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Currently viewing the tag: "Paloma Celis Carbajal"
June 15, 2015, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Moderator: Ruby M. Gutiérrez, Hispanic American Periodical Index (HAPI)
Rapporteur: John B. Wright, Brigham Young University
Paloma Celis-Carbajal, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Acquiring Latin American Materials in the 21st Century: A Prelimnary Report on the Collection Development Trends Task Force,
Debra McKern, Library of Congress, Rio de Janeiro Office: Brazil’s Popular Groups: Acquiring the Grey Literature Collection at the Library of Congress
Jennifer Osorio, University of California, Los Angeles: Serials Acquisitions in the Digital ‘Future’: If It’s All Online, What’s the Problem?
Ruby Gutiérrez announced a change in order of the presentations: 1) Osorio, 2) McKern, and 3) Celis-Carbajal.
Osorio discussed the different models of open access in Latin America (LA) and the United States (U.S.). Through her presentation she discussed answers for the following questions: Is open access in LA the same as in the US? How are the models different? Which if any are the implications for libraries and collections of the rapid adoption of open access in LA? Are there dangers to the breakneck speed of open access adoption in LA? What is in the open access portals and what is not. She described the transformation of LA universities from the former state-building enterprise, describing how higher education in LA now follows more the US research model and gives more visibility to women and lower classes. She then discussed LA journals and their status in open access portals. In 2003, 40 percent of LA journals were available through open access, and in 2010, 74% of LA journals were available through open access. LA open access portals have similar requirements for inclusion that monitored inclusion in the LA print journals and are still largely funded by government agencies. In LA, the assumption is that inclusion in open access portals equals quality. She showed several tables that showed in general terms the differences of the open access model in LA and the US. She indicated that because of the open access model of favoring international issues over regional issues, hard sciences over social sciences, English over Spanish/Portuguese, Large communities over small communities, Generic coverage over specialized coverage, Well-funded and stable over struggling, that some specific consequences result. They are, 1) regional or provincial voices are lost, 2) new scholars do not have a real venue for getting their research out, 3) voices in other languages than the dominant languages are lost, 4) publications are underfunded and erratic. There appears to be a sense of neo-colonialism inherent in this type of model. The implications on developing LA collections, require that representative voices not included in the portals be sought out. Regional, national and local titles in collection must be prioritized and acquired. Also, research in other formats must be sought out as well.
McKern discussed the grey literature collection from Brazil’s popular groups at the Library of Congress and the ways in which the Rio Office tries to acquire these materials for its collection. These popular groups include: Agrarian reform; Children & youth; Education & communication; Environment & ecology; Ethnic groups: Blacks; Ethnic groups: Indian; Ethnic groups: Others; LGBT; Humanitarian & civil rights; Labor & laboring classes; Political parties & issues; Religions organizations, ecumenical groups and movements; Urban activism; and Women & feminists. She focused in on one group type “Environment & ecology” to illustrate some of the challenges for acquisition of materials. A lot of material is only available on Facebook, but some of it will always be available in print because it is intended to be handed out to people on the street who don’t have internet access. LC’s collections are searchable, but you have to buy the physical filter to get access to what you can find in a searchable index. The researcher cannot currently access the collection. They are talking with Princeton to learn about possibilities of piggybacking on Princeton’s Ephemeral Collection. She had some extra copies of material fitting into these popular groups that were available for collecting by anyone interested.
