By Daniela Jalteco
The East Los Angeles Film Festival featured international film directors and local artists at the East Los Angeles College on Oct. 14.
Miguel Hernandez directed one of the short films screened called “Tag!”
This film is about a little girl who stands up for her friend when she’s pushed by a bully. The bully chases her down, and when he catches up to her, he taps her shoulder and starts to run. It turn out he was playing tag.
The following film was called “Cowboys and Indians,” directed by Emilia Ruiz. It’s about a little boy who is playing with two action figures. One of them is a cowboy and the other is an Indian.
The boy asks multiple times, “Where have you been?”
He then starts to cry and yells “Mommy!” many times. His mother is shown dead on the bed behind him.
He is reenacting the acts of his mother’s murder with his action figures.
The screenings then ended with the documentary “Atempa Sueños a Orillas del Río,” directed by Edson Caballero Trujillo.
Caballero traveled from Mexico to be a part of the ELAC film festival.
The documentary demonstrates the life of muxes in San Blas, Oaxaca, México.
In Oaxacan culture, a muxe is a biological male who behaves in ways associated with the female gender.
“It is my third time visiting this marvelous state, and I am very honored and thankful for being invited to this film festival,” said Caballero.
The filming process took him eight years to complete.
“I want the viewers to understand the struggles of a muxe, and that muxes are their own society and their own culture,” Caballero said.
He also said he hopes the muxe culture comes to Los Angeles. Reina Vela de la Muxe 2016’s [Queen of the Muxe 2016] birth name is Aldo Cruz, and his artist muxe name is Cicadu Cruz.
He said he can relate to the documentary because like Tino, one of the boys from the film, he had dreams of becoming Queen of the Muxe. Throughout the screenings, there was a segment called Project Safe, Storytelling for Empowerment.
Some of the short films screened were written and directed by children from the arts program Casa Cultural Saybrook. The paintings that were displayed were created by the children as well.
The arts program teaches children art, filming and acting. Their short films addressed different issues that they wanted to discuss, including autism, pollution, how to save water, stranger danger, how sports keep people healthy, how exercise benefits people and animal abuse.
“The idea [of the film festival] is to use stories to empower you, whether it’s mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually,” said Escobedo.
The festival organizers also aimed to promote conscious thought and inspire solutions to social issues.
“The important thing to take away from this event is that some of the children were really shy. After the film program, their parents are saying ‘Oh my god, they used to be so shy and now they’re on stage talking.’ I think it’s a beautiful thing that they’ve come out of their shells,”said Escobedo.