As the lights dimmed, looks of anticipation and excitement scattered across the room, showing the mixed emotions held by the audience. The giant screen fluttered on as the classic movie countdown lowered with each passing second.
The Curris Center Theater played host to Mario Rosales’ new film, “El Regreso de Lencho” (Lencho’s Return), Sept. 26, which helped kick off the University’s goal for a more diverse campus.
Rosales, a New York City director from Guatemala, came to the United States in 2002 to pursue a MFA in Media Arts from The City College of New York.
Currently a renowned painter and photographer aside from his film work, Rosales said his biggest motivation for doing films like “El Regeso de Lencho” developed from his wanting to teach the world about life in Latin America.
“The movie brings a lot of attention to the practices and policies that the governments and the police is taking that targets the youth (of the region),” he said.
“El Regeso de Lencho” tells the story of Lencho, who returned to his native Guatemala and used his modern art to institute drastic social changes. He then makes enemies with those who dominate the grief-stricken country and who gain their power from globalization taking place in Latin America.
Rosales said he hoped the audience took both the on-the-surface danger story he presented and the wanting to take action when in need.
“The message that I want to create was about awareness of all the violence that is happening in Guatemala against the youth,” he said. ”It is promoting the habit of becoming organized for artistic, political, work and basic human rights.”
When it came to the social responsibility toward telling the world these issues, Rosales said the task was difficult but nevertheless had to be done.
“To me, I do take it as a responsibility to show how reality is, if I have the privilege to make art and films to talk about things that matter,” he said. “The reality is that in Latin America, right now, life is very difficult. The economies are getting worst, there’s no justice and more corruption exists every day. Globalization is devastating Latin America.”
Luis Canales, director of the institute of international studies, said Rosales’ film debut in Murray was one of the first steps toward diversity.
“A new plan for a more diverse university was released and some of those components call for the creation of cultural awareness,” Canales said. “This will be a good contribution for the Latino culture.”
Some of the events devised for this plan, like the International Bazaar Week, is geared for students to have interactions with worlds they most likely would never have, Canales said.
Said Canales:?“The international organization is composed of everyone from many different countries. It is a great opportunity for many students to engage in other cultures without leaving the country.”