Cine Sin Fronteras 

Cine Sin Fronteras

By Gregg Barrios

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts CineFestival has brought the best in Latino independent films for more than 25 years. This year's edition, "Many Roads, Un Destino: Chicano/ Latino/Indigenous Perspectives on Immigration," is no exception.

Among this year's highlights are the documentary, Farmingville, by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini, and Robert M. Young's seminal 1977 feature film Alambrista! Together, they not only form cinematic bookends on the plight of undocumented immigrants, but also reflect the best of Chicano filmmaking.

Farmingville, which won a special jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, documents how the suburban Long Island community of Farmingville (population 15,000) reacted when an influx of 1,500 undocumented mostly Mexican workers moved in with promises of day work. The once sleepy township becomes a battlefront as local residents react to the workers' presence. The filmmakers focus their cameras on the volatile issues that resulted after two Mexican laborers were brutally beaten by two white men.

Tambini and Sandoval put a human face on the immigration issues - pro and con - from a local resident who asks, "Why are there hundreds of illegal men in our streets?" to a Mexican worker who laments, "I lost my son's most precious years." This is engaged filmmaking at its finest and makes for informed and gripping viewing.

The trek to el norte to find work is also the focus in Alambrista! When Roberto, a young Michoacan farmer, finds that he can't make ends meet to feed his family, he leaves them to find work en el otro lado - despite the protestations of his mother (his father had made the same decision earlier - to never return). Young, who later made The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, not only directed this film but is also its writer and cinematographer. (Alambrista! won the Camera d'Or Award at Cannes the year it was released.)

As Roberto makes his way to the border, we feel both the dread and fear of the unknown fate that he faces. As portrayed by Texas actor Domingo Ambriz, Roberto's odyssey comes alive. When the camera stoops with laborers in the field, it becomes a character too. On the road, Roberto meets Joe (the late Trinidad Silva), a Mexican farm worker, who shows him the ropes. He teaches him how to order food in a restaurant and to integrate himself into the new world in which he has ventured.

Later, Roberto meets a young white single mom working in a restaurant on the outskirts of Stockton in California. The romance between these two lonely, disenfranchised strangers speaks volumes on the human condition.

The film's surprising ending and the lessons that Roberto learns are both ironic and bittersweet. It is better left for viewers to discover.

Both Alambrista! and Farmingville form a time capsule and primer on the issues faced by Latino immigrants both then and now. With changes coming in our nation's immigration policy, they add valuable insights into the national debate. Above all, they are indeed superb filmmaking.

Cinefestival 2004 Schedule

Most screenings will be at the Guadalupe Theater
(1301 Guadalupe, 271-3151).
Call for information on the university screenings.
Or go to

$6 daytime screenings
$8 evening screenings, $6 student & senior
$5 university screenings

Thursday 3|4

The Iron Lodge, Premio Mesquite Award: Native American Education Award, dir. Ismana Carney

We Speak America, Premio Mesquite Award: Runner-up Short Documentary, dir. David Sweet-Cordero

Sacred blessing and danza, co-presented by Native American Public Television (NAPT)

From the Same Family: An Intimate View of Globalization, dir. Catherine Herrera

A Salto de Mata: Historias de Migrantes Indigenas, Premio Mesquite Award: Native American First Place, dir. Javier Sámano Chong

NAPT presents VIS a VIS: Native Tongues, RED ROAD: Towards the Techno-Tribal Tribe

Smithsonian Native American Museum Short Submissions

Friday 3|5

Many Roads, Un Destino
Curated program on films reflecting issues of immigration: its impact on individuals, families, and community. A special conference, "Immigration in the Media," explores the interwoven roles of media and society in creating media reflective of the immigration experience. A line-up of emerging filmmakers screen selections of their work and dialogue. The conference is co-hosted by Our Lady of the Lake University and Center for Mexican-American Studies at Austin.