Celis-Carbajal presented a preliminary report of the Collection Development Trends Task Force which has the following members: Lief Adelson, Alejandra Cordero, Lynn Shirey, Sandra Saores, Miguel Valladares and Paloma Celis-Carbajal. The group grew out of the Librarian/Bookdealer/Publisher Committee at SALALM LVIII in Miami. The LARRP Survey and the attempts of Inter-Library Cooperation Committee to construct an overall picture of collection development going on has become very difficult to pull together. The Task Force has created a 20-question survey instrument to go out to all members of SALALM who have primary responsibility for collection development in their respective institutions. The results of the survey will not be published because obtaining clearance through an IRB would have been overly complicated. To date, two individuals have taken the survey and provided feedback to the Task Force. In the panel today, Celis-Carbajal invited the group to look at two specific questions and take two minutes to read and answer the question, giving the Task Force feedback on whether or not the two questions adequately obtained the desired solicited information. The group responded that it is odd to have the entire Caribbean in one group, while other countries are broken out separately. It was pointed out that not everyone can answer the specific question about vendors as it does not give enough options for adequately answering. It was also mentioned that the survey should be routed to whoever is most capable of answering the questions. Many of our libraries acquire materials through various ways. Many libraries decide on a particular vendor as a result of service provided, not necessarily if the vendor resides in the country being collected. The time period referred to in the survey instrument is not clear, i.e. actual year, fiscal year (and many institutions have a varied of fiscal year periods). The survey instrument instructs to select the “preferred” outcome, instead of the “actual” outcome. The group asked Celis-Carbajal to explain the goal of the survey. She responded that it is hoped that the survey can be done over successive years so that SALALM can understand trends over time. It was pointed out that it may be difficult because of the size of country/region covered in survey, size of institution doing the collecting. It was asked if we would be able to understand any of the changes in trends.
Ruby Gutiérrez (HAPI) asked Debra McKern how exactly the gathering of Brazil’s Popular Collections grey materials is accomplished and what are the difficulties in obtaining this material? McKern replied that the four acquisitions staff members from the LC Rio Office, some retired staff, and some staff in São Paulo go out on the streets to acquire the materials. They go out to the hinterlands to collect materials and say, “We are from the Library of Congress” and people respond “Really?”. Jennifer Osorio (UCLA) asked if our individual institutions can send to LC grey materials we obtain for inclusion in LC’s collection? McKern indicated that they would accept materials. McKern clarified that as they go collecting, they do not put themselves at risk. She used to take photographs of materials, but was told not to do that anymore by the US Consulate who indicated that it looked bad for someone to be taking photographs of this material. Miguel Valladares (University of Virginia) explained that he has the professors take grey literature obtained by him and use it in their classes. Gutiérrez (HAPI) asked Osorio if there was an index for LA open access journals/portals. HAPI has an index of which materials they index that is open access. Paloma Celis-Carbajal (U of Wisconsin-Madison) indicated that there is a LARRP proposal for open access. Mei Mendez (U of Miami) asked about literary journals and their availability in open access if social sciences are not well covered in portals. Osorio responded that it is hard to find literary journals and hard to collect them. Leif Adelson (Books from Mexico) mentioned that there is still a strong government connection with the panels that create/monitor the portals and that there really is a de-emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. Debra McKern (LC Rio Office) suggested that grey literature needs to be put in an archive, but wonders how best to divide it up. Should it just be in the categories or types that they are collecting? It seems that a web archive would work well for the serials.
Tuesday May 21, 2013, 10:30-12 PM
Moderator: Paloma Celis Carbajal, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Rapporteur: Michael Scott, Georgetown University
- Nomadic/sporadic: the Pathways of Circulation of ‘Indigenous Video’ in Latin America Amalia Córdova – NYU Cinema Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies-CLACS
- Sistematización de la experiencia audiovisual de las comunidades wayuu aledañas al Rio Socuy David Hernandez Palmar – Realizador Audiovisual Wayuu
- Independent Filmmaking & Distribution Amid An Evolving Digital Rights Landscape Nicole Karsin – Todos Los Pueblos Productions LLC; Producer & Director of We Women Warriors (Tejiendo Sabiduría)
- Engaging video indígena in Academic Libraries, Daisy V. Domínguez – The City College of New York, CUNY, New York City
The order of the panel was in a different order than in the printed conference program.
Engaging “video indígena” in Academic Libraries – Daisy V. Domínguez, CUNY City College (starts around 9:24)
Domínguez began her presentation by talking about various scholarly definitions of video indígena. She stated that there is a great diversity within the genre, including: documentaries, dramas, comedies, etc. There is also variety in the amount of financial support. The Mexican government heavily supports video indígena, and in Bolivia, indigenous filmmakers are often refused government support, although they do sometimes receive foreign funding. Some Bolivian filmmakers consider the entire process of making video indígena to be more important part than the end product. Using this as a basis in her presentation, Domínguez hoped to demonstrate how librarians can be part of the process helping to create and distribute video indígena.
