Short Film and Documentary Festival

SYNOPSIS OF FILM IN THE FESTIVAL 

*- RELATOS ENTRE CADENAS by Mady Samper (Colombia. 2007) DVD

This new production by Mady Samper (Voces de una Colombia posible, 2004. Los Caminos de la Amapola, 2005) shows the economic and psychological burdens suffered by families and former victims of kidnapping in Colombia. The initial objective of the film was to prepare the environment for the peace negotiations between the ELN (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional) and the Colombian government that had taken place in Havana, Cuba in 2007. In doing that, Samper tried to allow the participation of the civil society in the negotiations. The documentary was commissioned by the office of the U.N.Peace Commissioner and País Libre Foundation (an advocacy group that works with families and victims of kidnapping). In the documentary, the victims and families call for an open and real negotiation to end kidnapping as political and economic tool by the illegal groups and make a call for a sustainable, concrete, and truthful participation of the government to finish the phenomenon. They call for an ending of the arrogance showed by the parts and for a system that supports and maintains a fluid communication between the parts and the civil society, in particular families and victims.  

 According to Samper, “the documentary Relatos Entre Cadenas has been for the government, an uncomfortable truth, because it does not like people taking directly about what they have in mind.”

Spanish (60min).

 

*- BRASILEIRINHO by Mika Kaurismäki (Brazil-Finland, 2005). DVD

It is a musical documentary film about “Choro,” the first genuinely Brazilian urban music. It was back in the late 19th century in Rio de Janeiro when Brazilian musicians started to blend European melodies, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and the melancholic interpretation of the Brazilian Indians' music to create Choro. Choro is credited as being the first musical expression of Brazil's melting pot and had a prominent place in the development of Brazil's cultural identity. Choro remained a major popular music style until the 1920s, leading directly into Samba and later to Bossa Nova. After a slight decline in popularity, Choro music has made a remarkable comeback over the past few decades. "Playing" interviews with well-known Samba and Bossa Nova artists like Zezé Gonzaga, Elza Soares and Guinga illustrate the reciprocal inspiration with Samba and Bossa Nova music. A final show of the "Trio Madeira Brasil" with their guests in one of Rio's traditional music halls show once more the opulence of rhythms and melodies in Choro that has evolved over the past 130 years into a fascinating form of modern tropical sound.

Portuguese and English with English subtitles. (90 min.)

 

*- Pascua Lama: A contemporary quest for El Dorado by Carolina Loyola-Garcia & Gloria Loyola (Chile, 2007) DVD

"Pascua Lama: A Contemporary Quest for El Dorado" explores the complicated dynamics of the mining industry in Chile. Focusing on the mining project called Pascua Lama, being developed by the Canadian Barrick Gold Corporation in Northern Chile, this documentary dives into the reality of developing countries which due to unwilling governments who lack long-term vision, sell their natural resources without considering sustainable development strategies for their communities, thus fostering a new model of colonization sponsored by the corporate developed world.

Spanish and English with subtitles (64min.)

 

*- Comunidad de Paz by Massimiliano Carboni (Italy. 2005). DVD

The documentary is a collective portrait (and in extension a landscape-film) of members of the so-called “comunidades de paz” (Peace Communities) in Colombia. These communities live in some of the most dangerous places in the country (el Magadalena Medio, La Mojana, Atrato River, Uraba, and Ciudad Bolivar). They have decided not to take position (for any arm agent) and for instance defy the now 50 year internal conflict. The journey takes Carboni into their daily lives and to ask why these communities exits and how they survive. In order to answer such question he puts together a panel of experts that interact through the film with the interviews and natural scenes of the members and communities themselves. 

Spanish or Italian / no English. (60min.)

 

*- Book 'Em: Undereducated, Overincarcerated by Youth Rights Media (Pittsburgh. 2006). DVD

After successfully exposing injustices at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in their 2004 documentary, CJTS: At What Cost? youth filmmakers at Youth Rights Media have turned their attention and their cameras-to uncovering the school to prison pipeline. In the face of No Child Left Behind and public outcry about the statewide “Achievement Gap,” YRM media makers pose and explore an important but seldom asked question: how are laws, policies and institutional procedures pushing youth out of the classrooms and closer to jail cells?

