Latino and Native American Film Festival sheds light on stereotypes and culture

Dylan Haviland – General Assignment Reporter 

The short film, “Broken Roofs/ Techos Rotos”, directed by Yanillys Perez, opens with a young girl reading a prayer on a cement floor.  Her younger sisters play around her, laughing in delight.  The child reading, Ana, walks around their house which is a broken down living area with pink walls, washed down by to a near white by decay and age.  Ana cares for her younger sisters, growing old for her age as she grows resentful of her neglectful mother.

Perez’s film was a selection in the ‘Shorts Program’ in the Latino and Native American Film Festival.  One of the sections of the festival that hosts films ranging from animated pieces to full length motion pictures.

The Latino and Native American Film Festival seeks to show viewers the culture and real life experiences of Latino and Native Americans throughout the world.  The art pieces battle against stereotypes and aim to create an understanding of all cultures.  In addition to bringing in and retaining Latino and Native American students into universities through the films.

“The films we show are Latinos and Native Americans in other roles other than the stereotypical ones, some of them are about history so it hopefully sheds some light on why the group is in the particular set of circumstances that it’s in, how it got that way and what it does to people and to individuals,” said Professor Carlos Torre, education.  “Some of them are just ordinary life in Latin America in various different countries or about Latinos within the United States.”

The human emotions shown in the festival where prevalent in the short film “Broken Roofs.”  As the title suggests the film shows the fragility of the young girls living situation, a battle against a world that may collapse over their heads.  The film also shows the strength of the individual, as the young girl Ana has the maturity to battle and try to maintain the struggles in her life.

“It wasn’t surprising to me. I know a lot of people in South America live like that. I’m a social work major so it was very upsetting to me to see the mother just neglecting her children and not really being there for them,” said Taya Vazquez, junior and social work.  “I think that’s why I was so attached to them in the film. I had my eye on it the whole time.”

Other works in the short films section included the Cuban short “Yunaisy.”  The film is an import piece that narrates the struggle of a young Cuban documentary maker, whose new career and scholarship is threatened if he does not sensor an interview in his film.

The filmmaker battles against his older and more experienced producer, proclaiming the ethics and morality of keeping the interview in the film.  A powerful clash of generations as both battle against each other’s viewpoints on the world.

“It’s the kind of things that students either identify with because they are living them or they could identify with them and at the same time to help them understand their own cultural background because maybe many of the Latinos born in this country have an incomplete version of their history and sometimes the language,” said Torre.  “So it’s bringing all of these cultures together.”

The film festival concluded with a documentary and film that showed the strength of community and family.  “The Blue Apple Tree/ El Manzano Azul” directed by Olegario Barrera, reflects upon the confrontation of different cultures when a child used to technology is made to live with his grandfather in the rural country.  Ultimately, the two learn come to an understanding of each other’s culture and the values they can learn from it.


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