Social Documentations

BLOG_SLUGThe Del Mar hosts UCSC’s fourth annual social documentation student exhibit
The Del Mar Theatre will host UC Santa Cruz’s social documentation program’s annual exhibit of graduate student works for the first time on Thursday, June 10 at 7 p.m. The exhibit, now in its fourth year, is free and open to the public. This year, it features five different stories—stories often unexplored in mainstream media. The stories are culminations of the two years students spend in the program planning, filming, and editing.

One of the films is student Mara Waldhorn’s 30-minute documentary film, “Bienvenido,” in which she spends a New York summer following 13-year-old Bienvenido Anderson, a young immigrant from the Dominican Republic. After failing all of his classes, Anderson must pass summer school to progress to the eighth grade. Waldhorn met Anderson during her two years teaching English as a second language in Washington Heights, Manhattan. She was inspired by her students and the predominantly Dominican neighborhood to make a film about education and immigration.

To tell his story, Waldhorn features verité scenes—organic observations of Anderson’s school and home life. “But I also wanted to take that,” she elaborates, “and give him a voice to explain all of that.” Weaving together both verité scenes and personal interviews, the result is a story that explores the matrices of the conventional school system and Anderson’s experiences navigating through it. In one interview Anderson reveals his problems with the rigidly defined education system. “My perfect school would look like this,” he says. “Made of rubber so when you sit down, you bounce, and every time you bounce you learn something new.”

Playing alongside “Bienvenido,” other projects include a photography and multimedia project tiled “Victorville: An Exurban Battle Between Intention and Reality,” in which Director Christian Suarez examines Victorville, a California city filled with abandoned projects–the artifacts that remain of a once rapidly growing city that abruptly halted.

Carolina Fuentes’s film, “Our Right to Sing,” takes place in El Salvador, a country with a history of struggles, and violent and political tumults, where she explores the role of art and music as a vehicle for justice, and the artists who fight to preserve it.

In “Way Down in the Hole,” Alex Johnston tells the story of the bloody Colorado coal miner’s strike between 1913 and 1914, fusing memories of the past with the present.

And in “The Unique Ladies,” Gloria Moran goes to San Diego to explore femininity and empowerment behind the women who, after being rejected by an all-male car club, start the first all-women’s car club since the 1970s.

The exhibition brings faraway stories of people, experiences, and places home to Santa Cruz. For Waldhorn it is about giving the voiceless a voice. “I wanted to give people a voice who didn’t ordinarily have them,” she says.

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