English (45min.)

 

*-Paolo Lugari: A Renaissance Man (Pittsburgh. 2007) By Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, Gioconda Perez Snyder. DVD

Gaviotas is an utopian community that was created in 1967 in a far-isolated and barren savanna in the Eastern Plains of Colombia. This documentary introduces the work of Lugari, who founded the community and presents his vision on sustainable development and biological capitalism  in the tropical belt. Notes on his visit to Pittsburgh.

English. (25min.)

 

*-1 - @andalusi@ The Baglady by Miguel Rojas Sotelo (Colombia-USA, 2007). DVD

The film is based on the artistic practices of an (i)ndy media artist-activist. It functions as a pseudo portrait of an imaginary-real artist that deals with a counter systemic way to produce art and communication in a urban setting in contemporary United States.

Spanish and English (with subtitles) 30min.

 

*- February / Unknown / Fissures by Julieta Maria (Palesatine-Colombia. 2006). DVD

Short films. Julieta Maria explores through memory and media-images her heritage as Palestine-Colombian living in Canada. The subtle and poetic results are reached thanks to a balance of the placing of image, text and sound.

Spanish & English (15min.)

 

*-Alamar Express (Cuba. 2006). DVD

Series of performances and video-art-clips by the Cuban Collective OMNI.

Spanish only (45min.)

 

*-The Other Side by Bill Brown (USA. 2006). DVD

A 2000-mile journey along the U.S./Mexico border reveals a geography of aspiration and insecurity. While documenting the efforts of migrant activists to establish a network of water stations in the borderlands of the southwestern U.S., Brown considers the border as a landscape, at once physical, historical, and political. To view a trailer for THE OTHER SIDE please visit

English (43min.)

 

*- El Machete: La Lucha por el Poder Popular  by Simon Sedillo (2007) DVD

The multi-media presentation entitled "El Machete: La Lucha por el Poder Popular" shows the struggle of the Grass Roots Communities and the resistance movement in Oaxaca. The presentation features videos produced by various indigenous communities in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico. We will screen COMPROMISO CUMPLIDO- IMPUNIDAD EN OAXACA (70 min) (True to my Pledge) filmed and edited by the COLECTIVE MAL DE OJO TV ( http://maldeojotv.net/) will take place. The film documents some of the horrors committed against the civil society of Oaxaca, and shows the strategy of state terrorism employed by the local governor. To date 25 known deaths have been reported, and yet there have been no criminal accusations or investigations for these murders.

Spanish and English, with subtitles (65min.)

 

*- Nuestro Pueblo /Our People by Juan José García - Ojo de Agua (Oaxaca, Mexico. 2000-06). DVD

It is a description of the daily life of the Zapotecan community en Santiago Zoochile, in the Northen region of Oaxaca, Mexico. It allows to undertand how the social tissue had been weaving along the time in order to survive the present conditons of the global economy and social unrest.

A partir de la descripción de la vida cotidiana de la comunidad zapoteca de Santiago Zoochila, en la Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, podemos conocer el tejido social y las instituciones que este pueblo ha creado a lo largo del tiempo para preservar su forma de vida.

Spanish with English subtitles (27min.)

 

*-McDonals el Tomate y tu / Con Estas Manos... by CIW (Imokale, Florida. 2006) and Immokalee: From Slavery to Freedom by Jeff Imig and Pan Left Productions (2004)  DVD

Short pieces that are a reflection on way we consumed agricultural products that are part of the industrilized machine that uses cheap labor. A second piece show the hands that pick tomatoes for the fast-food industry and the inhumane conditions so prevalent today in Florida's fields. Immokalee: a story of slavery and freedom. Brutal exploitation of farm workers, including slavery and indentured servitude, continues to plague thousands in the fields and groves of south Florida. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers struggles to build solidarity and fight back against the abuses. Immokalee, a new documentary by Jeff Imig, shows this struggle and examines how the Coalition has been so successful through its three-pronged effort of organizing in the fields, education and broad community solidarity

English (30min.)

