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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

College hosts Race and Migration Film Festival

The Saint Mary’s Race and Migration Film Festival will be screening a selection of movies over the next four weeks in an effort to showcase numerous cultures and languages, sponsored by the Modern Languages and Cultures Department as well as the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership Department (CWIL). Open to all students, the film festival will be held in the Vander Vennet Theater located in the lower level of the Saint Mary’s Student Center at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9, 16, 23, and March 2.

Ty West, professor of Spanish and chair of the Modern Languages and Cultures Department spoke about the motivation behind the upcoming event.

“The purpose is to draw awareness to different cultures and languages that we teach in the department,” he said. “There will be a film in Spanish, Arabic, Italian and French," West said. 

West said he hopes to see positive effects from hosting this event specifically at Saint Mary’s.

“The idea of learning more about other cultures through study of language is linked to Saint Mary’s mission as well,” he said. “You have intercultural awareness and competency.”

Along with West, a team of professors and students are working towards orchestrating the festival. “

As chair of the department, a lot of heavy lifting comes through bureaucratic means, organizing the event, choosing the films,” he said. “I have to approve of many things, but this is something that happens in collaboration with multiple people, and I certainly didn’t do all the work.”

Tara Smithson, a professor of French at Saint Mary’s also spoke highly of the collaboration that went into setting up the film festival.

“It’s been a collaboration amongst our department and our department members,” she said. “Marie Claire Ferretti is a student who has been really instrumental in the organization and publicizing of this event.”

She highlighted Nathan Rabalais, the director of one of the films that will premiere at the film festival as well. “The director of the third film that we’re showing, ‘Finding Cajun,’” she said. “He will zoom in and I am really excited that he’s going to be talking about this.”

Smithson additionally spoke about why she finds the film festival to be so important. “I hope people will connect with others beyond their classes and potentially beyond our campus community who also share an investment in these issues as well as the language," she said. “For people who haven’t had a lot of language experience, they might not be used to thinking of these things through the lens of another national viewpoint.”

For Smithson, she believes the film festival will allow people to open their eyes and learn about cultures they aren’t all too knowledgeable about. “For many people, watching a film in another language is a new experience,” she said. “A lot of what we’re doing is trying to make that kind of cultural experience excessive as well as help students connect to people who speak these languages.”