Las Vegas, N.M – Highlands University debuts a weekly Cultural Film Series that gives audiences the opportunity to experience other cultures from around the world and their views on filmmaking.
The free films will screen each Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium at 900 University Ave. The series features foreign and independent films as well as documentaries like He Named Me Malala, which is slated for Jan. 28.
“This new Cultural Film Series will be uniquely enriching on many levels,” said Donna Martínez, Ilfeld Auditorium manager. “I envision this project as a gateway between Highlands, the United World College and the Las Vegas Community.”
Martínez developed the Cultural Film Series in collaboration with the United World College – USA.
“We asked for film recommendations from both our international students at Highlands and the United World College students. For some of the films, international students will do a brief introduction,” Martínez said.
A student from Pakistan will introduce He Named Me Malala. The 2015 documentary directed by American filmmaker Davis Guggenheim tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani education activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17 – the youngest person to receive this honor in Nobel laureate history.
The documentary also recounts how when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Yousafzai miraculously survived the Taliban shooting her in the head on a public bus for her outspoken advocacy of education for girls. She went on to address the United Nations and is known for the eloquence of her oratory.
“He Named Me Malala is a powerful film that sheds light on the struggles of international Muslim women to be educated. Malala’s passion for pursuing education against tremendous odds is truly remarkable and inspiring,” Martínez said.
She worked with Carmen Stone, community service coordinator at the United World College, to get the Cultural Film Series off the ground.
“What’s exciting to me about Donna’s new film project is the opportunity to explore new cultures, and for our United World College students to collaborate with students from Highlands,” Stone said. “I think having students introduce the films will make them even more compelling and interesting because you have their personal perspective, which gives the audience more insight.”
Stone said an important part of the curriculum at the United World College is community engagement, with students volunteering at places like homeless shelters, local soup kitchens and tutoring at local schools.
“This new film series is an opportunity for our students to engage more deeply with the community. We’re really enthusiastic about supporting this film project, and seeing if future collaboration with Highlands can grow out of this initiative,” Stone said.
Martínez said there will be a great deal of variety in the Cultural Film Series, which the February lineup illustrates.
The schedule includes Suffragette on Feb. 4, a 2015 English drama about the early 20th century movement to secure voting rights for women in Britain; Paulette on Feb. 11, a 2012 French comedy with subtitles; The Corporation on Feb. 18, a 2003 Canadian documentary about modern-day corporations; and The Danish Girl on Feb. 25, a 2015 English biographical drama based on a novel of the same name.
Martínez said the film series will continue through May 12, the end of spring semester, and will resume fall semester 2016. The complete spring semester schedule will be posted on the Highlands website by the end of January at www.nmhu.edu.