In the first part of her presentation, Domínguez highlighted some of the challenges of collecting the genre. There may be some mistrust on the part of the filmmaker towards the researcher. The researcher often makes the assumption that indigenous knowledge can become part of her or his institution, without considering cultural and historical dynamics that may not be appropriate for scholarly dissemination and teaching. Another challenge is that it is often not profit-driven even though some filmmakers may seek wider distribution, so the actual acquisition may be difficult because of these distribution problems. For example, some Bolivian filmmakers from CAIB have achieved heightened distribution and fame because their connections with professors in the United States enable them to forgo more traditional routes of promotion and distribution. Some researchers offer translation services in exchange for the films, which allows the filmmakers to diverge from the traditional market system yet still have their films widely distributed.
Domínguez then shifted the focus of her talk to how to start collection video indígena and maintains currency in the genre. By introducing oneself at film festivals or even organizing your institution’s own film festival and searches, it is possible to create and maintain professional relationships that will ease the challenges of collection development. Working directly with the filmmakers themselves also avoids the traditional methods of production and distribution and opens a space for offering translations of the film or other services. Angela Carreño of NYU, for example, worked with filmmakers on the preservation of indigenous film during the First Nations/First Features Showcase in May 2005. Some of the filmmakers were hesitant to work with North Americans to help distribute and preserve their films, and this is why the project did not move forward at the time. More recent approaches include working with organizations in filmmakers’ home countries (Chiapas Media Project, etc.) rather than work with those based in North America.
For example, Third World Newsreel recently negotiated in the United States to promote and distribute the work of CEFREC (http://www.apcbolivia.org) and CAIB in Bolivia, which together act as a means to educate new filmmakers and also advise and promote the genre both with and outside of the country. Negotiations for this began at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Biennial Film and Video Festival, which highlights the importance of creating these direct and personal relationships with the filmmakers themselves.
Yolanda Cruz, founder of Petate Productions, is an example of the diverse approaches of filmmaking and distribution within video indígena. She is a graduate of UCLA’s film school, and has negotiated her films to be distributed via Netflix, PBS, etc., and even in Russian translation.
One final challenge is cataloging video indígena. There are often no genre headings that reflect the indigenous aspect of the film, such as a “video letters,” which does appear. Netflix does not have subject divisions that reflect video indígena as a genre; Yolanda Cruz’s 2501 Migrants, for example, is classified as a Mexican/Latin American documentary, with no reference to the indigenous aspect of the film. The Library of Congress Subject Headings list includes subject headings dealing with indigenous themes, but not necessarily films made by indigenous filmmakers. Catalog librarians can help by proposing these headings to the Library of Congress. Finally, Domínguez finished by reflecting on how she became interested in the genre after learning Quechua and starting her blog on the genre and translating her reviews into Spanish. She ended her presentation by showing a humorous clip from the Bolivian Quechua-language film Llanthupi Munakuy/Loving Each Other in the Shadows
Independent Filmmaking & Distribution Amid an Evolving Digital Rights Landscape – Nicole Karsin, Todos Los Pueblos Productions LLC
The next presenter was Nicole Karsin, director of the documentary We Women Warriors/Tejiendo sabiduría. She began by showing a 10-minute clip of the film, which is about three women who use nonviolent means to face the violence in Colombia. Karsin continued by discussing the difficulties of filming and distributing video indígena. She began by discussing the two different models that Domínguez presented, one more community and grassroots focused (Chiapas Media Project) and the other more commercial and traditional (Yolanda Cruz.) Karsin stated that she aligns herself more with the latter model. While she relied on the local communities for advice on safety issues and the like, she kept the artistic vision to herself instead of approaching in a more communitarian way.
Karsin continued that she understands the difficulty of community-based groups to obtain publicity and distribution in the United States because American broadcasting standards are high and often out of their economic reach.
