2008 Afro & Youth Cultures in Latin America


November 2 – 21. 2008.

Sunday. NOVEMBER 2. Festival opens

NCSU. Campus Cinema, Witherspoon Student Center. Raleigh. 7pm.

Young Rebels (Jóvenes Rebeldes) Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (USA/Cuba). 2005

Spanish and English (with subtitles). 70 min.  <North Carolina Premiere>

Young Rebels follows five Cuban hip-hop groups and two producers over the course of a Havana summer. Battling onstage or at home, the characters’ personal travels collide in a summer of explosive concerts, intense debate, unbearable heat and rising tensions as government agencies begin to institutionalize hip-hop’s street roots. From the makers of the acclaimed feature film Half Nelson. “As young Cuban musicians with few hopes of commercial success embrace rap music, they look at American hip-hop with a mixture of pride (in the purity of their own political and social messages) and envy (at the wealth and fame achieved by American rappers). This informative doc introduces us to a number of these earnest young pop messengers, who barely have the resources to make a CD… but have the wherewithal to organize a rap festival.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Young Rebels is essential viewing for anyone interested in rap music, free speech issues or the youth culture of contemporary Cuba.” – Dana Stevens, The New York Times / “A labor of love, Young Rebels is essential viewing for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the hip-hop curve.” – V.A. Musetto, New York Post

Official Selection New Directors/New Films 2005 –  San José Cinequest Film Festival 2005 –   IDFA Files Tropics (Suriname) 2006 – Tekfestival (Rome, Italy) 2006 – Madrid’s Hip Hop Festival 2006


Monday. NOVEMBER 3 

Duke University. Griffith Film Theater, Bryan Center. Durham. 7pm

El Colombian Dream. Felipe Aljure (Colombia). 2006

Spanish with English subtitles. 120 min.<North Carolina Premiere>



A psychedelic multiple-storyline narrative happens around a disco called “El Colombian Dream” (a metaphor of a territory). A group of young slackers ( a twin couple and their girl-friend) steal a large shipment of hallucinogenic pills and try to cash in on it. Wide-angle and fish-eye lenses, acid color and over-exposures contributes to the disorienting, spaced-out visual style, while the bizarre voice-over narration from an aborted baby (the narrator), speaking omnisciently as an adult, serves mostly to clarify an increasingly convoluted plot. Writer-director Felipe Aljure, a cult director in the country, does have something eloquent to say about the connection between drugs, greed, and capitalism.

Official Web Site: www.elcolombiadream.com

* Felipe Aljure will be present to introduce the film



Tuesday. NOVEMBER 5  – No film

Wednesday. NOVEMBER 5

NCCU. The University Theatre at NCCU, Farrison Newton Communications Bldg. Durham. 7pm

The Underground Railroad in Mexico.  The Colorlines project and Ojo de Agua (Mexico –US) 2007-8.

Spanish, with English Subtitles. 30 min. <North Carolina Premiere>

The film documents stories of people of African descent in (Costa Chica) Mexico. It is based on a series of ‘story circles’ where participants sat together in their community and told stories about being of African heritage in Mexico (a mostly mestizo and indigenous country). In addition, the film documents dances and other cultural aspects of daily life pointing toward what some call an Afro-Mestizo culture among almost 300 communities on the Mexican Pacific coast. Yet, during the process we also learn there is much secrecy and denial about the history of African slavery in Mexico. It is simply not part of the national story.


Manuel Zapata Olivella: Abridor de Caminos. María Adelaida Lopez (Colombia) 2007.

Spanish with English subtitles. 30 min.            <US Premier>

Writer, anthropologist, and social scientist, Manuel Zapata Olivella (Lorica 1920 – Bogotá 2004) was one of the most important Afro Colombians of the 20th Century. The documentary approaches his life from two perspectives: first in terms of his research work on the promotion and diffusion of traditional (Afro) Colombian culture. Second, it focuses on his literary work in relation to the vindication and visibility of the history and culture of Afro-America in the main narrative of history in the continent.

Escritor, novelista, antropólogo, investigador y científico social, Manuel Zapata Olivella (Lorica, 1920 – Bogotá, 2004) fue uno de afrocolombianos más destacados del siglo XX. A partir de un recorrido por su vida y obra, el documental aborda varios aspectos fundamentales de este polifacético y prolífico personaje, centrándose en dos en particular: el primero, relacionado con sus trabajos de investigación, promoción y difusión de la cultura tradicional colombiana, y el segundo, enfocado en su aporte literario en cuanto a la reivindicación y visibilidad de la cultura y la historia de los negros en el continente americano.

Official Web Site: http://manuelzapataolivella.org

*Presented by Marco Polo Hernádez-Cuevas NCCU

Thursday. NOVEMBER 6 

UNC Chapel Hill. Nelson Mandela Auditorium, Global Education Center. 7pm

Bajo el Tacaná. La Otra Frontera. Isabel Vericat Nuñez (Mexico-Guatemala) 2007.

Spanish with English subtitles. 25min. <US Premiere>

During three weeks (October and November 2006) in the village of Soconusco, Chiapas, on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, a group of researchers document and interview a group of women migrants on their way to the north. Texts, testimonials, and images work together, but they do not form a totality. They are also fragments that speak for themselves; each element has its own individual meaning.

The documentary was made with support from the Mexican Commission on Human Rights and the OIM (International Organization for Migration)

Durante tres semanas entre octubre y noviembre de 2006 en el Soconusco, Chiapas, frontera México-Guatemala. Un grupo de investigadores realizaron un documental donde entrevistamos a muchos migrantes y organizaciones, especialmente mujeres en su viaje al norte. Textos, testimonios e imágenes son indivisibles y a la vez fragmentarios. No forman una totalidad pero se complementan, se dan la mano y acompañan, aunque cada elemento tiene su propio significado por separado.

Este proyecto se realizó con el apoyo de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) y la OIM.

Official Web Site: http://www.laotrafrontera.com.mx/bajoeltacana.pdf

Special: Work in Progress / Trailer

Brother Towns / Pueblos Hermanos. A Film by Charles Thompson.  Directed by Charles Thompson and Michael Davey.  A production of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. (Durham, 2008)

It chronicles the human interchange over the last quarter century between two towns: Jacaltenango, Guatemala and Jupiter, Florida.  During the Guatemalan violence of the 1980s refugees began heading north to save their lives.  Once they found asylum, other economic refugees followed.   Some three thousand indigenous migrants from the highlands of Guatemala have made their way to the coastal resort town of Jupiter.  There they work as landscapers, builders, and tend to the many golf courses in the area.  The film highlights the story of Jupiter’s labor center called El Sol, a non-profit organization reaching out to the migrants.  Jupiter and Jacaltenango have signed a sister city agreement, and try to face head on the challenges presented by change. The film raises many questions about the new immigrants in small communities across the country.  It underlines the challenges in the U.S.  as well as the tremendous pressures on Guatemalan families, who see members must decide whether to leave to provide for them or stay behind to keep the family together.  One brother goes, another stays.  One family has enough money but no father in the home, the other has a father present but no money.  These are the two heartrending choices presented in this globalized world. More a generator of discussion than a definitive answer to immigration questions, Brother Towns/ Pueblos Hermanos leaves us engaged and with one solid example of what two communities are doing in the face of a major national challenge.

Director will introduce the movie *


Friday. NOVEMBER 7

Guilford College. Frank Family Science Center, Bryan Auditorium. Greensboro 7pm.

Moro No Brasil. Mika Kaurismäki (Brazil, 2002.)

Portuguese with English subtitles. 70min.

This is a stirring and passionate documentary that grants the viewer unparalleled access to the diversity and musical richness of Brazilian music, reaching far beyond Samba and Bossa Nova. Writer/director Mika Kaurismäki’s musical journey covers 4,000 kilometers, with stopovers in Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, and presents the voyage from the roots of samba to its present-day excursions into rap and funk. Experience Brazilian culture and get to know its people with over 50 musical performances from the streets of Brazil by over 40 musical acts, including interviews and performances by Walter Alfaiate & Seu Jorge, Antônio Nôbrega, Darue Malungo, Silverio Pessoa, Margareth Menezes, Ivo Meirelles and much more.

*Introduced by Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Assistant Professor of Spanish. With special musical presentation


Saturday. NOVEMBER 8

Family Life Recreation Center at Lyon Park (1309 Halley St. Durham NC  27701) 5.30

“Guitar Holiday.” Dennis Conway. (USA-Mexico) 2007.

English and Spanish.  47min. <North Carolina Premiere>

It is a documentary about the guitar makers of Paracho, Michoacan and the Mexican National Guitar Festival that continues to acknowledge and celebrate their world renowned craftsmanship. Guitar Holiday features compelling interviews with guitar makers in their homes and workshops, and an occasionally drifting frame invites viewers to witness the rich culture and cherished traditions of the people of Paracho. Dozens of guitar shops line the main plaza and side streets of Paracho, where you can buy a guitar from the person who made it. Every August Paracho comes alive as it hosts the Mexican National Guitar Festival. The festival features classical guitar concerts, parades, mariachi and Purepecha folk performances and competitions for guitarists and guitar makers. But ultimately, it is the town that emerges as the main character in a spirited display of tradition and community pride.


 “El Benny.” Jorge Luis Sánchez. (Cuba) 2006 <N / S>

Spanish with English subtitles. 120min.

It is a fictional story based on the life of the famous Cuban musician Benny Moré. It includes new versions of his songs performed by musicians including Chucho Valdés, Juan Formell, Haila and Orishas. The film premiered in Cuba in July 2006, and was presented at the Locarno International Film Festival (2006). The film was Cuba’s candidate for the Academy Awards. The film won the “First Work” (Opera Prima) award at the New Latin American Cinema festival in Havana in December 2006. U.S. premiere at the “Palm Springs International Film Festival” (2007), and its east coast premiere at the Miami International Film Festival (2007). The director is distantly related to Benny Moré.


In partnership with Durham Parks and Recreation


Sunday. NOVEMBER  9. Matinee. Short Films

UNC- Chapel Hill. Nelson Mandela Auditorium. Global Education Center. Chapel Hill, NC. 4pm

Introduced by Leila Elmergawi. ISA, UNC-CH

Gringoton. Greg Berger (Mexico) 2004. 17 minutes

In this brilliant and hilarious parody, filmmaker Greg Berger takes on the theme of Mexican perspectives of the United States, its citizens, and its imperial project by turning them on their ear. During the invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, a misplaced gringo in Mexico City helplessly watches the atrocities through the lens of Mexican television news. His despair turns to hope when he observes some of the millions of Mexico City street vendors who fight their own daily “war” for survival on the streets.

Tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film shows how their tenacity inspires him to take to the streets of Mexico’s capital, when, in stark role reversal, he sells chewing gum and washes windows to raise money for a guerrilla army to take out Bush.

A History of Committed Cinema. Emilio Rodríguez (Nicaragua) 1983. 15 min.

It is a fast paced documentary which became a primer for the Nicaraguan audience about what they are watching on the screen. A critique of Western (Hollywood) cinema, it outlines the difficult technical, cinematic and political tasks confronting INCINE as it strives to build a native film industry during the first years of the Sandinista Revolution.

Más Vampiros en la Habana. Juan Padrón (Cuba) 2003. 80 min.

A sequel to the first Vampiros en la Habana (1985) in which the scientist Von Drácula invented the potion Vampisol which allowed vampires’ to live out in the sun. Now Pepe has to face not only the mafia (La Capa Nostra and the European Vampire gang) but the Nazi-vampires which developed a more powerful formula after the original was broadcasted from Radio Vampiro Internacional. A Cold War setting allows the Cuban Vampires to fusion not only Manga and Anime qualities, but also commentaries on the economic and cultural models of the West.



