Spanish film fest brings diversity in campus events

Bobby Shipman

USI’s Spanish Film Festival kicked off Sept. 6, with minimal attendance.

Merely 30-40 attendees were present for Friday’s screening of Spanish film “Wilaya,” the first in a series of five Spanish movies that will be presented in Forum I.

“We have to probably promote more across campus because I think that there were not enough,” said Norma Rosas-Mayer. “We expected more people.”

The associate professor of Spanish at USI said she believes that multicultural events, such as Friday’s screening, are good for the USI community and the Evansville community.

“It’s a good window to see the situation of many (immigrant) countries of Northern Africa,” Mayer said.

Mayer thought the movie portrayed well the current, political, economic and linguistic situation of many of these countries.

The film takes place in a Saharan refugee camp that protagonist Fatimetu has returned to, having been in Spain for 10 years under foster care, after her mother’s death.

“The movie is so tender,” said Manuel Apodaca-Valdez,  associate professor of Spanish. “There’s a lot of meaning behind the kind of scenes that we’re watching.”

Valdez said he was impressed with the films ability to tackle subjects like feminism, multiculturalism and multilingualism.

The movie also portrays thousands of refugees in Algeria who are almost ignored by everybody around the world said Valdez.

“We want the community to come and we want our students to come,” said Anna Lisa Halling, an assistant professor of Spanish.

The Spanish film festival was Halling’s “brain child,” as she said.

“These are exciting explorations that people are doing,” Halling said.

Halling said  every film in the festival have been recognized by international film festivals. She knows that USI students and the Evansville community will have no way locally to access the films in the format USI is providing.

Each film presented delves into different social issues and reveal different cultural aspects of different Spanish speaking countries all over the world.

USI student Destini Moody said she wants a place in Evansville, or on campus, designated to featuring foreign films on a regular basis.

“There are a lot of foreign movies out there having access to them would enrich the university’s community,”  Moody said.

Moody often travels to California where she can easily access diverse cinema.

“When I see a Bollywood film, I get such a different experience,” Moody said. “There is a lot more pride in smaller industry films and I wish people (in Evansville) could experience that.”

Lorenna Boyle, a Spanish teacher at Signature school was shocked by “Wilaya.”

“I am from Mexico, and I think I know a little about Spain and all that, and I never thought about this,” Boyle said.

Boyle said she believes it is important for students of all ages to see this film and others like it.

“They need to see how lucky they are,” Boyle said.