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Nine films from nine countries – each with a distinct Latin American theme.
For the first time in its 20-year history, the Latin America and Spain Film Festival (LASFF) will be hosted in Tauranga.
“It’s been held every year in different cities around the country for the last 20 years,” Karen Gibney, chairwoman of Latin Community Tauranga said.
“It hasn’t been in Tauranga because we needed a group of Latin Americans to get together to bring it over and we needed support from other communities, as well as funding.”
One local organisation that helped the Latin community group host the festival was Multicultural Tauranga.
“I think film is a wonderful vehicle to bring culture to a place,” president Premila D’Mello said.
“We learnt a lot of foreign languages like French and even our own national language through film.”
Gibney, who arrived in New Zealand from Chile 22 years ago, said the festival will show that Latin America is much more than just Mexico.
“There is another lens that we can show to the community,” she said.
“In Latin America, there are many other countries – we’ve got Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, we’ve got a movie from El Salvador for the first time.”
Esther Aguirre, a Brazilian residing in Bethlehem, said seeing a movie spoken in Portuguese is very exciting.
“In Latin America, everybody thinks you speak Spanish but no, in Brazil we speak Portuguese and Portuguese is quite different than Spanish.
“That’s why they don’t always get together because when the Latin American communities get together the events are always in Spanish so the Brazilians can’t attend.
“But this time we’re including a film in Portuguese and it’s from Brazil, made in Brazil by a Brazilian director.
“It’s called ‘O Palhaço’ which is ‘The Clown’ in English and it’s fit for the kids to go to.”
Adriana Litchfield, an Argentinian now living in Pāpāmoa, is looking forward to watching ‘Yuli’.
“It is a Spanish movie that’s the story about a boy who wants to be a ballet dancer.
“Being a dancer as a man in Latin American culture is not really easy. It’s a really good movie to support the idea that anyone can dance,” she said.
Chilean Rob Pavez has been in Tauranga for the last 12 years and is looking forward to “Amucha”.
“It’s a Mapuche movie and the language is Mapudungún,” he said.
“That would be the equivalent of watching a Māori movie in Māori language, so it’s very important for us and very interesting for me to watch for the first time.”
Mexican Roxana Kinzett said film festivals are a great way to break down country stereotypes.
“I’ve been in Pāpāmoa for 17 years and am looking forward to the festival because it does help people from other countries to understand a little bit more about our culture.
“There are lots of misconceptions of what Mexican culture is and bringing films that show a little bit more gives a better understanding of where we come from and the way that we think.”
The Latin America and Spain Film Festival is free to attend and runs from November 4 to 13 at Toi Ohomai’s Windermere Campus.
But tickets are still required. Check the website for details.
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