It took seven years to finish We Women Warriors/Tejiendo sabiduría, and funding always was an issue. But by chance Karsin happened to move back to Los Angeles for family reasons, and she began post-production work there at Documentary Lab. Through the connections she made in Los Angeles, she was able to finish the film in the best way she thought possible. These connections would likely not have been feasible had she tried to complete the film in Latin America.
Because of the move towards a more digital world, artistic rights and distribution channels are rapidly changing. Karsin mentioned Peter Broderick, owner of Paradigm Consulting, as a kind of distribution “guru.” Broderick believes there are two forms of distribution: the old model, which involves selling your rights to a North American company and having them take care of the rest, and the new model, which involves dividing up the rights into different forms of distribution (education, commercial, etc.) This way you can have revenue to live one while you complete your next film. When Karsin received her first distribution offer, she thought it sounded unfair after seven years of hard work. Indigenous video is growing in importance and popularity and we must find new ways to efficiently and fairly cover this current rights and distribution gap.
Sistematización de la experiencia audiovisual de las comunidades wayuu aledañas al Rio Socuy – David Hernández Wayuu, Director, Audiovisual Wayuu
David Hernández is a Venezuelan photographer, journalist, and documentary film producer/director who works particularly on documentaries about the Wayuu people. He began his talk by describing the current situation for the Wayuu people that live along the Rio Socuy, which is in the state of Zulia in northwestern Venezuela. The river was exploited by coal and oil companies, and as a result, was a major contributor to the pollution in Lake Maracaibo, which is no longer safe for swimming. In his work, Hernández has shown the Wayuu’s fight for land ownership and industrial regulation along the river. Video indígena is one way for the Other to declare autonomy and political action.
For Hernández, there are three parts to audiovisual media. The first is the creation of the work, the filming, and then the screening. He also noted that the best way to spread knowledge about the film is through film festivals, museum, and libraries rather than through the more traditional commercial routes. The film’s audience is also very important; how many indigenous people actually see the final film? The film is about its audience as much as its subject.
Hernández also emphasized the importance of indigenous languages in video indígena. Castilian is often a second language for many indigenous people, and only using it leads to hegemony rather than true indigenismo. Countries that promote multilingualism are giving political agency to indigenous peoples.
He continued on to discuss the politics of aesthetics in filmmaking. Where is the camera located? What is the angle being used? These kinds of questions can help us realize the political perspective of the film.
The adjective “comunitario” is often used in conjunction with the genre, but even then there is too much emphasis on the director and producer, which comes closer to the hegemonic concept of “cinema.” Filmmakers need to use newer technologies to allow for truly “comunitario” way of creating video indígena. For example, it used to require many people to shoot underwater, but it now takes a case for the camera and nothing else (thus opening up the ability to shift perspective.) For his own work, people ask to clarify what genre a work belongs to; Hernández does not like to discuss this, he focuses on creating.
The question of accessibility is central to the future of video indígena. What is in the genre’s archive, how many are there, and how many are actually able to be projected? Filmmakers depend on libraries and museums for the preservation and conservation for the future and, more importantly, for the indigenous communities themselves.
The audiovisual result represents the people as much as a the oral tradition or a written text, and must be transmitted as such. These films can help all oppressed peoples in the name of gender, sexual, and ethnic and racial diversity. Essentially it becomes a new model of civilization and a new social discourse, making invisible people visible.
Nomadic/Sporadic: the Pathways of Circulation of “Indigenous Video” in Latin America – Amalia Córdova, NYU
Amalia Córdova began her talk by presenting a short history of video indígena. The traditional way of organizing film studies into genre and country does not fit with indigenous video; as it has always been transnational. There were some local and regional movements in the 1970s, based in the “New Latin American Cinema,” of authentic and “imperfect,” socially-committed film, and also in the growing number of pan-indigenous movements. The first Native American Film and Video Festival took place in New York at the Smithsonian in 1979, which led to the creation of the Film and Video Center, the first archive of early indigenous films. The genre took off with the 500th anniversary of the Encounter, when there were many video projects in response to the dominant discourse of Columbus as a “discoverer.”
