Film festival celebrates diversity following grant

For the past six years, California Lutheran University has hosted a French Film Festival with award winning movies. This year, CLU’s Community Leaders Association awarded the Department of Languages and Cultures with a $2500 grant in March.

Associate professor and Department chair of Languages and Cultures Sheridan Wigginton brought up the idea for a new type of film festival. She created a proposal to expand the idea and feature more international films.

Assistant Spanish professor Rafaela Fiore Urizar, who has a doctrate degree in contemporary Latin American literature, was in charge of selecting the first film. “Un cuento chino” (Chinese Take-Away) will be featured on  Oct. 9 at the Muvico theater in Thousand Oaks.

“I was looking for a movie that is intercultural.  I wanted to show something that would reflect what immigrants feel like when they come to America,” Urizar said.

“The international film festival is important for CLU because one of the main goals as a department is to integrate different languages and show the multilingual aspect of a global society,” Urizar said. “CLU is a university with many international students, so we wanted this event to be exclusive to them in particular, and also the public.”

“Un Cuento Chino” is an Argentine comedy that follows a Buenos Aires storeowner (Roberto) and a Chinese immigrant (Jun) who is looking for his uncle.

Jun doesn’t speak Spanish and is terribly lost in a country where he has a difficult time adapting to a different way of life until storeowner Roberto shelters the Chinese boy.  They are forced to communicate without using words.

“Immigration issues happen all over the world. My goal is for the public to leave the movie theater thinking about stereotypes and reflecting on the treatment of immigrants and the issues with human rights,” Urizar said.

Senior Jacob Gibson has attended the past CLU film festivals and is looking forward to this year’s screenings.

“I have enjoyed this event for the past three years. Having the films at Muvico will make the experience much better,” Gibson said.

According to the department, the International Film Festival will also feature “Pranzo di ferragosto”, (Mid-August Lunch) on Nov. 13 in the Lundring Events Center.

The Chinese film, “Red Cliff”, is playing Feb. 5, 2014 at Muvico; the German movie “The Experiment” on March 5 in Lundring; the French film “Chicken with Plums”, on April 30 at Muvico.

The department, along with the Center for Equality and Justice are sponsoring the event for free.All screenings begin at 7 p.m.


Zach Kaija
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 2, 2013