Is There a Latino In This Room? 30 Years of Latinidad in Canadian Filmmaking.
Author: Elena Feder
Elena Feder is an independent scholar, theorist, critic and curator of film and media arts. She holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia and an M.A. in Spanish and Portuguese and PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. In addition to teaching, she has curated programs and organized conferences both nationally and internationally with the support of both the Canada and British Columbia Councils For the Arts, and is the author of many articles published in magazines, academic journals and book collections. Elena was Humanities Fellow of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and is the founder and Executive Director of Error! Contact not defined. Society for the Advancement of Arts and Culture. Born in Bolivia, she currently resides in Vancouver.
My presence here today is the product of a long and fruitful collaboration between academic and art practices, perhaps not as rare in Latin America, but quite unusual in a Canadian context. It began as far back as 1999, in Vancouver, where I organized a citywide project under the rubric of Nations, Pollinations and Dislocations: Changing Imaginary Borders in the Americas . 1 The research goals underpinning that project were, first, to identify the artists, filmmakers and institutions involved in defining, in both the private and public spheres, new coordinates for a diasporic identity formation specific to the Americas from a Canadian perspective; second, to tease out the historical and aesthetic differences between Canadian Latinø filmmakers and their U.S. counterparts; 2 and, third, to situate the work of the former in the context of current debates about the changing nature of Latin American identity, and of notions of identity as a whole, in the multifaceted context of globalization. 3
1 The project was possible thanks to the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada and British Columbia Arts Councils, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Pacific Cinematheque Pacifique, Video In and Video Out, the Western Front, the Mexican and Chilean embassies, and a number of local businesses and individuals too large to list individually here.
2 I use the neologism Latinø rather than the more common and cumbersome Latino/a as a marker of difference. Imported from yet another alphabet, the letter "Ø" thus stands here as a marker of a politics and a poetics of deconstruction always already underpinned by gender and difference--in the philosophical sense of meanings that are both "different" and "deferred," and in the sense of multi-faceted social, political, economic, historical and cultural contexts that serve difference and deferral as backdrop and ground.
3 Néstor Garía Canclini, Latinoamericanos Buscando Lugar en este siglo . . (Argentina, Paidós, Estado y Sociedad, 2002), 116 pp.