Latin American Cinemateca envisions cultural melting pot

BROWN BUFFALO—Oscar Zeta Acosta, pictured above, is the subject of Phillip Rodriguez’ “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo”. Rodriguez said that Acosta was, “in a hurry to make his mark. And to change the world in some way.”
Photo courtesy of Annie Leibovitz

BY Juan Calvillo 

The first event for the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles’ Cine Nepantla will create an inclusive space for an exchange of ideas to the Vincent Price Art Museum.

Cine Nepantla will gather artists from multiple disciplines, ranging from spoken word, music and film, for the Nov. 3 event that centers around the Aztec word “nepantla,” meaning “in the middle of it.”

Marisa Hicks-Alcaraz, curator for previous LACLA events, said that when it came to nepantla, the program was developed in line with the criteria created by Chicana cultural theorist Gloria Anzaldúa.

Hicks-Alcaraz described Anzaldúa’s version of the program as “a site of transformation where multiple and different perspectives come into contact.”

The LACLA created Cine Napantla with the intent of helping to facilitate the bringing together of people from all walks of life to exchange ideas and help them realize understanding can be possible.

Cine Nepantla will feature a live musical performance by singer-songwriter San Cha, whose name is the Spanish version of mistress.

Hicks-Alcaraz said that San Cha’s style keeps in line with Anzaldúa spirit of “nepantla.” “She’s challenging, explosive, and transformative,” Hicks-Alcaraz said.

In addition to the musical performance, there will be spoken word performances from Mexican poets Xitlalic Guijosa-Osuna and Yosimar Reyes.

Guijosa-Osuna writes poetry ranging from family to domestic issues while Reyes touches on immigration in his works, among other things.

A screening of the documentary “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo” will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with the film’s director, Phillip Rodriguez.

“The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo” was chosen by the LACLA for Cine Nepantla because it “provided an opportunity to have a cross-generational exchange of ideas and experiences that explores the legacy of the controversial Chicano civil rights activist, attorney and author Oscar Zeta Acosta,” Hicks-Alcaraz said.

Growing up, Rodriguez said that noticed that not many people who looked like him were appearing in movies or television.

He decided he wanted to change that by becoming a filmmaker himself and tell the stories he saw and experienced.

“You look at pictures that the commercial industry makes, of what we call ‘Hollywood’… It’s just startling to the degree of which Los Angeles is completely misrepresented,” Rodriguez said.

He said that “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo” is about Acosta insisting on a piece of the American life that he wasn’t invited to have.

“This is a guy who becomes a leader of this Chicano business, who’s basically saying ‘I’m not gonna be like the rest of you Mexicans who are gonna sit back and wait for something to happen. I’m gonna make it happen.’”

Of the event, Hicks-Alcaraz said, “We hope that audience members will leave the event feeling like they have gained a better understanding of other perspectives and feel motivated to participate in efforts that will strengthen social justice, equity, and inclusion.”

The event will be from 1 p.m.  to 3:45 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite or

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