Public Engagement

General Public

CINEFEST 2015: Hispanic Film Festival (Day 1)

Friday, March 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

The Auditorium, Room A106, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

CineFest 2015 will take place on March 6 and 13 and will feature four films and one documentary covering a broad spectrum of topics: immigration, environmental exploitation, coming of age and cultural identities. We hope that through these films we give voice to the unheard stories of many different cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. 

Opening remarks: 5:15 p.m.

5:30-6:45 p.m.
Las Analfabetas / Illiterate (1:13)
Director: Moisés Sepúlveda / Chile
Ximena is an illiterate woman in her fifties who has learned to live on her own in order to keep her illiteracy a secret. Jackeline is a young unemployed elementary school teacher who tries to convince Ximena to take reading classes.
Persuading her proves to be an almost impossible task, until one day Jackeline finds something Ximena has been keeping as her only treasure since she was a child: a letter Ximena’s father left when he abandoned her many years before. The two women embark on a learning journey where they discover that there are many ways of being illiterate, and that not knowing how to read is just one of them.

7:00-8:35 p.m.
Pelo Malo / Bad Hair (1:33)
Director: Mariana Rondón / Venezuela
A nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this tender but clear-eyed coming-of-age tale. Junior is a beautiful boy, with big brown eyes, a delicate frame, and a head of luxurious dark curls. But Junior aches to straighten those curls, to acquire a whole new look befitting his emerging fantasy image of himself as a long-haired singer. As the opportunity approaches to have his photo taken for the new school year, that ache turns into a fiery longing. Junior’s mother, Marta (Samantha Castillo), is barely hanging on. The father of her children has died, she recently lost her job as a security guard, and she now struggles to put a few arepas on the table for Junior and his baby brother.


View the program for CineFest 2015 Day 2, on March 13.


CineFest 2015 is sponsored and was made possible by the generous contribution of Pragda, the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. and the Secretary of State for Culture of Spain. Special thanks go to the Foreign Language Department and the Politics Department at Eugene Lang and the School of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement. 

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