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Posts Tagged ‘Oaxaca International Independent Film and Video Festival’

November 5th was opening day of the inaugural Oaxaca International Independent Film and Video Festival. Having volunteered at the Mill Valley Film Festival for eight years and attending it for many more, I enthusiastically poured over the nine-day schedule and made sure to arrive at the newly reopened Auditorio Ariel for the first film a half an hour early. Of course, the theater wasn’t open, no line had formed, and the only other people not sporting official film festival badges or wearing official volunteer t-shirts, were other gringos. When will I ever learn?!!

Other days and films followed, including the wonderful documentary, Awakening From Sorrow: Buenos Aires 1997. The voices of the now grown children of the disappeared, tortured, and murdered during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the late 1970s and early 1980s, are woven, along with haunting artwork, music and archival film footage into an exquisite “tapestry of remembrance” in their quest for justice. And, come to find out, it screened at last year’s Mill Valley Film Festival.

In addition to the films, the festival also featured an English language and a Spanish language literature competition. The Oaxaca Lending Library, where I volunteer, underwrote the English competition, including bringing the winner, Charles Whipple, to Oaxaca from his home in Japan(!) and hosting a reception on Nov. 11. The evening temperatures were mild, perfect for gathering in the courtyard of the stately 17th century home of the Rufino Tamayo Museo de Arte Prehispanico de Mexico, savoring the delicious canapés created by Jean-Michel Thomas of ¿Donde esta el chef?, and listening to Charles Whipple read his awarding winning story, A Matter of Tea.

The evening closed with the Mexican premiere of, Twenty Five Hundred & One, a documentary chronicling Oaxacan-born artist, Alejandro Santiago’s sculptural tribute to the thousands of men and women who have left his pueblo almost deserted, in their search for jobs. Alejandro Santiago and several of his family members and the crew who help create the 2,501 sculptures were present, as was director, Director, Patricia Van Ryker. It was a lovely way to spend an evening…

Photos from the reception can be found in a photo album on the Oaxaca Lending Library’s website.

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