Festival highlights Latino
By Geronimo Rodriguez
The Daily Cougar
Those interested in the artistic history
of one of the world's culturally richest communities usually have to settle
for the colorful murals found on a
few buildings in Houston's eastside.
Photo courtesy of Flores,
Roffiel, Senyal and Associates
Francisco Gattorno (left)
and Angelica Aragon star in Oscar Blancarte's Late and Within Nighttime
(Entre La Tarde Y La Noche). This is one of
many films being presented during the
Cine Cuahatemoc Pan American Film-Video Festival.
But for a week, the successful lives of
Chicano and Latino artists will be showcased and examined in all aspects
Jesus Cantu Medel, founder and director
of the Museo Guadalupe Aztlan, has collaborated with members of the community
to create what will
be the fourth Cuauhtemoc Pan Am Film-Video
The festival, which will feature educational,
environmental, political and artistic themes regarding the country's growing
number of Chicano and
Latino artists, will run June 17 to 21
at the University of Houston-Downtown's Wilhelmina Robertson Cullen Auditorium.
The festival's idea "grew out of my masters'
thesis, which focused on this concept in art called neo-indigenism," Medel
said. "What it tries to do
is embrace pre-Colombian culture, whether
it be the icons or the stylistic features in artwork, and marriages that
with contemporary Chicano art."
The presentations will come in the form
of documentaries, animated and short films, all of which will focus on
Chicano neo-indigenism. The art
form was created in Mexico and transcended
to California and then Texas, Medel said.
Medel also feels the festival will help
fuel aspiring Chicano artists with a need to remember the past, thus developing
a sense of confidence in
their desire to create.
"We're trying to infuse cultural icons
within the film festival," Medel said. "The goal is to energize the Chicano-Latino
media artists that we have in
Houston and to create a forum for those
individuals to present their work."
In terms of what audience the festival
aims to appeal to, Medel hopes the city's youth realizes that it's never
too soon to begin creating art.
"There are children in other countries
helping make some of the films we show," Medel said. "The city just doesn't
help with passing the word to
the kids in the barrios."
With films, poetry readings and forums
addressing issues found in the material, the festival also expects to establish
the fact that, for the most
part, the country's Latino population
isn't represented as much as it could be, and is largely ignored.
"We're also trying to create media equity
in the United States," Medel said. "There is a lot of talent in Houston,
and not only do we want to raise
the social consciousness, but we are also
trying to promote cultural tourism in the more under-served communities."