ACE Film Festival encourages cultural discussion, intersection

The fifth annual Alliance for Community Enrichment Film Festival and Expo brought together 10 student organizations to celebrate a myriad of cultural perspectives and traditions. Pride Alliance, Womyn’s Action Coalition, Latino Student Association, Korean American Students Association, Japanese Culture Club, Black Student Union and Geneseo Chinese Cultural Club were among the sponsoring organizations that integrated their efforts on Saturday Sept. 14 in Newton Hall.

Each of the five films reflected a specific culture. The Hindi Bollywood film Om Shanti Om is about an aspiring Indian actor who is murdered and reincarnated. The Korean film Taegukgi focuses on two Korean brothers during the Korean War. Memoirs of a Geisha is an American film about the life of a Japanese geisha. Paris Is Burning is a documentary on the life of a drag queen living in New York City in the 1980s. The Colombian film Maria Full of Grace is the story of a pregnant teen who becomes a drug mule.

Student Association Director of Student Affairs senior Bruno Villazhinay was instrumental in organizing the event.

“We are basically trying to promote diversity on campus,” he said. “Normally we don’t see many cultures in Geneseo, and we wanted to expose different cultures to different people.”

A standout of the five films, Paris Is Burning, provides commentary on the gay and transgender quality of life in the 1980s. It is a film about drag balls in which gay and transgender men gathered together and dressed up as women. It depicted a sense of pride in identity, even during a time when the contestants felt oppressed by society.

The documentary took a very dark turn at the end when a title screen memorialized all the people in the film that died. It was a film with great optimism, with lessons about being yourself, but one that made the viewer think about the characters’ real-life struggles.

Villazhinay said that he strove to depict the melding of cultures in this film festival.

“Every culture has a different background within themselves, such as the Latino community mixing with the LBGT community,” he said, adding that the festival was created to “celebrate people and their cultures.”