Cine Sin Fronteras
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts CineFestival has brought the best in Latino independent films for more than 25 years. This year's edition, "Many Roads, Un Destino: Chicano/ Latino/Indigenous Perspectives on Immigration," is no exception.
Among this year's highlights are the documentary, Farmingville, by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini, and Robert M. Young's seminal 1977 feature film Alambrista! Together, they not only form cinematic bookends on the plight of undocumented immigrants, but also reflect the best of Chicano filmmaking.
Farmingville, which won a special jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, documents how the suburban Long Island community of Farmingville (population 15,000) reacted when an influx of 1,500 undocumented mostly Mexican workers moved in with promises of day work. The once sleepy township becomes a battlefront as local residents react to the workers' presence. The filmmakers focus their cameras on the volatile issues that resulted after two Mexican laborers were brutally beaten by two white men.
Tambini and Sandoval put a human face on the immigration issues - pro and con - from a local resident who asks, "Why are there hundreds of illegal men in our streets?" to a Mexican worker who laments, "I lost my son's most precious years." This is engaged filmmaking at its finest and makes for informed and gripping viewing.
The trek to el norte to find work is also the focus in Alambrista! When Roberto, a young Michoacan farmer, finds that he can't make ends meet to feed his family, he leaves them to find work en el otro lado - despite the protestations of his mother (his father had made the same decision earlier - to never return). Young, who later made The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, not only directed this film but is also its writer and cinematographer. (Alambrista! won the Camera d'Or Award at Cannes the year it was released.)
As Roberto makes his way to the border, we feel both the dread and fear of the unknown fate that he faces. As portrayed by Texas actor Domingo Ambriz, Roberto's odyssey comes alive. When the camera stoops with laborers in the field, it becomes a character too. On the road, Roberto meets Joe (the late Trinidad Silva), a Mexican farm worker, who shows him the ropes. He teaches him how to order food in a restaurant and to integrate himself into the new world in which he has ventured.
Later, Roberto meets a young white single mom working in a restaurant on the outskirts of Stockton in California. The romance between these two lonely, disenfranchised strangers speaks volumes on the human condition.
The film's surprising ending and the lessons that Roberto learns are both ironic and bittersweet. It is better left for viewers to discover.
Both Alambrista! and Farmingville form a time capsule and primer on the issues faced by Latino immigrants both then and now. With changes coming in our nation's immigration policy, they add valuable insights into the national debate. Above all, they are indeed superb filmmaking.
Cinefestival 2004 Schedule
Most screenings will be at the Guadalupe Theater
$6 daytime screenings
We Speak America, Premio Mesquite Award: Runner-up Short Documentary, dir. David Sweet-Cordero
A Salto de Mata: Historias de Migrantes Indigenas, Premio Mesquite Award: Native American First Place, dir. Javier Sámano Chong
Smithsonian Native American Museum Short Submissions
Many Roads, Un Destino
Fruit of Labor, Premio Mesquite Emerging Documentary, dir. Pepe Urquijo
The Sixth Section, Premio Mesquite: Short Documentary, dir. Alex Rivera
The Show, Premio Mesquite: Best Experi-mental, dir. Cruz Angeles
Lupe and JuanDi From the Block, Premio Mesquite: Best Fiction, dir. Cristina Ibarra
Q&A with Carlos Sandoval & Catherine Tambini Daniel Deportado, dir. Lalo Lopez & Esteban Zul
Bush for Peace, dir. Sarah Christman & Jen Simmons
Voting in America Project: Texas Majority Minority, a work-in-progress by Anne Lewis, Heather Courtney, & Laura Varela
Filmmaker workshops in partnership with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcast Project and Native American Public Television. Through case study, filmmakers can find out the important process for bring work to public television from these vital organizations dedicated to bringing new voices to the public television conversation. A series of shorter workshops on intellectual property and distribution offers a rounded view of the options regional filmmakers have within reach.
11am-noon & 1pm-5pm
San Anto Masterpieces
13 Ounces of Moonshine: A Mexican Love Story, Premio Mesquite: Emerging Fiction, dir. Reynaldo Nieto
Skateboarding Barrio Olympics, dir. Efrain Gutierrez
A Vanishing Breed "Pajarero," dir. Antonio Cisneros
Sex and the Teenager
Latino Veterans, dir. Amanda Rae Cuevas
When It Comes Down to It, dir. Zandra Rios
From The World Around Us: Window Out
Panoptikun, dir. Alberto Roblest
Plastic Cover, dir. Cristina Ibarra
Shattered Dreams, dir. Richard Gonzales, Ismael Leiva and Richard Chalk
Juchitán Queer Paradise, dir. Patricio Henriquez
Out of the Closet, Premio Mesquite: Youth Award, dir. Juan Aguilar
Kiss My Wheels, dir. Miguel Grunstein & Dale Kruzic
Nate, dir. Daralee Fallin
Immigration: Responses To The Challenge
Antorcha: Making a Difference, dir. Joe Arredondo
Siempre, dir. Ruben Obregon Casas
Sobre Pasando La Linea (Crossing the Line), dir. Bill Jungels
Canoa, dir. Thomas Javier Castillo
Family Timeline, dir. Arcadio Muñiz
Reception, hosted by KVDA Telemundo 60
La Ofrenda, dir. Alejandro Fernandez
SweatShop Mom, Premio Mesquite Honorable Mention: Youth
La Tierra del Dolor, dir. Marcial Rios
Alambrista!: The Director's Cut, dir. Robert Young, Edited to a new musical score by Dr. Loco
Performance by Dr. Loco •