two men whose love for each other endures even death.

The Death of Pinochet / La muerte de Pinochet (2011) - A controversial documentary that details the 24 hours following the death of General Pinochet in Santiago, Chile through original footage and the testimonies of four characters who recall those hours.

The Cinema Hold Up / Asalto al Cine (2011) - A series of interconnected vignettes from the lives of a group of teenagers growing up in a rundown district of Mexico City illustrate their desperate amusement with life as they have the bright idea of robbing a movie theater.

Even the Rain / También la lluvia (2011) - A self-aware film about filmmaking in Bolivia explores how to document Columbus' voyage to the New World and the subjugation of the indigenous population. In the process, the historical events are juxtaposed against contemporary crises as protests erupt over privatization and scarce resources.

For more information about the film festival, visit the Sin Fronteras blog or its Facebook page.

--Posted Thursday, February 7, 2013.