Latin American and Spanish Film Fest returns for fourth year at Lawrence

Last week marked the fourth annual Latin American and Spanish Film Festival (LULASFF). This year’s films consisted of “Dust on the Tongue” by Rubén Mendoza, “Two Shots Fired” by Martín Rejtman, “To Kill a Man” by Alejandro Fernández, “Cantinflas” by Sebastian del Amo, “The Illiterate” by Moises Sepulveda and “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed” by David Trueba. Founded in 2012 by Javier Guerrero, LULASFF is supported by a variety of organizations on campus including the film studies department, the Spanish department, the President’s Office and certain student organizations. Rosa Tapia, Associate Professor and Chair of the Spanish department, describes LULASFF as “an inclusive event that promotes and celebrates diversity on campus.” Tapia takes pride in the “quality, relevance and inclusiveness of its programming,” and stresses that students do as well. “Groups of students from several organizations met with the president last year to explain how important LULASFF was for the promotion and celebration of cultural, ethnic, religious and gender diversity on campus,” continued Tapia. In fact, LULASFF counts on the enthusiasm ¡VIVA! Hispanic Culture Club, a student-orcanization dedicated to promoting substantive cultural discourse. VIVA’s members helped with advertising, event setup and tech support, as well as serving as bilingual ushers and guides for the diverse audience. Students expressed appreciation for all the effort that was put into the festival. “I thought it was very awesome to hear Colombian director Rubén Mendoza speak about his film because he is very well known in Colombia, so it is neat that we get this kind of experience at such a small school,” said sophomore Annie Ela. Both Ela and sophomore Kyle Labak agree that the festival offers an opportunity to experience a different kind of cinematographic experience. “I appreciate getting to see what cinema is like outside of Hollywood,” began Labak. “It is interesting because Spanish movies are different than Colombian than Mexican than Argentinean movies.” Labak also felt that the festival enhanced his experiences as a student taking Spanish. A participant of last year’s festival, he believes that the festival incorporated his two passions: Spanish and cannibals. “I think that the film festival is the perfect medium because cinema is such an easy way to integrate self. It lets you practice your Spanish and enjoy cinema,” said Labak. Despite this positive feedback, LULASFF was alleged to not have enough funding for this current year. Although LULASFF 2015 pulled through, Tapia stressed the importance of thinking ahead to next year. “The only guaranteed co-sponsor for 2016 is Film Studies, so we are pinning our hopes on the ability of other collaborators to secure funding in order to keep the festival going,” concluded Tapia.