Published August 31, 2023 by Tom Porter

Brunswick Latin American Film Festival Features Movie Inspired by Faculty Research

A movie based on the research of Bowdoin faculty member Paula Cuellar Cuellar is among the highlights of a Latin American film festival that kicks off this week, which she is also helping to organize.

cine hoy poster

“By organizing a Latin American film festival for Bowdoin College and for the Brunswick community, I am contributing to highlight and honor the presence of the Latin American and the Latinx population not only in the US, but also in Maine,” said Cuellar Cuellar.

Cine Hoy: A Fresh Look at Contemporary Latin Films” features six movies over six weeks and is hosted by Bowdoin’s Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies (LACLaS) Program with support from PRAGDA Spanish Film Club and a number of other departments and programs on campus. This festival will kick off the yearlong celebration of twenty-five years of LACLaS at Bowdoin.

All screenings are either on campus or at the Eveningstar Cinema in downtown Brunswick and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with faculty and students. This Friday the festival gets underway with the Mexican family drama Los Lobos, which examines the issue of immigration on the US southern border.

The final event of the festival will be the US premiere of Añil (“Indigo,” in English), based on research by Cuellar Cuellar, a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Bowdoin. This powerful documentary tackles the issue of the sexual assault experienced by women at the hands of both the security forces and the insurgency during the Salvadoran civil war that took place in the 1980s. The rape of women during the war is a subject that Cuellar Cuellar, who is from El Salvador herself, has researched deeply as a scholar.

She said the film is part of her quest to “make visible the stories of those women whose voices have been overlooked, neglected, and silenced for so long. This experience has been immensely rewarding both professionally and personally,” she added. Read more. “I am deeply thankful for Bowdoin College’s support in organizing this film festival, especially to the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program and its chair, Margaret Boyle.” 

cuellar cuellar on location in El Salvador
Cuellar Cuellar (third from right) with her documentary film crew in El Salvador

The screening will be followed by a conversation with Cuellar Cuellar, as well as the film’s director, Julio López Fernández, and the director of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program, Margaret Boyle. “We are excited to partner with the community in Brunswick to celebrate recent films from Latin America and engage in meaningful conversations about these stories,” said Boyle.

Here's a synopsis of the film, as provided by Cuellar Cuellar: “Once upon a time, an indigo spirit stopped in El Salvador and found the story of a country wounded and tired of centuries of violence. What surprised the spirit the most is that many wounds are still open. It was then that the spirit decided to bring together three young actresses to interpret and share the testimonies of women who were raped during the civil war in that country. This is their story.”

Useful links: Read more about the movie (Spanish language articles can be translated).