LAO Film Festival 2017: A Visit with Dr. Alexandra Hildago

By: Emily Hanson

Three things that you need to know about Alexandra Hildago:

#1: She speaks three languages: English, Spanish, and French. She used to speak a little bit of Russian too.

#2: She publishes an online publication that she co-founded, Agnés Films, which supports women’s work with reviews, interviews, narratives and essays.

#3: She identifies as a feminist.

All this goes to say is that Dr. Hildago is an amazing woman with an intriguing life. I was able to talk to her before the showing of her film, Vanishing Borders, was shown at the LAO Film Festival, and the conversation I had with her was enlightening to me as a writer, and as a person who is part of American society.

The conversation with Dr. Hildago started on a Google Docs. I was looking forward to seeing her think as she typed on a shared document. There is something about a thought process that can never be replicated because it is an experience different to each individual. The questions I asked her, concerned her movie, her experiences during the movie, and about feminism. The film was made after her own experience of emigrating from Venezuela when she was 16 years old. Vanishing Borders features four women from different backgrounds in order to “[provide] a more holistic account of what immigration looks like for women from around the globe” commented Dr. Hildago. The misrepresentation of immigrant women concerned Dr. Hildgao, causing her to make the film. The film was made to “humanize immigrants” and as Dr. Hildago had shown Vanishing Borders for three years, the film is doing what it was made to do. While on the topic of the film’s purpose, she commented, “I hope it reminds those watch it that immigrants are not abstract threats but complex humans who often bring richness and nuance to the country that hosts them.” In a world where “immigrant” holds a bad connotation, the reminder that immigrants offer more diversity to the country they come to carries an important message, as Dr. Hildago said.

Dr. Hildago’s lecture on campus the night that I interviewed her was just as interesting as speaking with her that morning. While not many of the same topics from our conversation came up, it was clear to me that her life is lived through film and stories. In coordination with family across the globe and at home, she made a film Desaparacido about the disappearance of her father while in the Amazon. The lecture was about the making of the film and the making of memoirs in general. Creating a memoir using Cultural Rhetoric and utilizing the culture to create something as a community was at the forefront of the lecture. “Creating Together” was at the center during the making of the documentary Desaparacido. Dr. Hildago talked to family and friends and anybody who knew her father in order create a documentary that showed many different aspects of her life. What was interesting to me during the lecture was that in the making of Desaparacido, there was a time when things were not turning out like she had planned and the film was a danger of digging into her father’s life.

Alexandra Hildago’s visit to campus was a learning experience for everybody involved. Vanishing Borders and her lecture about memoirs offered new insights to subjects both new and old. The experiences that Dr. Hildago shared and the lessons she taught are ones that are invaluable to those who were present or for those who watch her films.

Emily Hanson is one of our freshman writers and is a lively addition to the team.

2015 Leonard Oakland Film Festival

This weekend marks the kickoff of the seventh annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival.wildlike The structure of the event is a little different than last year’s, so heads up. On Saturday, Feb. 7, the rotation will begin with Wildlike, an independent film that will be showing at the Bing Crosby Theater (in partnership with the Spokane International Film Festival) at 7 p.m. Tickets for this showing will be available at the Info Desk in the HUB. The event will continue with its second film, Unforgiven, at 10 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theater.

 

​The festival is split up into three weekends with the second and third screening dates falling on Saturday,  Feb. 21 and Saturday, March 7, respectively. If you want more information you can visit this handy website here or contact Annie Stillar at astillar@whitworth.edu.

3 Things You Should Know

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#1 Poetry Contest Deadline has been extended to Monday, February 24. Don’t forget to turn yours into the front desk by 5 pm. First place prize is a $50 gift card to Auntie’s Books and  second place is $20.

Entries must use the abecedarian form. Attach a title page (name, poem title, year, major, email & phone number). And yes, you can submit as many poems as you would like.

#2 Comprising the grand finale of the sixth annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival  Saturday, February 22, are: The Band’s Visit at 7 pm  and Benny and Joon at 10 pm followed by a Q & A with Steven Ritz-Barr in Robinson Teaching Theatre, Weyerhaeuser Hall.