 

*-I The Film by Rafael Lyon and Andres Ingoglia (Argentina-USA. 2006) DVD

“i” is a meditation on the relationship between media and power as it is manifested by the worlds largest all volunteer network of media activists — Indymedia. The feature-length documentary follows the first year of a small collective in Buenos Aires as it struggles amidst assassinations, a collapsing economy, and a whirlwind of political upheaval. “i”is being distributed using an experimental, decentralized network-building method that mirrors the grassroots media-making the film is about. You can particpate in reviews, feedback, and an ongoing conversation with the directors.

English-Spanish (66min.)

 

*- Streets Mutha by Alucine workshops in collaboration with the centre for Spanish Speaking People, coordinated and produced by Jorge Lozano and Guillermina Buzio on 2005, 28 min. DVD

The second part composed by videos produced as part of the Alucine workshops in collaboration with the city of Cali, Colombia, 2006, 20 min. DVD

Spanglish, English, and Spanish (48 min.)

 

*- Historia de los Noticieros de Televisión en Colombia 1960 -1980 by Fabio López de la Roche (2007) DVD

Spanish only (60 min)

 

*- American Visa by Juan Carlos Valdivia (Bolivia, 2006). DVD

Mario is a retired English teacher from the Bolivian countryside. Leaving his career, his home, his town and his past, he sets out to follow his dream of seeing the United States. More than just visiting the US, Mario hopes to become a part of the American dream. To get there, however, he must travel to La Paz to secure a travel visa. In La Paz, he meets and befriends exotic dancer, Blanca. They have widely divergent dreams, which a growing attraction for each other underscores. Will Mario get his visa and follow his dream or will a new love and dream intervene? Based on the novel by Juan de Recacochea.

Spanish with English subtitles. (90min.)

 

*- A Paper Tiger (Un Tigre de Papel) by Luis Ospina (Colombia, 2007) DVD

Telling the story of Pedro Manrique Figueroa, the pioneer of collage in Colombia, Ospina proposes nothing less than the retelling and re-imagining of a crucial period of Colombian history, from the civil war that began in 1948 to the guerrilla fighting and new drug culture of the 1970s. A Paper Tigre is a collage itself, where art and politics,trae and lies are place side by side. Where documentary and fiction intermingle.

Ospina's work consists of features, short films and documentaries. At the 2000 Cartagena Film Festival, he was named best director for his fiction feature "Soplo De Vida" (Breath of life) which also won best film. His documentary "La Desazón Suprema" (The supreme uneasiness) on the Colombian writer Fernando Vallejo, won the Grand Prix Award in the best documentary category at the 2004 Toulouse Latin American Film Festival. In 2006, he received the Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film.

Spanish, English subtitles. (120 min.)

 

*- Through the Eyes of Larry Harlow, by Juan Guzmán (Puerto Rico, 1998). DVD

This film documents the life of Latin music innovator, Larry Harlow, his love affair with Latin music, beginning in Cuba in the 1950’s, his part in the founding and success of Fania Records, and his work promoting, producing, and preserving the history and music of Latin America. This film features interviews with legends of Latin music, footage of performances dating back to the 1950’s and gives the viewer a look into the soul of Latin music, yesterday and today.

English (70 min.)

 

*- A través de tus Ojos (Throug Your Eyes). Guillermina Buzio & Eva Urrutia (Argentina-Canada, 2002) DVD

In a poetical journey Buzio recreates some of the moments in which a mother is taken away by the military during the dictatorship in some place in Latin America. Functioning almost as an autobiography the short fictional film addresses family relationships and a child worldview of an historical moment that is worth revisited. A woman, one of the Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo reconnects time that in the film jumps freely as memory does.

Spanish with English subtitles. (15 min.)

 

*- Karma (Drama) by Adriana Babinski (USA, 2005) 16mm

Karma is a film that reveals the extent to which love and passion impact the lives of individuals. Two characters coming from different places meet each other. He is a painter, she is an enigma. This meeting changes their lives forever.

This project received Eastman Kodak Award from Pittsburgh filmmakers.

English. (16 min.)

