Film-Festival Kick-Off

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By Claire Prudhomme

In light of Hispanic Heritage month, The Catholic University of America is hosting a five-week-long film festival. The Department of Modern Languages and the Center for Cultural Engagement hosted the first film on Wednesday, October 2nd. 

The first film of the five-week series was Suffragists: Political Struggles for Women in Mexico, a documentary centered around the story of Eufrosina Cruz, an indigenous woman from Quiegolani in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The documentary showed her struggles as a woman as well as the struggles of the other women around her. These struggles stemmed from the pressure they felt to overcome boundaries placed on them in the fight for political power and political recognition. The film also demonstrates other challenges that women in power faced and the history of Mexico’s women’s suffragist movement.

Director Ana Cruz is an award-winning director/producer that studied film at the University of California, studied documentary and film production at the BBC and now owns a production company in Mexico. Cruz has also worked thirty years in Mexican Television and found her way into activism through the art of film.

“We are very concerned that the content of these films are not disregarding the rights of women,” said Cruz when addressing the beliefs of the Mexico of Women in Film and Television AC. “They are not misogynist and that they do not degrade women.”

The room was filled with both students and staff from Catholic University interested in learning more about the struggles that women faced in politics and gender discrimination in Mexico. After the movie was played, Cruz invited the crowd to participate in a question and answer session where students and teachers were able to ask anything from her personal film endeavors to the impact of The Suffragists on modern political beliefs in Mexico.

The film festival is just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month. From September 15th to October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time when the U.S. recognizes the contributions of Hispanics and Latinos to both the country’s history and culture. This annual celebration has been going on since 1988 to recognize achievements brought by the Hispanic community.

The exposure of these films to the Catholic University youth and university students is important as it expands CUA’s ideas of diversity. The film promotes ideas of feminism and international activism not typically shown in the United States mainstream media. 

The next film, La Reina de España, will be shown on October 9th. Following the showing, there will be a Q&A session with Dr. Anastasiya Stoyneva, a Visiting Clinical Professor of Spanish at the Gowan Auditorium.

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