Screens Border primer

Film fest takes a hard look at life tan cerca de la frontera

Scenes from (from top) New World Border, Beca de Giles: Rebeca's Story, and Senorita Extraviada, which will screen during OLLU's free three-day film festival exploring border issues.

Since 9/11, the border between Mexico and the U.S. has been cut even deeper. Narco-corridos reverberate more powerfully and the militarization of the frontera increases every day. Witness the proposed addition to the border region of 3,000 migra recently approved by the Senate. With the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the Free Trade Area of the Americas already on the way, the future doesn't look too bright for people living close to either bank of the Rio Grande.

Enter Our Lady of the Lake University's Fronteralogía film festival, which opens with a trio of documentaries focused on Ciudad Juárez, the post-NAFTA epicenter of colonialism and violence against women. From the Mountains to the Maquiladoras features testimonies from the phenomenal mujeres of San Anto's Fuerza Unida, whose vigilance against patriarchal globalization has been pioneering. The 2001 experimental film Performing the Border dissects the links between feminization and maquiladoras, and Lourdes Portillo's award-winning Señorita Extraviada/Missing Young Woman is a crowning work in the career of the most important living Chicana filmmaker. The discovery of yet another young woman's body found last week in Juárez, and the revelation that 23 arrest warrants for suspected murderers in the ongoing investigation were left to gather dust in a Mexican police station makes this film that much more resonant.

Night two of OLLU's fest shifts towards environmentalism, public health, and human rights, with Visiones Fronterizas/ Border Visions and New World Border. Más Alla de la Frontera/Beyond the Border, which screened recently at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center's CineFestival, closes the evening with a vivid account of the Ayala brothers, who leave Michoacán to raise horses in the bluegrass state, battling cultural, class, and language barriers along the way.

Fronteralogía's closing night includes a series of shorts that deal with transcending boundaries. The program begins with Pepe Urquijo's charming film Beca de Gilas: Rebeca's Story, which tells the story of a young Chicana devoted to community organizing in California. Also on the bill are Las Compañeras Tienen Grado, which brings Zapatista women into the mix, and a profile of the indigenous collective of Mut Vitz that produces Fair-Trade organic coffee in the highlands of Chiapas. Fronteralogía closes with Going Back to Where We Came From, which explores the origins, migrations, and connections of all indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Despite their original release dates, ranging from 1991 to 2002, these films remain relevant in their scope and vision, and they offer an antidote to Fiesta, San Antonio's annual celebration of colonization, which begins April 15.

By M. Solis

Fronteralogía Film Fest

Tue, Apr 12-Thu, Apr 14

Providence West Social Room
Our Lady of the Lake University
211 SW 24th St.
434-6711, Ext. 8164

"Las Mujeres Fronterizas"

Tue, Apr 12

From the Mountains to the Maquiladoras
Noon & 7pm

Performing the Border
12:30 & 7:30pm

Señorita Extraviada/Missing Young Woman
1 & 8pm

Opening night catered reception, 6pm

"Economics, Degradation, and Immigration"

Wed, Apr 13

Visiones Fronterizas/Border Visions
Noon & 4:30pm

New World Border
1 & 5:30pm

Más Alla de la Frontera/Beyond the Border
1:30 & 6pm

"Transcending Borders"

Thu, Apr 14

Beca de Gilas: Rebeca's Story
Noon & 7pm

Las Compañeras Tienen Grado:
Zapatista Women

12:30 & 7:30pm

The Strength of the Indigenous Community of Mut Vitz
1 & 8pm

Going Back to Where We Came From
1:30 & 8:30pm

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