In 1985, the Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Cine y Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas was created in Mexico City, although it is now based Santiago de Chile. It was founded by concerned and already-established documentarians, but is now completely run by indigenous people. Latin American governments also took place in creating video indígena, such Mexico’s “Transferencia de Medios Audiovisuales a Organizaciones y Comunidades Indígenas” (founded 1990) and Brazil’s “Video nas aldeias” (founded 1987.)
Next Córdova displayed a poster from a 1996 CLACPI film festival in Bolivia, which was the first festival in which a training program was launched as well; these developments take a long time. Even CLACPI has had to ask about the definition of indigenous video. It is a process. For CLACPI, it is largely the community that defines the genre, and an individual’s interaction with that community. It is meant to highlight the political, social, and cultural agendas of indigenous people, and requires the active participation of all those who appear on-screen.
The process itself is what makes video indígena difficult. They are usually documentaries and political in nature, as indigenous peoples have been displaced and oppressed for so long. Usually the films are in indigenous languages, and negotiating translation into Spanish can be understandably difficult and sometimes not possible. Often the films result from a workshop and are “imperfect” in the common way of thinking about aesthetics. Indigenous film and video often contain many points of view from the community. There is also often hybridity in the actual film; archival footage mixed with newly shot film, docudrama, musicals, etc.
Copyright can also be an issue; in many cases no one really “owns” an indigenous work, therefore negotiations for distribution and rights must be held in conjunction with the entire community. Sometimes the wishes of the subject must also be reciprocated; what does the “outsider” filmmaker bring to the community by making the film? Many filmmakers also work with local and non-commercial forms of distribution instead of more commercial routes. Different versions of the same film may also be created; some things in the film may be meant only for those in the community itself.
Next, Córdova showed a chart meant to clarify some of the particularities of obtaining indigenous video. It is best to start where you first heard of the film (film festival, website catalog, etc.) and then work from there (webmaster, festival organizer, etc.) Phone calls work well (as opposed to e-mail.) You can also help with improving the translations in exchange for the rights to display the film. Find other people to work with on campus. Finally, payment needs to be figured out as well. NYU has a form that explains all of these very clearly, just as an example. Also work with non-profit organizations and distributors as well as independent filmmakers to collect and promote video indígena.
“Video nas aldeias” has a set of 5 DVDs for sale, a simple example of easily attainable video indígena. CLACPI has created a series of DVD sets of the award-winning films from their festivals, so that the process from theatrical showings to video is easier for all involved. Festivals are essentially the channels in which indigenous films are being distributed. There is also an archive in La Paz that sends out films, culminating in the CLACPI festival in Spain.
The Smithsonian Native American Film and Video Festival is currently on hold because of some financial complications, but it did include an indigenous selector for the films. Córdova also provided a list of festivals, some of which were not explicitly indigenous, but all included some films made by and for indigenous filmmakers. There is great interest in increasing accessibility to video indígena, so seek help from people like the presenters at the talk today.
Jesus Alonso-Regalado (SUNY Albany): to Amalia Córdova: Can you share the information from today? A: Yes To Nicole Karsin: Many producers/directors use Vimeo to submit their work. Why is this as opposed to YouTube, etc.? A: Vimeo has better quality and has better privacy controls (password protected, etc.) Easier and more efficient to simply provide link for a festival submission instead of a DVD.
Librarian from IADB: Q: IADB does provide funding for films. Why not use them for funding? A (by Amalia Córdova): The problem is the word “development.” The indigenous video movement is careful about funding. But Petrobras, for example, is funding all the video work in Brazil. A (by David Hernández): Some organizations use this funding as a way to infiltrate their destructive agenda in these communities, so the filmmakers are very careful. The issue is how to pay it back.
Lynn Shirey (Harvard): Bolivian director Jorge Sanjinés’s DVDs are difficult to get, and it is often difficult to even see his films at all. Can you tell us more about that? A (Amalia Córdova): The director questions the Hollywood forms of production and distribution, and he must either be present at the showing, or the film festival must be indigenous-focused. He avoid the commodification of his work.
