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Film and Media Collections

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National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans are recognized.

Recommended films:

I Was Born in Mexico, But…(New Day Films, 2013) A poetic short featuring the voice of a young Latina woman who was brought to the U.S. as a child. The film introduces viewers to a personal voice on the immigration debate: DACA, the Dream Act, and other immigration reform, speaking about what it's like to grow up and face an uncertain future as a young undocumented person in America.

American Masters - Pedro E. Guerrero (PBS, 2015) The American Masters series and Latino Public Broadcasting's VOCES series join forces for the first time to explore the life and work of photographer Pedro E. Guerrero (September 5, 1917 - September 13, 2012), a Mexican American, born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary international photography career. Filmmakers Raymond Telles and Yvan Iturriaga (Latino Americans) showcase an in-depth, exclusive interview with Guerrero alongside his photography to explore his collaborations with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Using his outsider's eye to produce insightful portraits of important modernist architecture, Guerrero became one of the most sought-after photographers of the "Mad Men" era, yet his story is largely unknown.

Humberto Calzada - a Cuban-American Painter (Heritage Film Project, 2009) The film looks back into the artist's early life in Havana before the Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Humberto Calzada represents the side of the Cuban-American equation on the north side of the Gulf Stream. His meticulous attempt to reconstruct the past is evident in in his attempts to reconstruct Havana-on-canvas. In many ways, Calzada epitomizes the exiled who acknowledges the impossibility of a return to Ithaca: "The Havana I used to know is just another imaginary place", he says on this intimate portrait of a man gravitating a constant state of melancholy. Original Music by Gerardo Aguillon (violin) and Jose Angel Navarro (guitar).

Viva la Causa (Kartemquin Films, 1974) A colorful record of the making of a mural in Chicago's Pilsen community led by Ray Patlán, this film traces the mural movement of the mid-1970's back to murals in Mexico. Different people view the mural and reflect on its meaning for themselves as Latinos.

Carmen Lomas Garza: Looking Back (Filmakers Library, 2009) Carmen Lomas Garza is a Chicana artist who creates images about the lives of Mexican Americans based on her memories and experiences growing up in South Texas. In this charming film, Carmen returns to Texas to revisit the people and places that inspired her work. Born in 1948 in Kingsville, Texas, she experienced significant racism growing up, and was not allowed to speak Spanish in school. The roots of her artwork lay with her family traditions and in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Abrazos (New Day Films, 2014) A film by Luis Argueta. Abrazos tells the story of the transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children who travel 3,000 miles, from Minnesota to Guatemala, to meet their grandparents for the first time. After being separated for nearly two decades, these families are able to share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity.

Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement (Hector Galan, 1995) This four part landmark documentary series now a classic for Mexican American history of the U.S., chronicles the struggle for equality and social justice of the Mexican American community in the United States from 1965 to 1975. It features the Chicano land struggle, Cesar Chavez and the UFW, the Los Angeles High School Walk-outs and the creation of the political party La Raza Unida.

Made in L.A. (Robert Bahar, 2007) Made in L.A. is an Emmy award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. In intimate observational style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman's life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.

A Zest for Life: Afro-Peruvian Rhythms, a Source of Latin Jazz (Palomino Productions, 2015) Peruvians of African descent are a minority within their country, but their culture has had a tremendous impact. Even la Marinera, Peru’s national dance, shows African influence. Using performance, historical photographs, and interviews, this program acquaints viewers with Afro-Peruvian music and dance. 

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