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Month of November, 2008

Almudena serves as jury at Valladolid Intl. Film Festival (Seminci)

I was honored to serve on the doc jury of the Valladolid Intl. Film Festival (Seminci), where Made in L.A. premiered in Spain last year. Once again the food was spectacular and I truly had to control myself not to eat ALL the desserts...


With Francisco, Manuel and Ruben Codeseira, our amazing jury coordinator
As at Silverdocs, I shared jury duties with two gentlemen (Manuel Perez Estremera and Francisco Javier De la Plaza), except this time we had 22 FILMS TO WATCH in 6 days! Quite an endeavor, let me tell you... As a result: not many parties this time. But I took my task very seriously, particularly because Seminci is so important in Spain that a prize there can truly determine a film's future there. We ended up giving 5 awards: two first prizes, two second prizes and two special mentions. This was the most that Javier Angulo, festival director, allowed us to!

FIDOCS: Chile premiere and one more jury job

I flew straight from Spain to Chile, leaving behind the cold winter of Madrid to enjoy spring and summer of the southern hemisphere in Santiago de Chile. It was my very first visit to Chile, and such a beautiful one!

With jury and Festival staff at the closing night

The festival, FIDOCS (Festival Internacional de Documental de Santiago), now run by journalist Gonzalo Maza, was launched 12 years ago by Patricio Guzmán, one of my doc heroes and the director of films like The Battle of Chile and Chile: Obstinate Memory. Both films made me cry and inspired me to follow his example... And so it's especially touching to be invited to serve on the jury of FIDOCS' national competition, and also to premiere Made in L.A. here at the National Cinemateque in FIDOCS' international program (out-of-competition).

The National Cinemateque is, paradoxically, underneath the Government Palace, the building which was bombed by Pinochet and his US allies during the 1973 coup-d'etat, a scene that has been ingrained in my mind from the black and white footage that I have seen so many times... Our screening was very moving, and I was impacted (and relieved!) to hear the same responses and the same passion - "we have to use this to organize!" - that I have heard in other parts of the world.

The jury work was more relaxed than in Spain (only 12 films to watch), and we saw great films, really. We ended up awarding the first prize to a film that really impacted me: "The Revolution of the Penguins" (La revolución de los Pingüinos) by Jaime Díaz Lavanchy. It tells the story of Chilean high school kids who, fighting for their right to education, managed to mobilize the entire country for a national strike. After seeing the film, I sought out the director to tell him "amazing editing!" Later I learned that the editor, Pedro Chaskel, was the editor for "La Batalla de Chile"!


At Neruda's home in Isla Negra

Our Chilean hosts were wonderful and really worked to help us savor our time there: they fed us, they took us to see my beloved Pablo Neruda's home in Isla Negra, and they just took care of us with such attention and respect, that I leave Chile with nostalgia and the desire to return very, very soon!





Check out La Tercera's article about my visit and watch a video at Cinefilo about the festival with interviews to many of us (all in Spanish).

Made in L.A. used to draw solidarity towards immigrants and action in Stamford, CT

Last Sunday November 23, Made in L.A. screened at the Ferguson Public Library in Stamford, CT. The screening was sponsored by CRISOL, the Coalition of Residents and Immigrants in Solidarity, and it resonates profoundly with the work with we're doing to use Made in L.A. as a tool, to increase sensitivity and to humanize the stories of the millions of immigrants here in the United States.

We love the description of the Q&A in these two newspapers: "When Beatrice Chodosh and Ana Maria Badash set out to screen a movie about sweatshops, they hoped the film would change the way people think about immigration... The women met their goal Sunday... the movie inspired viewers to have compassion for immigrants, who often leave their families behind and work hard under poor conditions... ‘Some people got really emotional. They felt for those women,' Chodosh said". Read more at Stamford Advocate (in English).

The Spanish language press also picked up the story: "En el foro, moderado por Lisa Bergmann, de Crisol, varios presentes contaron las vivencias de inmigrantes allegadas a su círculo y hasta la forma como los mal llamados medios de comunicación social local, se vuelven cómplices de la explotación y el abuso". Read more at La Voz Hispana (in Spanish).

If you also want to organize a screening of the film, check our Host a Screening page, that includes everything you need to organize and promote an impactul screening of Made in L.A. in your community!

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