Monday. NOVEMBER 10

UNC-Greensboro. Stone Building Auditorium (Stone 142). School of Environmental Sciences. 7.pm

Selections from the Cinema Nosso Program (2004-08).  

<North Carolina Premiere>

“De Cor” Two youth of different ethnicity, rationalities, and languages meet and discover that there is some among all these differences that may unite them. < De Cor: Dois jovens de etnias, racionalidades e idiomas  diferentes se conhecem e descobrem que existe alguma entre todas essas diferenças que pode uni-los. >

“Provisory identity” A young girl arrives to a conclusion about “What is it to be someone?” She reflects and questions whether it is really necessary for us to identify ourselves through objects or actions in order to answer “who we are.” <Identidade Provisória-  Sinópse-  Jovem menina chega a conclusão sobre “ O que é ser Alguém? “ . Ela reflete e questiona se é realmente necessário nos identificarmos através de objetos ou ações para respondermos “Quem Somos”.>

This hugely successful media and film project has allowed disadvantaged young people the chance to tell their stories to the world. The Cinema Nosso program uses the tools of digital media to educate and empower young people in the favelas through training in media skills, introduction to the job market and a means of self-expression. Cinema Nosso (formerly ‘Nós do Cinema’) supports the formation of a local collaborative network. Cinema Nosso’s work helps to ensure the re-integration of marginalized youth into society.

See more: http://www.abctrust.org.uk/cinemanosso.html

* * Presented by Luis Nascimento. Introduced by Jeanine Luciana Lino. Department of Romance Languages UNC-G

Co-sponsored by Romance Languages UNC-Greensboro


Tuesday. NOVEMBER 11

Durham Tech Community College: ERC Auditorium, Main Campus. Durham. 7pm.

The Virgin Comes to La Maldita Vecindad (‘the damned bad neighborhood). Elva E. Bishop, Altha Cravey, and Javier García (Durham) 2008. 30 min. <World Premiere>

The film brings together several distinct celebrations of the Virgen de Guadalupe in Durham NC. In a run-down apartment complex on Durham’s east side (the damned bad neighborhood, ‘la maldita vecinidad’), dancers of all ages honor the virgin with hours of ancient indigenous traditional matachine dancing. Afterward, many of these same dancers and their families go to a special Catholic mass for the virgin. In yet another separate activity, linked to the immigrant’s rights movement, relay runners carried a burning torch and the Virgen of Guadalupe through Durham en route from Mexico City to New York City in December of 2005, and again in 2007. These three celebrations of the virgin – and their interconnections and their impact on the community — are highlighted in the documentary.

*Special presentation by the directors and with the presence of members of the community who participated in the film project. Supported by an award from the NC Arts Council.


Wednesday. NOVEMBER 12

NCCU. The University Theatre at NCCU Farrison Newton Communications Bldg. Durham. 7pm.

Quilombo Country. Leonard Abrams (Brazil) 2006. 

<North Carolina Premiere>

Portuguese with English subtitles. 73 min.

Quilombo Country, a documentary film shot in digital video, provides a portrait of rural communities in Brazil that were either founded by runaway slaves or began from abandoned plantations. This type of community is known as a quilombo, from an Angolan word that means “encampment.” As many as 2,000 quilombos exist today.

Contrary to Brazil’s national mythology, it was a brutal and deadly place for slaves. But they didn’t submit willingly. Thousands escaped, while others led political and militant movements that forced white farmers to leave. Quilombo Country provides a glimpse into these communities, with extensive footage of ceremonies, dances and lifestyles, interwoven with discussions about their history and the issues most important to them currently. The film takes place in three distinct settings: The Trombetas region of the Amazon, Marajo Island at the mouth of the Amazon River, and the Itapicuru-Mirim area in the state of Maranhao.

Narrated by Chuck D of Public Enemy.