Paloma Celis Carbajal (UW-Madison): Has anyone on the panel ever wanted to just upload a film online and have it “open source”? A kind of portal that will provide these films for free? A (Amalia Córdova): There is a portal that does this, Isuma TV. The problem is sustainability: server space, translation, technology, etc. But even the upload can be difficult, depending on local technology. A: (David Hernández): Isuma TV is a great portal, but there needs to be more participation on all sides. In 2015 there will be a documentary film festival in Caracas, and a summit of indigenous filmmakers in Fortaleza. The key is accessibility.
June 19, 2012, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm
Facilitator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
Rapporteur: David Block, The University of Texas at Austin
Incoming officers: Stephanie Rocío Miles of the Nominating Committee announced the results of the 2012 elections:
Vice President/President Elect: Roberto C. Delgadillo
Members-at-Large: Paloma Celis Carbajal and Daisy V. Domínguez
Remembering Alan Moss: Gayle Williams reminded us of our recently deceased friend and colleague, Alan Moss. The Secretariat will make a donation in his memory, see below.
Treasurer’s Report: Peter Johnson highlighted several issues:
SALALM endowment (1993- ) the endowment, managed by the Investment Working Group, is intended to support SALALM’s activities as the organization faces an uncertain future. The endowment currently holds investments valued at $736,000 and has an annual payout, which has normally been reinvested, of $20,000 per year;
SALALM scholarship (2012- ) This scholarship, funded by donations earmarked for it and from the SALALM budget, awarded 3 grants of $1,000 each this year. The recipients are students involved in an information-oriented curriculum at any ALA-accredited institution who have expressed interest in a career that involves Latin America. Johnson announced that our advertisement was well received, producing 25-30 applicants, and that several runners-up received encouragement from the selection committee in the form of a complimentary SALALM membership for the coming year;
Johnson concluded by thanking the members of the scholarship task force and the SALALM Executive Secretary and her assistant, Carol Avila, for their advice and assistance over the year.
Executive Secretary’s Report: Hortensia Calvo reported:
At his family’s request, SALALM will make a donation to the Barbados Cancer Society in the name of Alan Moss
Memberships stand currently at 204 personal members, 101 institutional members (23 of whom are sponsoring members), and 13 student membership
President’s Report: Lynn Shirey reviewed conference issues:
By popular demand, SALALM LVII was a four-day meeting; Shirey announced that a follow-up survey soliciting observations on the conference will be distributed soon. At this point, she opened the floor for members to comment on the conference;
Speakers supported both the four day (on the basis of economics and member commitments) and five day (citing the difficulties in conducting necessary business on a reduced schedule).
Meeting with book dealers – some libreros expressed frustration with their inability to capture adequate attention from SALALM librarians. As with past meetings, the difficulties of scheduling and conflicts with panels reduced the time available for conversations and the lack of private space deterred some from raising necessary issues. Several possible remedies surfaced in the discussion—setting aside a period with no activities other than bookseller time, staggering activities to open spaces with the meeting among them.
All agreed that while there is no single solution to this issue, paying attention to scheduling and reducing competition for librarians’ attention is something that future schedulers should consider.
The meeting closed with Paula Covington’s appeal to members to share their memories of Howard Karno for a memorial that she has been asked to post on the SALALM website.
Panel 1, May 30, 2011, 11:00 am-12:55 pm
Moderator: Paloma Celis Carbajal, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Presenters: Gregory Berger, Grigoyo Productions; Shamina de Gonzaga, What moves you?; Carlos Gutiérrez, Cinema Tropical; Alexandra Halkin, Chiapas Media Project; Christopher Moore, Sol Productions
Rapporteur: Daisy V. Domínguez, The City College of New York
Paloma Celis Carbajal began by noting that she met several of the panelists at LASA and suggested they come to SALALM to promote their material to libraries and that she was very pleased they accepted her invitation to participate on this panel. Carbajal noted that Gregory Berger of Grigoyo Productions could not attend.