Co-sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake University, Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and Humanities Texas. Public discussion: "Immigration in the Media" at the Sister Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss Library, Our Lady of the Lake University 411 SW 24th St. (across from main campus). Moderators: Antonia Casteneda and Antionette Winstead. Panelists: Carlos Sandoval, Catherine Tambini (Farmingville), Carlos Bolado (La Linea Imaginaria), Alex Rivera, (The Sixth Section), Mylene Moreno (Recalling Orange County), Lalo Lopez ("La Cucaracha" comic strip), Eren McGinnis (Beyond the Border).

Historias de Acahualina/ Stories From Acahualinca, Premio Mesquite Honorable Mention Long Doc, dir. Marta N. Bautis

Fruit of Labor, Premio Mesquite Emerging Documentary, dir. Pepe Urquijo

Reception: A night of films of reflection, celebration, and laughter

The Sixth Section, Premio Mesquite: Short Documentary, dir. Alex Rivera
Q&A with Alex Rivera

The Show, Premio Mesquite: Best Experi-mental, dir. Cruz Angeles

Lupe and JuanDi From the Block, Premio Mesquite: Best Fiction, dir. Cristina Ibarra

Farmingville, Premio Mesquite: Best Long Documentary, dir. Catherine Tambini & Carlos Sandoval

Q&A with Carlos Sandoval & Catherine Tambini Daniel Deportado, dir. Lalo Lopez & Esteban Zul

Bush for Peace, dir. Sarah Christman & Jen Simmons

Voting in America Project: Texas Majority Minority, a work-in-progress by Anne Lewis, Heather Courtney, & Laura Varela

Speeder Kills, dir. Jim Mendiola

Saturday 3|6

Filmmaker workshops in partnership with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcast Project and Native American Public Television. Through case study, filmmakers can find out the important process for bring work to public television from these vital organizations dedicated to bringing new voices to the public television conversation. A series of shorter workshops on intellectual property and distribution offers a rounded view of the options regional filmmakers have within reach.

11am-noon & 1pm-5pm
Filmmakers Pitch Sessions and Workshops with Independent Television Service, Latino Public Broadcast and Native American Public Television. CineFestival 2004 offers aspiring young filmmakers, media activists, and experienced producers an opportunity to pitch their projects to the country's most important funding organizations for Chicano/Latino/Native American filmmakers. Award-winning filmmakers Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini talk of their experience in getting funds for their film Farmingville. Receive tips and advice on the public television process and proposal writing. Please call 271-3151 ext. 32 or e-mail to reserve your space and sign up for the Pitch Sessions.


San Anto Masterpieces

13 Ounces of Moonshine: A Mexican Love Story, Premio Mesquite: Emerging Fiction, dir. Reynaldo Nieto

Skateboarding Barrio Olympics, dir. Efrain Gutierrez

A Vanishing Breed "Pajarero," dir. Antonio Cisneros

Sex and the Teenager
There Must Be Something in the Water, dir. Zach A. Canestero Jones


Latino Veterans, dir. Amanda Rae Cuevas

When It Comes Down to It, dir. Zandra Rios


From The World Around Us: Window Out

Panoptikun, dir. Alberto Roblest

Plastic Cover, dir. Cristina Ibarra

Shattered Dreams, dir. Richard Gonzales, Ismael Leiva and Richard Chalk

Juchitán Queer Paradise, dir. Patricio Henriquez

Out of the Closet, Premio Mesquite: Youth Award, dir. Juan Aguilar

Kiss My Wheels, dir. Miguel Grunstein & Dale Kruzic

Nate, dir. Daralee Fallin


Immigration: Responses To The Challenge

Antorcha: Making a Difference, dir. Joe Arredondo

Siempre, dir. Ruben Obregon Casas

Sobre Pasando La Linea (Crossing the Line), dir. Bill Jungels

Canoa, dir. Thomas Javier Castillo

Family Timeline, dir. Arcadio Muñiz


Reception, hosted by KVDA Telemundo 60

La Ofrenda, dir. Alejandro Fernandez

SweatShop Mom, Premio Mesquite Honorable Mention: Youth

La Tierra del Dolor, dir. Marcial Rios


Awards Ceremony


Alambrista!: The Director's Cut, dir. Robert Young, Edited to a new musical score by Dr. Loco

Performance by Dr. Loco •



Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.