Thursday. November 13

Guilford College (Greensboro): Frank Family Science Center, Bryan Auditorium

Invisible Faces, The Right to Mourn. Luis Nascimento (Brazil) 2008. <World Premiere>

Portuguese with English subtitles. 60min.

Every eight hours one person dies in Rio de Janeiro, as a victim of the police. Each death grabs with it the pain of who’s left behind, affecting his/her social circle, especially family and friends. The documentary “Invisible Faces” centers the stories of these survivors, mostly women who fight for justice while turning invisibility into subjectivity.

*With the presence of the director Luis Nascimento.


Friday. NOVEMBER 14

Durham Tech Community College: ERC Auditorium, Main Campus. Durham. 7pm.

Super Amigos. Arturo Pérez Torres (Mexico) 2007.  

<North Carolina Premiere>

Spanish with English subtitles. 82 min.

While professional wrestling is certainly popular in the United States, it doesn’t match the stranglehold wrestling has on Mexican popular culture. Known as Lucha Libre, Mexican wrestling features competitors in elaborate masks and costumes whose complex back-stories and adulation by fans puts American grapplers to shame. The heroes of Lucha Libre are so revered in Mexico that a group of political and social activists have attempted to borrow their flashy style and high public profile and use it to reach the people. Filmmaker Arturo Pérez Torres offers a profile of these unlikely heroes in his documentary Super Amigos. The Amigos, who wear the masks and capes of Mexican wrestlers while doing social work and activism, include Fray Tormenta, a wrestler turned priest who works with abandoned children; Super Barrio, who acts on behalf of low-income and working class families threatened with homelessness due to Mexico’s poor economy and rising rents; Ecologista Universal, who struggles to fight environmental abuse and oppose nuclear power and clearing woodlands; Super Animal, an animal rights activist keen on cleaning up the abusive sport of bullfighting; and Super Gay, who offers counseling for victims of gay bashing and helps organize Mexico City’s Gay Pride events.

Saturday. NOVEMBER 15. No Film

Sunday. NOVEMBER 16. Matinee

Guilford College. Frank Family Science Center, Bryan Auditorium, Greensboro.  4pm.

Brasileirinho. Mika Kaurismaki (Brazil – Switzerland – Finland) 2005

Portuguese with English subtitles. 90min.

Brasileirinho is a musical documentary film about Choro, the first genuinely Brazilian urban music. It was back in the late 19th century in Rio de Janeiro when Brazilian musicians started to blend European melodies, Afro-Brazilian rhythms, and the melancholic interpretation of the Brazilian Indians’ music to create Choro. Choro is credited as being the first musical expression of Brazil’s melting pot and had a prominent place in the development of Brazil’s cultural identity.

The film shows, above all, a colorful picture of Choro’s vitality today. The guiding line of the film is the combo “Trio Madeira Brasil” composed of three of Brazil’s outstanding Choro musicians. During a “Roda de Choro”, a traditional Brazilian kind of private jam session, the Trio brings up a concert project. During these sessions or at their homes, some of the most interesting Choro musicians play and remember key events in the history of this Brazilian urban music. A look into a Choro workshop with over 450 participants of all ages illustrates the off-hand genuine Brazilian way to play. “Playing” interviews with well-known Samba and Bossa Nova artists like Zezé Gonzaga, Elza Soares and Guinga illustrate the reciprocal inspiration with Samba and Bossa Nova music. Choro remained a major popular music style until the 1920s, leading directly into Samba and later to Bossa Nova. After a slight decline in popularity, Choro music has made a remarkable comeback over the past few decades.

*Introduced by Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Assistant Professor of Spanish. Special Capoeira presentation


Monday. NOVEMBER  17

Duke University. Griffith Theater. Bryan Center. 7pm.

A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman. Peter Raymont & Rodrigo Dorfman. documentary (USA-Chile) 2007.

Spanish and English. 91min

A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman is an exploration of exile, memory, longing and democracy as seen through the experiences of the world-renowned writer, Ariel Dorfman. This documentary goes on to explore also the intricacies of living in exile, the cultural and personal burdens as well as the pros of such life. Dorfman’s remarkable life and career as writer, activist, and father is highlighted with audacity and delicacy making the film a piece that touches not only the inner nerves but the historical constructions of Latin America today.