Christopher Moore, Director of Sol Productions, began his talk, “Film as Source Material and Teaching Tool: Sol Productions and Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas,” by saying that his goal on the panel was twofold. First, he wanted to consider theoretical approaches to memory in the documentary film genre and second, to find ways to work with librarians to preserve and provide access to these films. He co-founded Sol Productions in 2006 with the idea that the company’s films would not be the final word but would provoke more discussion about different topics. In 2007, Sol Productions produced three documentary films (in Venezuela, Senegal and France). Since their company did not have a public relations firm working with them, they traveled to over 90 schools to promote their films, but Moore notes that would not be possible this year due to the economic situation. Moore said he was excited to be at the conference in order to get ideas about how to promote their films even in difficult economic times and how to make them available in libraries throughout the world. Adding material online is one way around this but he wondered about the financial viability of it. Moore said that film is a very serious analytic tool as both a compliment to written works but also in its own right. Moore ended by showing the trailer for the Hugo Chavez documentary, “Puedo Hablar May I speak?”
Next, Alexandra Halkin, founding director of Chiapas Media Project and the Americas Media Initiative, presented “Collaborative Documentation and Advocacy.” They have been working with the Zapatistas since 1998. Due to the militarization of Chiapas, the last Zapatista video was produced in 2006. The war on drugs has filtered throughout southern Mexico and has affected their ability to produce for external distribution, though not for internal distribution. A lot of their archival material is being lost (covered in fungus in many cases) due to lack of climate control and the fact that a lot of material is still videotaped. While Halkin and her colleagues know what is needed to preserve this film, there is no funding for it and the situation has not changed. There are copies of the films in Mexico and the United States. Distribution to universities in the U.S. is critical and has sustained their work but due to the economic downturn, it has become difficult to obtain funding for travel and honoraria. The Cuban media project does not have distribution outside of Cuba and there are problems with the English subtitles in these Cuban documentaries. The work of TV Serrana, which was founded by UNESCO in 1993 and has 490 documentaries, is of excellent quality and subject matter. With funding from the Ford Foundation, they were able to add English subtitles to 20 of their documentaries. Librarians’ work is very important. Money from the sale of videos goes back to Chiapas and Cuban communities. Halkin noted that they have tried to develop a symbiotic relationship between universities and marginalized filmmakers in Mexico and Cuba and this allows them to produce more films. Halkin ended by showing a trailer from the TV Serrana Tour.
Carlos Gutiérrez of Cinema Tropical began his presentation, entitled “New Partnerships in Latin American Outreach Through Film: The Cinema Tropical Case,” by noting that Cinema Tropical is a New York City based media arts organization which promotes Latin American cinema in the United States through regional programming. Noting that the economic crisis affecting the film world is affecting all of us, Cinema Tropical is interested in collaboration with the academic library world.
Gutiérrez then moved on to describe the recent explosion of independently produced film in countries like Argentina. In the mid-1990s, Argentina produced a new generation of filmmakers that produced feature and documentary films without government funding as had been done in the past. Then this explosion of film moved to Uruguay, which hadn’t produced a film in years, and more recently, Central America. However, it is difficult to get access to material from Central America.
When Gutiérrez moved to New York from Mexico City in 1997, there was not much Latin American cinema on American screens. The so-called “Three Amigos” brought attention to what was happening in Latin American cinema. Cinema Tropical began by having weekly screenings over the course of one year which led to interest by other theaters. So, they created a network in NYC and then in the country and have screened thirteen films across the U.S., which has become part of their circuit of films. They then started doing theatrical releases, which are the main aspect of releases which guarantee reviews. The now defunct LAVA (Latin American Video Archives) was a key organization in bringing videosl from Latin America over to the U.S. and Cinema Tropical has not really found new ways of doing this.
