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WCU's First Spanish-Language Film Festival

The West Chester University and surrounding community will have an opportunity for cultural exploration when five Spanish-language films are shown on campus this fall. West Chester is one of only 47 institutions nationwide – and the only Philadelphia-area site – that received a grant this year from Pragda Spanish Film Club to host these films, which are subtitled in English. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Organized by Iliana Pagán-Teitelbaum and Megan Saltzman, both assistant professors in WCU's Languages and Cultures department, the University's first Spanish-Language Film Festival begins on Sept. 30 during Hispanic Heritage Month with the screening of Wrinkles, an animated feature based on Spanish artist Paco Roca's graphic novel about the indignities of aging. As the faculty host, Saltzman will facilitate a discussion following the film.

Pragda Spanish Film Club, a film distributor that promotes Spanish and Latin American cinema in regions where access to these films is limited, makes the film festivals possible through grants. The grants cover screening fees as well as the purchase of the films, which will be available at the Mitchell Hall Language Lab after the festival. The grant, supported by SPAIN Arts and Culture and the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain, is supplemented by a grant from WCU's University Forum.

Explains Saltzman, "We chose these five foreign films in particular because they deal with contemporary social issues that can easily connect with students' lives here in West Chester, social issues that often lack a comfortable space to discuss them, for example, body image, racism, violence, disabilities, sexuality, belonging, social differences. … For this reason, we think these films are not just simple entertainment but can also be a meaningful extracurricular component to all of our classes."

Beyond the classroom, the films offer the local community a glimpse into a variety of cultures, expert-led discourse on subjects that cross national boundaries, and access to foreign cinema where there are limited opportunities.

A Tumblr site offers both synopses and trailers for each film. There is also a Facebook event page. Pagán-Teitelbaum adds that students will be tweeting about the films in some courses (#cinewcu).

For more information, email Pagán-Teitelbaum or Saltzman.

Film Festival Schedule

The films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Mitchell Hall Room 102 each Wednesday from Sept. 30 through Oct. 28. In the schedule below, the director's name follows each film title, as well as the country of origin and year produced. At the end of the entry is the name of the Languages and Cultures department faculty member hosting the film that evening.

9/30 - Wrinkles (Ignacio Ferreras. Spain, 2012) This animated feature based on Spanish artist Paco Roca's graphic novel examines the indignities of aging. Megan Saltzman.

10/7 - Cuento chino (Sebastián Borensztein. Argentina, 2012) In Buenos Aires, a loner and a Chinese man looking for a relative find unexpected connections that change both their lives. Jason Bartles.

10/14 - Paraíso (Mariana Chenillo. Mexico, 2014) Body image and self-confidence are at stake when a couple try to lose weight and one succeeds faster than the other. Innhwa Park.

10/21 - Las analfabetas (Moisés Sepúlveda. Chile, 2013). An illiterate middle-aged woman learns how to read. Tia Malkin-Fontecchio.

10/28 - Who Is Dayani Cristal? (Marc Silver, Producer Gael García. Mexico-USA, 2014) The name tattooed on a decomposing body in the Arizona desert pushes filmmakers and forensic pathologists to discover his identity. Daniela Johannes.