The film has been shown in major film festivals around the world and was premiered in the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. It was also featured in the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham in 2008. A must-see film!

*Ariel and/or Rodrigo Dorfman will introduce the film

Tuesday. NOVEMBER 18


Dabney Hall 124. 2620 Stinson Drive. Raleigh, NC. 8 pm

Ever Amado, Victor Ruano & Tony Pérez (El Salvador, 2008) 

<North Carolina Premiere>

Spanish and English (with subtitles). 45 min.

Ever Amado (a man) is a hurting and bitter illegal immigrant from El Salvador. He left the country with his wife Flor to escape the brutal civil war, only to find himself alone in a clandestine border hospital as an amputee. In his isolation, the anger and bitterness that have ruled Ever for so long finally begin to weaken. Ultimately, as Ever confronts his physical pain, he discovers a life-changing spiritual revelation. It is one of the few films produced in El Salvador in recent years.

Berlinale Talent Campus award, 2007

Official Web Site: http://www.santasombra.com/dev/images/ever/index.html

* Director will introduce the film

Wenesday. NOVEMBER 19 (see the Colombian Presence of the Impossible Series)


Thursday. NOVEMBER 20.  Video Art and Street Screenings

Richard White Auditorium. Duke University East Campus, Durham. 7pm.

Bocas de Ceniza. Juan M. Echavarria (Colombia).   6 min

Bocas de Ceniza is the name of the mouth of the Magdalena River in Colombia, in Echavarria’s work it is a metaphoric place where the bodies of the war victims thrown into its waters appear. Afro Colombians, survivors of massacres sing songs composed by themselves about their traumatic experiences.

Spanish with English subtitles.

Street is A Mutha. Youth video workshops (Toronto, Canada). 28 min

Alucine film festival has organized workshops in collaboration with the centre for Spanish Speaking People. These short videos, made by adolescents, show the life of Latino/a residents in the outskirts of Toronto. Coordinated and produced by Jorge Lozano and Guillermina Buzio in 2005.

Street is a Mutha 2. (Cali, Colombia). 20 min

The second part is composed by videos produced as part of the Alucine workshops in collaboration with the city of Cali, Colombia, 2006.

Spanglish, English, and Spanish


Cuando Yo Soñaba un Mundo al Revés. Jorge Dalton (Cuba-El Salvador) 25min.

This experimental film is the result of collecting 35 and 16mm footage from friends and family in Cuba and El Salvador. The piece reverses the contemporary conceptions of a programmatic process and uses a random approach.

Winner of the 5th International “Poor” Film Festival. Havana Cuba.




Terminal. Andres Tapia-Urzua (Chile-USA, 2005). 15 min

Terminal is a compelling exposé into the identity of terrorism. Our host, an ever diligent and exuberant television journalist investigates the dark realities behind contesting definitions of terrorism. With the help of Eqbal Ahmad’s essay “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours,” the participants decode for the viewer the many roles a terrorist can play.



Water (5min) / Sea of Words (3min) / February (5.22min). Julieta María (Palestine – Colombia – Canada)

As a Palestine – Colombian and now living in Canada this artist finds herself in a conundrum. Coming from a watery and warm world (before) now the cold north defines her life and work, a journey to discover her new identity.

Spanish and English


Friday. NOVEMBER 21. Festival ends <V>

UNC Chapel Hill. Nelson Mandela, Global Education Center. 7pm

Entre los muertos. Jorge Dalton (Cuba-Salvador. 2004) <North Carolina Premiere>

Spanish with English subtitles. 57min.

It chronicles the cultural approaches to the familiar presence of death in that nation, presenting it not merely as a celebration, but also as a quotidian aspect of Salvadoran life that also advances that country’s economy.

*Jorge Dalton will introduce the film

Closing reception to follow

Copyright 2019 | The Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University