 

*- donde by Eduardo Lalo. (Puerto Rico) DVD

Desafía los clichés turísticos del Caribe ("Color tropical", "Sol y playa"). Explora los "no-lugares" de una ciudad contemporánea como San Juan, adentrándose en imágenes de alienación y de poesía, de vaciamiento y esplendor secreto, con un ritmo melancólico, intenso y cautivante. Está artísticamente vinculada al libro de foto-crónica igualmente titulado.

Spanish (25 mins.)

 

*- La ciudad perdida by Eduardo Lalo. DVD

Edición de sonido: Francisco Torres. Música: Tito Díaz y Reactor Patagonia. Diseño Gráfico: Juan Carlos Torres Cartagena. La ciudad revela su revés insólito y absurdo. Examina, mediante el montaje poético de imágenes sorprendentes, la alienación de los espacios urbanos post-industriales en sus dimensiones invisibilizadas, tomando como caso a San Juan de Puerto Rico.

Spanish (35mins.)

 

*- Terminal by Andres Tapia-Urzua (Chile-USA, 2005) DVD

Terminal is a compelling expose into the identity of terrorism. Our host, an ever diligent and exuberant television journalist investigates the dark realities behind contesting definitions of terrorism. With the help of Eqbal Ahmad’s essay “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours,” the participants decode for the viewer the many roles a terrorist can play.

English. (15:00 min.)

 

*- El Chacotero Sentimental by Cristian Galaz (Chile, 1999) DVD

Three stories broadcasted live in radio in 1997-98 became the object of this comedy. From the conversations the radio host, el Rumpy, creates tension between the people involved in each story. Patas Negras (Comedy) / Secretos (Drama) / Todo es Cancha (Tragic-comedy) are the shorts that compose this film.

Spanish with English subtitles (88min.)

 

* Visitas by Pedro Lange and Carolina Rueda (Venezuela- Colombia, 2006) DVD

Elements from melodrama, the absurd, tragedy and suspense find themselves in this trilogy to draw a psychological sketch of violence. Through the subtle relationship of three stories and the life situations of their respective protagonists, VISITAS, far from limiting itself to recreate the common places of violence in Latin America, situates us in violence's dark alleyways. The Three Stories I. La Visita Irene is a woman from the upper classes who has recently divorced. She embodies the social isolation and prejudice of people from her social class. The troubling presence of a wounded man lying in the kitchen floor of her home provokes in Irene a transformation that leads her from insights about particular traumas in her life to outright cruelty. II. The Other Guest. Fearful of Bogota's reputation as a dangerous city, Vicente Langevic arrives in Bogota from Chile on a business trip, with the intention of leaving the city as soon as possible. With the aid of the hotel clerk, the waiter and an array of sinister characters, Vicente becomes paranoid. III. The Burial Now the visitors are a family of "desplazados", people who, caught in the cross fire of Colombia's war, flee their homes in the country side and lead homeless lives in Bogotá and other cities in Colombia.

Spanish with English subtitles. (90 min.)

 

*- Video Art Curated by Arlan Londoño

Spanish and English

 

*- Tambogrande by Ernesto Cabellos " (Peru 2007) DVD

The documentary tells the story of a group of pioneers in San Lorenzo, in northern Peru. They had transformed a desert into a valley, now they are struggling against a Canadian gold mine company that supported by the Peruvian government. The mine would destroy the town and the field crops they have worked decades for.

Cuenta la historia de los pioneros de San Lorenzo, en el norte del Perú, que transforman un desierto en valle y lo defienden cuando llega al pueblo una empresa canadiense, aliada con el gobierno y la poderosa industria minera, interesada en explotar un yacimiento de oro que es descubierto justo debajo las calles del pueblo y sus tierras de cultivo.

Spanish with English subtitles. (52min)

 

El Comite by Mateo Herrera (research Jorge Nuñez). (Ecuador, 2005)

Spanish with English subtitles (93min.)

 

 


 

Sponsored by:

Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), UCIS, A& S Graduate Studies Office, Cultural Studies Program, Studio Arts Program,  Hispanic Languages and Literatures, and the English Department of the University of Pittsburgh. Also supported by the History Department  and Modern Languages Carnegie Mellon University.