Tag Archive | "OLA"

Latin American Film Festival Returns to the Parrish

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Sergio Hernández (Rodolfo) and Paulina García (Gloria) in Sebastián Lelio’s “Gloria,” which will be screened at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 14.

By Mara Certic

Seven boxes, a fisherman and a middle-aged Chilean woman will be featured in films screened next weekend during the 11th annual OLA Film Festival at the Parrish Art Museum.

The Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island (OLA) is a local outreach nonprofit that promotes the Latino community’s cultural, economic, social and educational development in the towns of East Hampton and Southampton. Isabel Sepulveda, one of the founders of OLA, started the film festival back in 2003 and for the past six years, the Parrish Art Museum has hosted the Spanish-language weekend.

“Isabel Sepulveda has been with it from the beginning. She has the vision each year,” said Andrea Grover, curator of special projects at the Parrish, who added that Ms. Sepulveda is “essential” to the festival. Ms. Grover said she always enjoys the OLA film festival and “it is something that people anticipate and are enthusiastic about seeing.”

“In 2001, we founded OLA. Part of the mission was to do advocacy work. We thought we could reach more people doing cultural events,” Ms. Sepulveda said on Monday. “Through an annual film festival we can bring the two communities together.”

It is a fun change of theme for the Parrish, which usually screens films on the subject of art. “This is a little bit of a different tact for us. It’s something that we find really valuable,” Ms. Grover said in a phone interview on Saturday.

There is no theme to the festival, no connection to art, as such, except that each of these films are critically acclaimed and highly anticipated. According to Ms. Grover, Ms. Sepulveda “is trying to reach as broad as an audience as possible” with her choices for the festival. Documentaries, dramas and comedies have all made it to the big screen at the OLA film festival, even shorts, but Ms. Grover said the curator “is looking for quality.”

The OLA film festival features recently released, critically acclaimed movies from different Latin American countries, according to Ms. Grover. The festival kicks off on Friday, September 12, at 5:30 p.m. with “Pescador” (“Fisherman”).

“Pescador” was co-written and directed by Ecuadoran filmmaker Sebastián Cordero in 2011. It tells the story of 30-year-old Blanquito (played by Andrés Crespo), who lives with his mother in a small fishing village where he never really felt he belonged. One day, Blanquito discovers a box filled with bricks of cocaine and he finds a way to get out of his 30-year rut. He is determined to sell the cocaine back to the cartel for top prices and to use that money to leave the small village and change his life.

He falls for a woman named Lorna, with whom he spends the rest of the 96-minute film on a dangerous adventure. “Pescador” won awards for best director and best actor at the 2012 Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival, and Mr. Crespo won another award for best actor at the Cartagena Film Festival in Colombia.

Following the screening of “Pescador,” Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican band Mambo Loco will perform on the Mildred C. Brinn Terrace at the Parrish at 7 p.m. “It’s something we plan to develop further,” Ms. Grover said of expanding the festival’s offerings.

The next day at 3 p.m., the Parrish will show a Paraguayan film, “7 Cajas” (“7 Boxes”).  The PG-13 film directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori is the story of the lure and dangers of money.  Victor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow operator, accepts $100 to transport seven boxes of unknown content through an eight-block journey in the busy municipal market. Drama and danger ensue in the action-thriller, which won five awards at various film festivals, including the Audience Award at the Miami Film Festival.

The last film to be screened over the weekend will be on Sunday at 3 p.m. The film is “Gloria,” the story of a rebirth for a middle-aged divorcée living in Santiago. “It’s one I’ve wanted to see because it depicts a woman in her mid-life and it’s a depiction of a real life scenario done with kindness,” Ms. Grover said. “It’s subject matter not frequently featured,” she said, adding that Ms. Sepulveda has been eager to feature the Chilean movie since its release.

The R-rated tale won a total of 17 awards at festivals all around the world, including the main competition at the Berlin International Film Festival and several best actress awards for Paulina Garcia, who plays the title role.