A major issue is that there is very little knowledge on how to contextualize Latin American film and therefore, to have critical debates. He mentioned, for example, that the New York Times reviewer of “Amores Perros”directed by González Iñáritu loved the film but thought that there had not been any art house films from Mexico since Buñuel. He noted that this is one way that universities can do outreach. Cinema Tropical partnered with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU and combined screenings with discussion. Cinema Tropical also took screenings to the Arab world and more recently has partnered with the organization called What moves you? They recently started selling DVDs to universities. Cinema Tropical also created a list of the best ten Latin American films (which also mentions 130 films) of the past decade which led to a publication. Cinema Tropical will also publish a book on Lucrecia Martel, the director of “La Ciénaga,” who Gutiérrez recommends highly. He ended by promoting the screening of “Nostalgia por la Luz” (which screened the next day at the conference).
Shamina de Gonzaga’s presentation was entitled “Film as a Springboard for Dialogue on Immigration and Related Issues.” De Gonzaga started by noting the collaboration between Cinema Tropical (which served as the film distributor), NYU (which served as the academic hub), and her organization, What moves you? (which produces awareness campaigns) on the Indocumentales film series, which seeks to show the subtleties surrounding the issue of immigration. These events are also a way to disseminate resource packets and educational materials so that the film is “not accepted as gospel” but extends the conversation. De Gonzaga noted that it is not the same to see a five minute news report about a tragic incident as watching a 90 minute in-depth documentary. She gave an overview of the five films that were screened. The first film is “Al Otro Lado” which deals with drug trafficking and the popular musical genre known as narcocorridos. Another film is “Farmingville” which follows the aftermath of the killing of day laborers. De Gonzaga noted that the strong reaction among audience members to this film in particular validates the importance of having these screenings. “Los Que Se Quedan” deals with the impact of immigration on those who stay behind. “The Sixth Section” is a short which deals with people in upstate New York which sends money back to Mexico to build a baseball stadium. “Which Way Home” deals with mostly very young Central American children who attempt to come to the U.S. by freight trains and many times do not make it. “Mi Vida Adentro” is about an undocumented woman who is accused of killing a child in her care. De Gonzaga notes that during the screenings they may have lawyers who are more qualified to answer certain questions as well as community members because it is important not to be in silos. De Gonzaga ended by showing a clip of “Al Otro Lado,” which screened later that afternoon.
Questions and Comments:
Paloma Celis Carbajal commented on films as a catalyst to dialogue so that people will be receptive to certain issues. The Indocumentales series went to Wisconsin and it was tied to an exhibit on 200 years of immigration between US and Mexico. Celis Carbajal thought of this topic because she wanted something that was of interest not just to Mexicans. This was the first time she got e-mails from the community requesting material from the exhibit, not just from faculty and students. So, this springboard from the film series worked.
Jesus Alonso-Regalado (SUNY Albany) asked whether the distributors were considering selling streaming videos. Gutiérrez said that this was not available yet but acknowledged that this is the trend. Moore said that “Democracy in Dakar” is sold digitally via iTunes but there is no distinction between individual and institutional purchases. They are behind on the process but open to it.
Daisy Domínguez (City College of New York) asked whether any collaborations had come about as a result of the dialogues at the screenings. De Gonzaga said that the resource packet helped and that it happens all the time. Halkin noted that a number of U.S. students have come down as interns to Chiapas and later, professional relationships have developed. Professors have toured TV Serrana and Halkin will be taking some of them to a national film festival in Cuba. She notes that the screenings open up the possibility for collaborations on different levels. Even individual communications like e-mails are a stepping stone toward bigger things. Moore noted that some students who are not at film schools have been motivated to pursue filmmaking and have even gone on to having their films screened at places like the Tribeca Film Festival.
Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University) asked whether Halkin had a sense of the scope of the archive and the cost of preservation of the Chiapas Media Project. Halkin said that the tapes are dispersed but that there were about 1,000 hours worth of recordings, including raw footage, on mini DV cassette and some on super VHS.
Martha Mantilla (University of Pittsburgh) asked whether there were any packages for institutions who want to invite these organizations to do presentations at universities. Gutiérrez noted that Cinema Tropical acts as intermediaries between libraries and filmmakers and mentioned packages like “Latin American Left” and “Music and Film Series.” He highlighted Brazilian filmmakers who have made a lot of films on many singers which also delve into issues of race, politics, and class but which are not distributed in the U.S.
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