Screening of Films on Mexico and Colombia by Scholar-Activists Set for 4/15

April 8, 2014

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, CLACS will host a screening of a set of short documentary films by young Latin American scholar-activists that show how citizens in Medellin, Colombia and Zacatecas, Mexico surmount challenges of poverty, violence and social exclusion with dignity, resilience, and innovation.     

Froylan Enciso of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC-San Diego and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Tamera Merko of Emerson College and Duke University, and Jota Samper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will screen short films and offer reflections on their work.

The event will take place at 5 p.m. at the Watson Institute for International Studies in Joukowsky Forum.

Free and open to the public.

Synopses of the films follow:


 This documentary is not yet another condemnation of the problems within the Mexican education system. Middle school students, teachers, and families from the modest town of Presa de Maravillas, Zacatecas show us that an alternative education system is possible, when teaching and learning are interest-driven. Learning communities, created through the construction of tutoring networks, have been the key in their school to teaching students to be more confident in their ability to learn. If you’re interested in learning more about tutoría, how this teaching model can change the fabric of society, and where and how this innovative form of teaching and learning is emerging, all you need to do is watch and listen. The teachers and students from Presa de Maravillas will explain it to you, in a way both friendly and inspiring.

El triunfo
Runtime 5:41 / Produced by Carolina de Armas, 2010
Farconely Torres describes how she organized displaced women, children and men in her community to protest at City Hall in Medellín for the right to remain on the land where they had built their homes with found materials. This protest happened after people had come and burned down their homes—twice. Before it happened again, Farconely organized women to and children to, as she says, "demonstrate our need" as mothers, children, families and residents of Medellín and citizens of Colombia.
Su baile de desplazamiento
Runtime 13:41 / Produced by Alexa Barrett, 2012
Sobeida Tinoco, a descendant from the indigenous tribe Múisca de los Indios, tells her story of displacement due to violence caused by three warring groups in the Colombian banana growing region: guerrilla, paramilitary, and Colombian army. She also tells her story of self-settlement in Medellín, where she and her children first endured ongoing drug traffic, military, police and gang violence. Sobeida now has built her home and is planning to open a corner store in her neighborhood. Her story is an X-ray of the last 20 years of violence in Colombia. It is also an X-ray of ways that women have worked with fellow community members, NGOs, international agencies and the Colombia government to build their homes and neighborhoods with their own hands.
Ladera, vida, y dignidad
Runtime 10:56 / Produced by Julie Zuckerbrod, 2012
Rosalba Salazar and her son Zuleta Salazar narrate the day that violence forced them to flee their rural community in Segovia, Colombia and self-settle in Medellín. They describe how Rosalba organized other displaced people in her new urban neighborhood so they could strategically work together in accessing everyday needs and resources from the government, NGOS, aid agencies and each other. Zuleta discusses how he recently, as a new film student at the university in Medellín, has begun to join his mother in her organizing by making a documentary about his community.
Mario Osorio's speech for Proyecto Carrito
Runtime 17:58 / Produced by Ryan Catalani, 2014
Mario, who works six days a week at two jobs as a maintenance worker, prepared for five months to deliver this speech at a major academic conference in Indianapolis: his first public reading, and first in English. Recounting his experience as an immigrant from El Salvador, he discusses the stereotypes and barriers that immigrants to the US often face—but how a translingual writing class at Emerson that joins undergraduates and janitors showed how he and his colleagues could be treated with dignity and respect. (Proyecto Carrito publishes texts from this class by wrapping them on a car and driving them around the country.) He shares his dreams for a more accepting and inclusive 21st-century educational system, which would “recover our humanity that for the moment we have lost.”