Ms. Sepulveda said there are many high-quality films coming out of Latin America. “I wish we could have a longer festival, like two weeks. It takes a lot to put it together, especially when everyone’s volunteering their time. It’s not easy,” she said.

Tickets for each film are $10; admission is free for museum members, students and children. The musical performance by Mambo Loco is free with museum admission. The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org

 

 

 

Seeking Immigration Answers

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By Marianna Levine

It was clear from the start that several audience members at a panel discussion last Thursday on immigration were not immigrants themselves. They were there as concerned residents who came with their own opinions on immigration they hoped to be able to air during the discussion. However, the event’s organizers, Organizacion Latino Americana’s (OLA), as well as the discussion’s moderator, Joachim Mendez created some ground rules he introduced with a joke to dispel the already apparent tensions, “If you have something you want to say we’ll have a beer later. If you have a question then raise your hand.” He stressed this was an informational meeting and not a debate.

Still the first person to speak was an woman from Southampton who expressed fear that people who were born and raised on Long Island were being treated like outsiders rather than insiders.

“We are American citizens, and we’ve welcomed an international community here for over 45 years. Can we be included in this dialogue please?” To which Mendez responded, “(the welcoming has occurred for) more like a couple hundred years. And we shouldn’t get into this now. I will not allow it. If you don’t have a question we’ll move on.”

From then on there were a plethora of questions from both local business owners as well as immigrants asked in both Spanish and English, and always translated for all to understand. Most questions concerned small business owners and the need for work visas and driver’s licenses for their workers, the actual naturalization process, and most urgently what was occurring with immigration reform in Washington D.C.

The panel, held at the Bridgehampton National Bank meeting room in Bridgehampton, included immigration attorneys Millicent Clarke and Allen Kaye (of the American Immigration Lawyers Association), as well as the Executive Director of the Long Island Immigration Alliance Luis Velenzuela, and Congressman Tim Bishop.

The immigration lawyers fielded the questions regarding the immigration process, often cautioning audience members to be wary of so-called lawyers who promise to put aside tax money for the future for undocumented workers or who make any easy promises about the naturalization process. Both Clarke and Kaye suggested waiting for immigration reform prior to starting any paperwork.

Kaye explained that there are basically only three ways to get a Green Card in the United States. You can either get one through an employer, or by marrying or being related to a citizen, or you can have resided here illegally for over ten years and take your chances before a judge in court. He then explained that trying to get a Green Card properly as an undocumented person almost always means, “You’re asking to be deported.”

Congressman Tim Bishop arrived soon after this discussion began, and addressed questions on comprehensive immigration reform. An audience member asked in frustration, “What is wrong with getting in line and waiting?” To which Congressman Bishop replied, “The fundamental problem is that the current system is a broken system that simply doesn’t work. I think we can all agree that it isn’t working. This discussion is a symptom of the fact that the system is broken. We don’t have a visa system that works. We have people who stand in line for 5 to 20 years and nothing happens.” He also added that, “No solutions can come from the vantage point of anger. I believe we should make a good faith effort to put our differences aside and try to bring people together.”

Bishop explained the new comprehensive immigration reform would come about in four parts in something referred to as the “Strive Act.” First the U.S. government would need to intensify border protection, and crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers. Thereafter the government would construct a visa program that actually worked and reflected the needs of our country and business owners. Bishop explained this would include a simplified agricultural work visa. He then noted that the fourth aspect of this plan is the most controversial, since it would create a path to legalization for those who are currently in the U.S. without proper documentation.

“Undocumented workers would be given a work visa as long as they have a clean record for about 11 or 12 years,” said Bishop. “They would have to pay a fine and back taxes on the money they earned off the books. They would have to learn English and civics and maintain a clean record for that period. After that they would be granted permanent residency.”

Asked when immigration reform would be passed, Bishop answered, “I believe it will be considered sometime in June or September. President Obama has made it very clear he supports comprehensive immigration reform.” He also said that he guessed the bill had a better than 50/50 chance of passing this year.