#3 Start planning your act now for the Pinecone Cabaret. The Whitworth English Department’s Annual Fun(d)raising Talent Show will be April 4 at 6 pm in the Multipurpose Room, HUB.

Tip jar donations (suggested $3 donation, $1 for students) will go to supporting the nonprofit Spokane FAVS.

Email Nicole Sheets at nsheets@whitworth.edu to claim your spot.

Upcoming Spring Semester Events

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Spring semester is underway, which means it is time to check out the Westminster Round Spring Calendar (also found under Related Links).

As the snow continues to dump on us, here are some events to look forward to THIS week:

Don’t miss Bad Love Poetry on Friday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 pm in the Mind & Hearth. Make sure to bring your own poems to share!  And don’t forget about the BELIEF conference writing workshop earlier on Friday at 3:00 pm.

The Leonard Oakland Film Festival continues Saturday, Feb. 15 with showings of 20 Feet from Stardom at 7 pm and The Basket at 10 pm in the Robinson Teaching Theatre. More film showings to come Saturday, Feb. 22.

Also to come: Julia Kasdorf Reading, Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 pm in the Hixson Union Building’s Multipurpose Room

 

Student Film and Animation Contest Winners

1st Place: English major Ryan Graves’s short film “I Wonder.”

2nd Place: Art major Darrien Mack’s video for Ruby Parasols, “Grasshopper.”

3rd Place: Art major Cody DeJardin tied himself for third with “One Wish” and “Dropping In.”

And while we’re at it, you can take a look at last year’s winners.  (2nd, 3rd, and audience choice all went to current English majors, by the way.)

(1st) Kyle Kim’s “Closer
(2nd) Ryan Graves’s “Walcmune
(3rd) Garrett Young’s “Severed Hooves of Roquath
(Audience Choice) Jacquie Wheeler’s “Mo-Mo

This Week: The Leonard Oakland Film Festival

The 3rd Annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival takes place this week.

Day 1

Leonard Oakland Film Festival 2011 (Movie #1)

  • Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.

Movie No. 1: Favela Rising.  From the Favela Rising site: This documentary film tells of  “a man and a movement, a city divided and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sá is a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro’s most feared slum. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police.”

The first night of this annual festival opens with the short film “Five Feet High” and Rising. The film, directed by Peter Sollett, is about a 12-year-old boy growing up on New York City’s Lower East Side.

Day 2

Oakland Film Festival 2011 (Movie #2)

  • Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.

Movie No. 2: I’ve Loved You So Long.  From the film’s site: “Léa (Elsa Zylberstein) and Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) are sisters. The film begins with Léa, the younger sister by fifteen years, picking Juliette up at the airport. We soon realize that the two sisters are almost complete strangers to each other. Juliette has just been released from prison after serving a long sentence. Léa was still a teenager when Juliette, a doctor, was sent off to prison.  Léa contacted Juliette when she was released and suggested that Juliette come to live with her. Juliette had no particular desire to see her sister again.”

The evening opens with the short film “Tackle Box.” Directed and produced by Matthew Mebane, the film, based on a poem by Patti White, is about an elderly couple who fished the Low Country waters for decades and what happens after one of them dies.

Between the short and the feature, English/Journalism student Morgan Feddes will talk for a few minutes about her experiences studying at the LA Film Studies Center.

Day 3

Leonard Oakland Film Festival 2011 (Movie #3)

  • Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.

Movie No. 3: Norman. This will be the West-Coast premiere of Norman, a new feature film starring starring Dan Byrd (Cougar TownHeroesAliens in America), Emily VanCamp (Brothers and SistersEverwood), and veteran actor Richard Jenkins, with a soundtrack by Andrew Bird.  Norman was filmed in Spokane, and directed by Jonathan Segal. It is the story of a troubled high-school kid who pretends to be dying of cancer as he confronts problems with his new girlfriend and terminally ill father and struggles with his daily existence. This is the movie’s regional premiere, and the filmmakers will be on hand for a post-viewing discussion.

For the second year, the festival is also pleased to be hosting a student film and animation competition.  Winning entries, along with a selection of several other entries, will be screened Saturday, February 19, at the Robinson Teaching Theater, just before Norman.