Culture & Language International Film Festival Underway at Southwestern College

CHULA VISTA – A group of Southwestern College World Language instructors have taken it upon themselves to produce one of the region’s oldest international film festivals, a quaint, largely private affair geared for students studying a foreign language.

The Southwestern College Culture & Language International Film Festival began 14 years ago as a learning tool, a role it continues to play today.

“These films provide rich themes for our students to understand and expand their knowledge of other cultures,” said Spanish Professor Dinorah Guadiana-Costa. “It’s also important for them to be exposed to a foreign language that is not coming from a textbook and is being spoken at a faster pace.”

The World Languages Department offers courses in Filipino, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese, and the festival includes at least one film in one of those languages.

This year’s festival began Oct. 13 and continues through Oct. 29 at Southwestern College. Titles include “La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate,” an original crime comedy that retraces crucial moments in the history of the most famous crime organization; “Bushi no Ichibun,” a Japanese film that looks at the relationship between a young blind samurai and his wife; and “Pagpag: Siyam Na Buhay,” a Filipino horror and suspense film about the spirit of a dead man that hunts down nine people after they ignored some superstitions during his wake.

“A lot of our students have not seen a foreign film before,” Guadiana-Costa said. We started out with Spanish films, but we expanded the offerings to include films in all of the languages we teach.”

Guadiana-Costa works with other instructors at Southwestern College’s World Languages Department to find and review films fit for screening, organizing the event and buying food and other refreshments.

“Right now, we’re eight women who make this happen, running to Costco to get the drinks and making sure everything is in order,” Guadiana-Costa said.

Students are asked to write about a film in the language they are studying, even if only briefly. They also must write a two-page analysis of the movie in English.

Students are welcome to bring in a guest or two to view the film, but the festival does not cater to large, Public audiences.

“It has the potential for expansion as a film festival, but we’re not at that point yet,” Guadiana-Costa said. “Right now, it’s just a labor of love.”

For a full list of the movies and their trailers, click here.