Film students transcend boundaries at aluCine Festival

Outstanding new films from and about Latin America, along with Canadian experimental works, will unreel at aluCine 2005, the 6th annual Toronto Latino Film & Video Festival, which runs through May 7. This competitive international festival is organized by Southern Currents Film & Video Collective, a Toronto-based artist-run organization.

This year, AluCine will showcase 199 productions by film makers from around the world. They include York University students Franci Duran, who is in her second year of the Masters Program in Film & Video, and Nicolas Pereda and Lina Rodriguez, both of whom are graduating this spring with a BFA in film & video.

still from Swing

Left: Still image from Franci Duran’s video Swing

Two of Duran’s short films will be screened on the final weekend of the festival. Her experimental documentary, Boy (1999, 2004), is a reflection upon the cities she has lived in, motherhood and the birth of her first son. It will be screened with a group of Canadian films being shown on Friday, 10pm, at the Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave. (Bloor & St. George). Her other production, Swing (2004), is a two-minute video which was rotoscoped from a 16mm print of the filmmaker’s son on a swing. The drawings were then scanned and assembled digitally. Swing will be part of the Closing Night Gala screenings on Saturday, which begin at 10pm, also at the Innis Town Hall.

scene from In MemoriumRodriguez’s In Memoriam (2004), filmed in 16mm, is a fictional work about a widow who rebels against life without her husband, only to realize that his absence will always be part of her life. It is one of the group of Canadian films being screened on Friday, 10pm.

Right: Scene from Lina Rodriguez’s film In Memoriam

Pereda’s Cycle (2004), co-directed with Chelsea McMullan, is a short experimental film by Pereda about a hand-painted erratic bicycle ride. “We were not interested in creating a compelling story as much as a cycle of violent and peaceful feelings,” said Pereda. “The inspiration for the film came from the music of Marcela Rodriguez, a Mexican contemporary classical music composer. Two of her pieces ended up being the soundtrack for the film. What I had in mind was to treat the film as if it was a musical medium, as if the film itself – the celluloid – was an instrument.”

Pereda’s Cycle was previously screened at the Tirana International Film Festival in Albania, the Santiago International Short Film Festival in Chile, and the Student Shorts Festival in Toronto, where it won the experimental category.

New at aluCine this year is a film series curated by The LOOP Collective, a group of independent media artists who integrate experimental film and video with other art forms. Members of the Collective include York  students Ilana Guman, Shana MacDonald, Chris Gehman, Larissa Fan, Josh Bonnetta and Luo Li, all from the Deaprtment of Film & Video, Faculty if Fine Arts.

Fan’s Self-Portrait with Pig’s Heart is part of the LOOP Collective series which will be screened at 6pm Saturday at the Innis Town Hall. Her hand-processed film explores the heart icon and what it means to be broken-hearted. The film started as a response to Valentine’s Day and the surfeit of cheesy heart-related merchandise denoting the occasion. “I began to wonder how the heart was chosen as the symbol for romantic love, and if in fact there is a connection between the heart and the emotions. It developed into a very personal film about my own broken heart with those questions as the background,” explained Fan.

The aluCine festival screenings take place in three downtown Toronto venues: Innis Town Hall, the NFB Cinema and Cervejaria Downtown. All foreign films have English subtitles. For a festival catalogue, the complete schedule of events, venues and costs visit

For more information about the Loop Collective, visit

This story was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, communications officer in the Faculty of Fine Arts.