Wednesday, June 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 146


Festival highlights Latino art

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 of art.

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 Festival.

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."

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