Each year, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures presents the Ibero-American Film Festival to engage students, faculty and the Hispanic community in Buffalo with the latest films from Latin America and Spain. Richard Reitsma, PhD and Margaret Stefanski, PhD, work with their Canisius Earning Excellence Program (CEEP) and work study students to select the films and promote the events. The festival (which is partially sponsored through Pragda and the Embassy of Spain) runs during mid-September to mid-October to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. The films are shown in the Language Resource Center, Old Main Room 314. The genres of the films range from political documentaries, to dramatic thrillers, and comedies.
Faculty members of the Spanish Department also use films in class to immerse students in the language and teach cultural themes, politics, history, art and linguistic differences throughout the Spanish speaking world. Students enrolled in Reitsma’s SPA 453, Almodovar and La Movida, learn about the mixing of the social and political atmosphere in Spain after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco. The class focuses on the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar who has been directing films since the late 1970’s.
This year, Nick Grostefon ’18, CEEP assistant for Reitsma, incorporated films from the Almodovar class as well as the Ibero-American Film Festival into his student teaching at Tapestry Charter High School. The Spanish C-level class explores the Spanish language and culture through literature and film. The films often explore mature themes and situations such as sexuality and political turmoil, but allow students to see what is actually occurring throughout the Spanish speaking world. The class explores some of the very texts that Nick was taught for the first time at Canisius, such as Almodovar’s 1999 film, Todo sobre mi madre, of Spain, and Alvaro Brechner’s Mr. Kaplan, directed in Uruguay in 2014.
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs