Edward James Olmos to visit IU as part of annual Latino Film Festival and Conference

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Award-winning actor and filmmaker Edward James Olmos will speak on the Bloomington campus as part of Indiana University's annual Latino Film Festival and Conference, April 3 to 5.

Olmos will deliver a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture at 3 p.m. April 4 at IU Cinema. No tickets are necessary for the free lecture. Olmos will also introduce his 2001 film "In the Time of Butterflies," screened at 9:30 p.m. April 4; but he will not be present for the screening of his latest film, "Go for Sisters," at 7 p.m. April 3, as previously planned.

Perhaps best known for his role in "Stand and Deliver," for which he received an Academy Award nomination for best actor, Olmos is both an activist and artist, making 150 personal appearances each year to speak to at-risk youth. 

The conference is expected to bring together a number of prominent filmmakers and scholars from the U.S. and abroad, while film screenings will include a mix of documentaries, shorts and dramatic films that depict the transnational lives of Latinas and Latinos. Speakers include UCLA film scholar Chon Noriega, who will deliver the conference's keynote address, and Tanya Valette, former director of the International Film School in Cuba, who curated and will present a selection of Dominican film shorts. 

"Numbering more than 53 million, U.S. Latinos are transforming the communities in which they settle, work and raise families," said John Nieto-Phillips, an associate professor in IU’s Department of History and director of the Latino Studies program. "While their national backgrounds and personal histories vary widely, their lives are both quintessentially American and increasingly global, with links to Latin America through family connections and the shared dream of a better life. This film festival and conference is intended to showcase the transnational lives that define Latina and Latino experiences in the United States mainland and beyond."

Films screened as part of the festival include:

  • 7 p.m. April 3, "Go for Sisters" -- Bernice and Fontayne, who at one time could "go for sisters," meet again years later when Bernice becomes Fontayne's parole officer.
  • 10 p.m. April 3, "La Lucha de Ana" -- Ana must fight to obtain justice for the murder of her only son, who was "accidentally" killed by the son of a diplomat.
  • 9 a.m. April 4, "The Salinas Project" -- Follow the story of the children of migrant farm workers living in an agricultural town an hour south of the wealthy Silicon Valley.  A Q&A with director Carolyn Brown will follow.
  • 10:15 a.m. April 4, "Prejudice and Pride" -- The 1960s were a turning point in the struggle for Mexican-American rights, paving the way for U.S. Latin American studies programs. Q&A with director John Valadez to follow.
  • 6:30 p.m. April 4, "Mosquita y Mari" -- Two 15-year-old Chicanas from opposite sides of the tracks forge a complex friendship.
  • 9:30 p.m. April 4, "In the Time of the Butterflies" -- Based on a bestselling novel, this film follows the Mirabal sisters during the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.
  • 10:30 a.m. April 5, "Dominican Shorts Program" -- Five short films curated by Valette, including an adaptation of a short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz.
  • 4:30 p.m. April 5, "Jean Gentil" -- Based on the true story of a well-educated Haitian man who couldn't find work, then traveled across the country seeking God. Q&A with directors Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas.
  • 7 p.m. April 5, "América" -- Adapted from Esmeralda Santiago's novel, this film follows a Puerto Rican mother who flees an abusive lover and starts a new life in New York. Q&A with director Sonia Fritz to follow.
  • 9:30 p.m. April 5, "Bless Me, Última" -- Based on Rudolfo Anaya's novel, this film tells the story of Antonio, who comes of age in New Mexico during World War II.

All films are in English or Spanish with English subtitles. Tickets to all film screenings are free and can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; one hour before any screening at the cinema; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

Sponsors include the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences’ Ostrom Grants Program; the College Arts and Humanities Institute; La Casa Latino Cultural Center; the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; the Black Film Center/Archive; the Latino Studies program; the departments of Spanish and Portuguese, American Studies, History and Communication; and IU Cinema.