Reel Rasquache

First-ever Luckman U.S. Latino Film/Video Festival, April 17 & 18

Published on LatinoLA: March 23, 2004

Reel Rasquache

The first-ever Luckman U.S. Latino Film/Video Festival - Reel Rasquache, to be held at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State L.A. on April 17-18, 2004, will honor the pioneering work of film artist Evelina Fernandez, the remarkable career of actor Lupe Ontiveros, and the innovative work of director Miguel Arteta. The two-day festival will showcase recent independent U.S. Latino-produced films and videos from across the nation, and include presentations to the three honorees. Together with guest filmmaker participation and panels, the Festival will provide a unique West Coast celebration of films by, for, and about U.S. Latino communities and experiences.

"The Luckman U.S. Latino Film/Video Festival at Cal State L.A. is organized to build bridges between East and West Los Angeles, between community and the University, and between U.S. Latino independents and the Hollywood Industry," explains festival co-director Richard T. Rodriguez, Cal State L.A. assistant professor of Chicano Studies.

According to festival co-director John Ramirez, Cal State L.A. professor of Media Studies, the festival is especially designed to involve the University's neighboring communities of East Los Angeles and to bring a broad base of grassroots, professional and academic community members together with U.S. Latino film and video independents and industry representatives. This is the only festival of its kind and scope in the Southern California area dedicated to U.S. Latino films and videos.

Clifford Harper, executive director of the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, adds, "The Luckman is uniquely equipped and located to celebrate independent films of the U.S. Latino community. We are very proud to be part of this landmark festival."

For its inaugural year, the Festival will honor director Miguel Arteta's stellar contributions in the field of U.S. film by presenting him with the Innovation Award. The Innovation Award honors one whose achievements in film/video advance new and challenging understandings of U.S. Latino perspectives and representations. Arteta's film and television works, including Star Maps (1997), Chuck & Buck (2000), "The Liar and the Whore" and "The Will" episodes of Six Feet Under (2001), and The Good Girl (2002) demonstrate a commitment to transcending the tired box of Latino urban and family stereotypes as well as diversifying the Latino writer's palette of dramatic vision.

The Festival will also honor Lupe Ontiveros with the Career Achievement Award recognizing her impressive body of work as a film, television and stage actor. The Career Achievement Award honors one whose body of work is not only prolific but also a national treasure, a career that embodies the tremendous scope and rich diversity of Latino experience and historical contributions in the U.S. Throughout Ontiveros' film and television performances -- including Zoot Suit (1982), El Norte (1984), ...and the earth did not swallow him (1995), As Good As It Gets (1997), Chuck and Buck (2000), Luminarias (2000), Storytelling (2001), and Real Women Have Curves (2002) -- she has consistently raised the bar for Latina/o representations by the memorable dignity, intelligence, humor, and multi-dimensions that emanate from her every performance.

Evelina Fernandez will receive the Festival's Pioneer Award acknowledging her groundbreaking career as a Latina actor, writer, and film artist. The Pioneer Award honors one whose contributions embrace multiple expressive forms to enrich the field of professional, educational, and entertainment media opportunities for U.S. Latino communities. As a founding member of the Latino Theater Company, Fernandez's commitment to Latina/o dramatic arts has forged enduring paths into independent and commercial film, commercial and public television, broadcast and cable television. Her constellation of work conveys a visionary dedication to illuminating the human condition through the lens of U.S. Latina/o dignity and strength.

About Reel Rasquache: The term rasquachismo, often used by Chicana/o scholars to define characteristics of Chicano/a cultural practices and identity, and a bicultural sensibility, defines the concept for Reel Rasquache. Amalia Mesa-Bains, a Chicana artist, writer, and educator, vividly describes rasquachismo in her essay, "Domesticana: The Sensibility of Chicana Rasquache" - "In rasquachismo, the irreverent and spontaneous are employed to make the most from the least... one has a stance that is both defiant and inventive. Aesthetic expression comes from discards, fragments, even recycled everyday materials... The capacity to hold life together with bits of string, old coffee cans, and broken mirrors in a dazzling gesture of aesthetic bravado is at the heart of rasquachismo."

For more information on the Luckman U.S. Latino Film/Video Festival-Reel Rasquache, call Adele Field at (323) 343-6616.

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