Dinorah Guadiana-Costa had a good little idea in 2000. Now it is a good big idea.
SWC’s ebullient professor of Spanish started the International Film Festival after witnessing the success of Spanish movies. Now the popular event is an SRO tradition.
“I started it because we wanted to bring in culture to our student’s experience of foreign language,” said Guadiana-Costa. “One thing is to have a wonderful book and be able to learn from it, but another thing is to experience culture as much as possible.”
Guadiana-Costa and her colleagues choose the films. Aside from being in a foreign language, the films should provide cultural enlightenment. Cultural and historical contexts are a must. This year featured films such as “Biutiful” (Spain), “In the Mood for Love” (Japan) and “Inang Yaya” (The Philippines).
English Professor Heather Eudy said she always encourages her students to participate in the yearly festival.
“So many come to class and leave and never participate in any of the campus activities and often don’t even know what’s offered here,” said Eudy. “The more you participate, the more you belong, the more you value your educational experience.”
Eudy said the film festival supplements her lessons.
“I think all of my classes benefit from the festival because it requires their critical thinking and writing,” said Eudy. “I have them respond to the films in a critical manner.”
Films can offer what travelling does in an artistic form, said Guadiana-Costa.
“Many times, one can explain things in the classroom as a teacher or bring stuff in from the Web, but one of the best things to do is to travel, right?” said Guadiana-Costa. “And in the absence of that opportunity, watching a film that tells it like it is, let’s say it brings you the culture to your living room or in this case to your school.”
Through the years, the growth of student and staff participation helped expand the film festival.
“We noticed that there were people not able to sit down,” said Guadiana-Costa. “There were too many people attending. So from that the idea progressed into one, let’s show a movie in every language that we teach. Two, let’s get a bigger venue. It’s really expanded and we have about an average of 50 people at every film.”