Founded to increase the appreciation of Latin American arts and culture, the Crisol Latin American Film Initiative will offer Spanish language cinema and a variety of artistic mediums that highlight the similarities between Latinos and their non-Latino peers. The Film Initiative, co-founded by Brother Juan-Paulo Varela (UC Davis), will host its inaugural run over four weekends beginning Saturday, March 14 through Friday, April 3, 2015. All screenings will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Varela serves as the program director, while co-founder Karem Orrego, a fourth year film student at the University of Utah, serves as executive director.
When asked why he co-founded the Film Initiative, Varela said he wanted to create a platform through which Latin American arts and culture could be both appreciated and critically examined in the context of shifting demographics in the United States.
“Crisol is an olive branch similar to the fraternal love that we as Sigma Nus experience–we want to extinguish tired stereotypes and elucidate a modern Latin America in juxtaposition with the United States,” he said.
The Crisol Film Initiative is expected to attract an audience of more than 1,200 people over its first four weekends and an additional 600 during its second screenings in late April. Such prominent attendees for the opening reception will include University of Utah administrators, including the dean and several department chairs of the College of Fine Arts.
Likewise, Utah State Senator Luz Escamilla and Utah State Representative Angela Romero will attend the closing reception along with leading members of Salt Lake’s arts and culture community at the Urban Arts Gallery in downtown Salt Lake.
To accomplish Crisol’s mission, Varela has actively engaged both leading individuals and organizations within Salt Lake’s political, artistic, and cultural spheres over the past six months.
The Sundance Film Festival, held in Salt Lake City, helps create a receptive attitude towards artistic endeavors but also creates a competitive market for funding and recognition. As such, Varela and the team at Crisol have worked diligently to gain the necessary support to make Crisol a reality.
Following a successful inaugural run, Varela hopes to continue the Crisol Film Initiative as an annual event.
Alternatively, the team at Crisol is weighing offers from two of the leading arts festivals in Utah to merge Crisol with their events. In either case, Varela is excited with his opportunity to promote the arts and enhance the quality of life in Utah through the production of the Crisol Latin American Film Initiative.
Recently used Sundance Film Festival venues will play host to film screenings as well interactive art performances in partnership with the University of Utah’s prestigious Ballet School.
Second screenings will take place in the weeks after the Initiative’s closing reception at the Sorenson Unity Center.
The first film will be screened on Saturday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Post Theater on the University of Utah’s campus.