Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The German Doctor Film

Today, Wednesday 11/18 we had a total of 26 people at the film sponsored by the department of Modern Languages (Spanish) and IFC. The movie was about a notorious doctor and war criminal that becomes obsessed with an Argentine family in Bariloche, south of Argentina to run away from agents tracking him down for his war crimes. There was a short discussion after the film talking about the ethical issues behind the theme of the film.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

PLAFF 2015

PLAFF (Providence Latin American Film Festival) took place here at Bryant University Oct. 2nd-4th.  The festival has been in the Providence area for 23 years, Bryant has been a main venue and sponsor since 2010.  Local off-campus sponsors such as the Hispanic Heritage Committee and LATIN Providence.  Venues for the films are Bryant, URI downtown and the Warwick Library.  Bryant sponsors were the College of Arts and Sciences, Modern Languages, International Business, English and Cultural Studies, History and Social Sciences, Global Studies and student organizations such as BUSCO (Bryant University's Spanish Cultural Organization), MSU, ISO and CDI (Center for Diversity and inclusion).  

This year we had a total of 9 films from Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, and Guatemala.  Our Spanish students were required to attend at least one film.  Other faculty, staff and the general public were invited to watch these films at no cost.  We had a total of 263 attendees throughout the weekend.  Each film averaged between 25-35 people.  IXCANUL, a Guatemalan film that is nominated for an OSCAR as the best film in a foreign language, we were fortunate to show this caliber of a film in our festival.  This fillm had a total of 85 attendees.  URI downtown had 150 at their showing.  Patricia Gomez is the faculty member who organized the festival and is also a board member with PLAFF. has a complete list of films shown and other pertinent information on the festival. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

A student's perspective: Isabela Velasquez

The language department at Bryant University is a small community, but regardless of that, the majority of students are very committed to mastering their language of choice. Bryant offers Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese. Each of the four languages that we have here at Bryant has their own organization that hosts regular meetings and events. In addition, Bryant has a chapter of Phi Sigma Iota, which is a language honors society.

I am a language student at Bryant who is concentrating in Spanish. One campus activity that I enjoy every year is the PLAFF festival. PLAFF is the Providence Latin American Film Festival and each year they show movies at Bryant. It’s always a great experience to have the opportunity to watch movies in another language and from another culture. I especially enjoy PLAFF because of the fact that the movies are in Spanish, so I get to have this experience with the language that I am studying.

I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain in the spring of 2015. Studying a language definitely promotes the spirit of going abroad and makes it a little less intimidating going to a country whose primary language is not English. I would say that the majority of students go to a country that is oriented to the language that they are studying. That is absolutely the reason that I went to Spain. I also know other Spanish language students that have gone to Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica. There is a multitude of reasons as to why studying abroad is probably the most important experience that anyone can have. As for us language students, it is even more beneficial. There is nothing that can benefit a language student more than being in the country of the language that they are studying. Talking in class to other students or your teacher is not even comparable to the language experience you get when studying abroad. What students really benefit from is learning how to speak. When you are in France, Italy or Spain, you have to speak that language. You become comfortable in speaking something other than English and you gain confidence in yourself. When speaking a second language, confidence is the most crucial trait that you can possess. I know I personally gained confidence speaking Spanish when I realized that the Spaniards actually understood what I was saying to them and I was able to carry on a conversation. Being in country also gives you the opportunity to learn accents and it allows you to receive advice about speaking from native speakers.

I study a language more for personal reasons than for business reasons. I am of Puerto Rican descent. My grandparents were born in Puerto Rico and lived there until my grandmother came to the United States when she was sixteen years old. She and her sister were Americanized immediately and the language was not passed down to their children: my dad and my aunts and uncles. By the time that I was born, I am certain that my grandma did not even know how to speak Spanish anymore. Despite the fact that none of my family knew Spanish, I was still eager to learn it. I don’t know what it is or where the desire came from, but ever since I was a little girl, I have been interested in Spanish. I took Spanish lessons as a child, watched films that taught kids Spanish, and I have been studying the language in school since sixth grade. I will not be satisfied until I am fluent in this language.

I definitely think that having a language is a huge boost on a resume and can only be beneficial in the workplace. Everything is global now; you can’t escape globalization. Especially in the United States where diversity is increasing daily, being able to speak a second language is only to someone’s advantage. That is why I chose to be a part of Phi Sigma Iota. Being in Phi Sigma Iota shows that you actually care about the language that you are studying. The fact that we as members are part of the society shows that we excel in learning the language and are invested in learning it. We are not just taking it as another elective, planning to never really use it again unless we absolutely have to. We actually care about learning how to speak a second language, and with that, we care about the cultures of the country or counties associated with it.

I am in Phi Sigma Iota because I enjoy everything about my language and I am invested in it. Spanish has always been my favorite class and the one that I excel the most in. Being able to speak another language(s) can only benefit people in all aspects of their lives, and it is a skill that is worth working towards.

-Isabela Velasquez
Class of 2016
President, Chapter Chi Zeta #262 of the Phi Sigma Iota Honor Society

Guatemalan Film Director Luis Argueta on campus

On Saturday, October 24th Guatemalan Film Director Luis Argueta will be on campus to discuss his latest film, ABRAZOS. Following a viewing of the film, the director will answers questions from the audience. This event is free and open to the public. 

Bryant University
Fisher Center, Room 2C 
3:00 pm

ABRAZOS tells the transformational journey of a group of U.S. citizen children who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time. After being separated for nearly two decades, these families are able to share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity. There are 4.5 million US Citizen Children living with at least one undocumented parent. This is the story of 14 of them.

Luis Argueta holds a BS in Industrial Engineering and a MFA in Romance Languages from the U of Michigan. With 32+ years of experience directing shorts, experimental, feature and documentary films; episodic TV and commercials, Argueta recently became the first filmmaker to receive the Orden del Quetzal, Guatemala’s highest civilian honor.
Luis Argueta is a film director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, shorts and episodic TV. He has also worked as commercial director, lecturer and teacher in the United States, Europe and throughout the Americas. Born and raised in Guatemala, Argueta is a U.S. Citizen and has been a resident of New York since 1977. His film The Silence of Neto is the only Guatemalan film ever to have been submitted to the Academy Awards competition and he is the only Guatemalan director to have received a CLIO. In April 2009, the British newspaper The Guardian, listed Mr. Argueta as one of Guatemala’s National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Arjona. In 2010, he released abUSed: The Postville Raid, a film about the devastating effects of US immigration enforcement policies on children, families and communities. The film premiered on the PBS World program America Reframed on December 2012, won “Best Documentary Audience Award” at Cinemaissi Film Festival in Finland and has been presented at nearly 200 venues - including immigration and workers conferences, faith based communities, universities and colleges and 13 international film festivals. The second film, ABRAZOS, follows the journey of 14 U.S. Citizen Children from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents -and in some instances their siblings- for the first time. The U-Turn, will complete the immigration trilogy. It tells the story of a group of migrant women and under-age workers who broke the silence about the abuses they endured and of the community that would not abandon them. It showcases the U visa and is now in postproduction. In August of 2015, Luis Argueta was awarded the Order of Quetzal in the degree of Grand Officer, the highest honor given by Guatemala, Luis Argueta’s films can now be viewed online at