September 15 marked the start of Latinx Heritage Month, and therefore the opening of the annual Cine con Cultura Latin-American Film Festival. The film festival is a huge collaboration between Ithaca College, Cornell University and the Ithaca community that brings 11 films in Spanish to local cinemas. The festival runs the duration of Latino Heritage Month: September 16 to Oct.13. This is the festival’s sixth year, showcasing films with a variety of themes with the common goal of celebrating Latinx culture struggle, art and resilience.
In addition to longtime partners Cinemapolis, Ithaca College, Cornell Cinema, ¡Cultura Ithaca! and the Latino Civic Association, Cine con Cultura is also teaming up with the Multicultural Resource Center, the Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition, the LGBTQI Center at Ithaca College, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and the Committee on US-Latin American Relations. Festival screenings are currently taking place several times a week from Monday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 13. There will be a total of 12 films shown this year with a wide selection of feature-length films and documentaries. There are also related events for festival-goers this year, including a Q&A with Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at Cornell Cinema.
The ¡Cultura Ithaca! program aims to provide, foster and share Latinx & Latin American culture with the Tompkins County community through free and low-cost arts and education experiences. Community members, professors and students bring events into the community and build connections to its exciting and diverse Latinx roots that explore different Latinx cultures through storytelling, music, film, dance, art, theater and more. ¡Cultura Ithaca! also provides programming that focuses on civic engagement and education on subjects like finances, health, legal issues and more. Cultura’s downtown office, located in the Tompkins County Workers Center on the second floor of Autumn Leaves Used Bookstore, acts as a resource center and gathering space for Latin@s and amig@s to come together. It is also the site of the Cafe con Cultura coffee and Spanish conversation hour.
Several films are free and open to the public and to buy tickets go to Cinemapolis and Cornell Cinema’s websites. Film passes are available at Cinemapolis. The cost is $8.50 per film or $50 season pass for all 12 films.
One film you don’t want to miss is I’ll See You Around, the first feature length film produced in Ithaca by Ithaca native Latino director Daniel Pfeffer. I’ll See You Around is about the story of an everyday man, Lucas, navigating complicated personal relationships in the context of a drug crisis that grips the nation and his own family, now and in the past. Showtime is 7 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 25 at Cinemapolis.
The Cine con Cultura Film Festival would not be possible without its director Dr. Enrique González-Conty, an assistant professor of Spanish and Modern Languages and Literatures at Ithaca College. Further acknowledgment goes to Cornell’s chair of Hispanic Studies Prof. Debra Castillo, comparative literature. Also, Prof. Cecelia Lawless, romance studies and author of Making Home in Havana, has collaborated closely with González-Conty and Castillo to make Cine con Cultura a success for years to come.
Ariadna Lubinus is a junior in the College of Engineering. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.